Why You Need To Know British Wunderkind Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran at the 2012 Brit Awards

See, if we were all British, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran would need no introduction — he’s mad famous across the pond. But we’re boring old Americans so here’s what you need to know: Ed Sheeran’s a prime example of an artist who gained a massive grass roots fanbase before being signed to a major label. Last January, Ed independently released his No. 5 Collaborations Project,which sold more than 7,000 copies in its first week and landed the No. 2 spot on iTunes. (NBD.) As you might imagine, the record biz took note, and Ed was later signed to Atlantic Records. Now’s he’s a super, super big deal. (See him winning his Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act above.)

Listen to Ed Sheeran after the jump.

Vocally, Ed’s a troubadour with a sweet set of pipes that liken him to Jason Mraz and John Mayer. As heard in his current single, “Drunk,” Ed’s speaking our language a sensitive lad who isn’t afraid to sing about a love lost: “But the house gets cold when you cut the heating/ Without you to hold I’ll be freezing/Can’t rely on the heart a-beating…/I’ll be drunk, again, I’ll be drunk, again/To feel a little love.”

Now that he got all famous on us, Ed’s been on a nonstop roll of killer album sales (his debut album + went No. 1 in the U.K.), high-profile awards and appearances. As mentioned, Ed scored a coveted Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act (kind of like “Best New Artist” at the Grammys) and MTV also snagged him as a performer at the upcoming mtvU Woodie Awards Festival. Get on this dude now so you can be one of those snobs that say you “used to listen to him when…” That’s always a fun activity!

+ Listen to Ed Sheeran, and watch his “Drunk” video.

Photo credit: Getty Images