Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran (second left) with Ben Cook, MD of Asylum Records, his manager Stuart Camp and Ed Howard, A&R manager of Asylum

Video: Homecoming hero Ed Sheeran celebrates record deal

By Jonathan Barnes
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
11.54 AM

MUSIC star Ed Sheeran celebrated signing a major record deal by bringing label bosses to Suffolk to meet his family.

Ed with his mother Imogen, brother Matthew and father John

The 19-year-old singer-songwriter has penned a six-album deal with Atlantic Records and is already working on his debut record.

It follows the stunning success of his self-funded EP which shot to number two in the iTunes charts.

Sir Elton John – who owns the management company Ed is signed to – called him to congratulate on the EP’s success while England football captain Rio Ferdinand is also a fan.

Ed put the finishing touches to the contract in his home town of Framlingham yesterday, sealing the deal at The Station pub in front of family and friends; including his mother Imogen, 50, a jewellery designer, his father, John, 53, an art lecturer, and his brother Matthew, 21, a classic composer.

The musician, who grew up in the town and went to Thomas Mills High School, said: “This is where it all started and this is my home – it’s nice for everyone to meet each other.”

Ed, whose music fuses folk and hip-hop, has played more than 500 gigs in the past two years and built up a huge fanbase through his live shows and use of internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The success of the fifth and final instalment of his self-funded EP series – eight collaborations with rappers – began a record company bidding war for his signature, but he kept his promise to sign to Atlantic.

“It was a long time coming so I feel happy. It’s a new stage that’s starting and I felt it was time to happen,” he said.

“I’ve been in the studio all this week; and will be all next week and the one after. I hope the album will out in August or September.

“I’ve also got lots of TV and radio and promotion to do. It’s mental; really cool though.”

Mrs Sheeran said: “We’re so proud of Ed and very happy that he has realised what he set out to do.

“I used to worry about him when he first went to London. But he gained a second family through music who look after him and let me know he’s all right. We go to see him play gigs whenever we can.”

Ed will release music on Asylum Records, which is part of Atlantic, which in turn is a subsidiary of Warner Group. The label, founded by David Geffen, has hosted top names such as The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.

Ben Cook, managing director of Asylum, said: “Ed is a supremely talented singer-songwriter – he’s the archetypal artist for our times.

“He’s managed to amass a fervent and meaningful fan base entirely from his own efforts and got his EP to number two in the charts. We’re delighted to have signed him.”