Sheeran tells of the gig when nobody turned up

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has revealed he initially struggled to get a record deal because he was “ginger and chubby”.

The Halifax-born 22-year-old, whose hits include The A Team and Lego House, said self-belief and perseverance helped him make it, despite knock-backs on his appearance.

Sheeran revealed he once had to perform in an empty concert venue to just a sound engineer after nobody turned up, but he continued to have faith in his guitar-based sound.

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Speaking to online youth television channel SB.TV in association with the National Citizen Service (NCS), he said: “I felt every gig I played, fewer and fewer people would attend and this was going nowhere. Every single label I had gone to at the time had told me this song wasn’t a hit, this song wouldn’t work, and the fact that I was slightly chubby and ginger wasn’t a good ‘marketing tool’ for them. So yeah it did definitely feel like it wasn’t going to happen.”

Sheeran has gone on to win Brit Awards. His video on SB.TV is one of a number to share how self-belief made a difference to performers’ lives.

He added: “If you want something so badly go out there and grab, just keep on doing it – because there are people out there who do want it just as much as you do and there are people out there if given the opportunity to take my place will, so it’s just as important to keep pushing yourself and working at it.”