Video: What was said about Brit Awards star Ed Sheeran when he won Next Big Thing 2008 in Norwich

In November 2008 Ed Sheeran won the Next Big Thing at the University of East Anglia and was making a name for himself on the Norwich music circuit.

Last night the 21-year-old, from Framlingham in Suffolk, claimed success in the British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act categories at the prestigious Brit Awards at London's O2 Arena - capping an incredible rise to prominence.

Here's what our reporter at the time, David Powles, made of the singer's victory.

For much more on Sheeran, including how he played at a local couple's wedding despite being on the verge of his big breakthrough, see tomorrow's newspaper.


There are not many teenagers who would have the guts to get up on stage and perform solo in front of hundreds of people - let alone still manage to wow the crowd despite the loss of four guitar strings.

But then again Ed Sheeran is not just any other teenager.

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At the tender age of 17 the singer/songwriter already boasts two albums, scores of gigs and a support slot with a chart topping band on his music CV.

And now, he can add the title of Next Big Thing to his ever growing list of musical achievements.

The youngster, from Framlingham, in Suffolk, beat off competition from five other acts to win the prestigious music competition, which is run by Future Radio, in conjunction with the Evening News and its sister paper the Eastern Daily Press.

However, in order to do so he had to battle against adversity after lady luck appeared to have deserted him during Sunday night's final attended by around 500 people at the UEA.

After being pulled out of the hat to perform first out of the six acts, things quickly started to go wrong for the likeable youngster when four of his guitar strings broke before he suffered problems with his microphone.

But the teenager shrugged aside the technical glitches to win over the crowd, and the judges, with his four songs made up of what is best described as acoustic folk, with a bit of hip hop and ad-libbing thrown in for good measure.

His prize for winning the competition includes �750 of products from Professional Music Technology (PMT), a recording contract with NR One Records, a �250 cash prize with business advice from Access to Music Norwich, and a studio package with Future Studios.

And speaking to the Evening News moments after the victory he told just how much it meant to him: 'This is a huge thing for me and I just can't believe I have won, especially after it all went so wrong with four strings breaking. I never normally break strings.

'I know it is a cheesy thing to say but everybody should be the winner tonight, they are all the next big things.'

The teenager first took up music at the tender age of just 11 after falling in love with the song Layla by Eric Clapton.

Within three years he had recorded his first EP, and his first, self-titled, album was completed shortly after. His second album, Want Some?, was recorded in 2006.

He cites his influences as Plan B, Chris Brown, John Martyn, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and Nizlopi, the band behind the chart-topping JCB Song and whom Ed supported during a gig at the Norwich Arts Centre.

However, despite his many influences he has a style all of his own, and his performances involve him singing, rapping and ad-libbbing as well as playing an electric-acoustic guitar and building up beats on a loop.

Sunday night's win came after a hectic week of gigging as he attempts to get his name well and truly known.

But he doesn't mind because playing live is what he loves to do. He said: 'I love performing and the atmosphere that comes with it. Even on Sunday night I enjoyed it despite the fact that everything went wrong and I thought the crowd would hate me.'

He says he hopes the victory will help further establish him on the local music map, by giving him some more exposure.

And while he is currently in the process of working on a third album and preparing for even more gigs, he said after win there was just one thing he wanted to do, adding: 'It's been a really tough week and all I want to do is get some sleep. I think I'm going to sleep well.'

Rigo Jancsi, i am error, Adele Swallow, Killamonjambo and The Moo also appeared in Sunday's final.

To find out more about Ed Sheeran log on to

Previous winners of the Next Big Thing have been The Kabeedies, Rosalita, Le Tetsuo and The Pistolas.

Have you got a story about Ed Sheeran? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or

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