Ed Sheeran reveals he'd like to do Norwich concert at secret city appearance
PUBLISHED: 14:47 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 20:14 09 December 2018
As Ed Sheeran surprised music students in the city on Thursday afternoon, Louisa Baldwin spoke to him about how a performance at the Norwich Playhouse was a turning point in his career and his homecoming gig in Ipswich.
Access Creative College alumni and patron Ed Sheeran was the secret speaker at an event in Epic Studios on Thursday for students studying the Artist Development course at its UK centres, including Norwich, Birmingham and Manchester.
Ed, who honed his singing and songwriting skills on the course in London, took part in a Q&A with the students and talked about how he decided to follow a career in music as he didn’t want to do anything else.
When he started out, Ed, who grew up in Framlingham in Suffolk, gigged in venues across the city and also won the Next Big Thing competition at the UEA LCR in 2008.
His first big break in Norwich came after Ian Johnson, head of Artist Development at Access Creative College, watched him support a Japanese band at the Norwich Playhouse.
How did Access Creative College and Norwich help your career?
I knew Ian who got me into the London course, I did a gig at the Playhouse when I was 16 and then he got me a manager in London at Crown Management and I wanted to live in London so Ian hooked it up.
When I started out, Norwich was the main place you could play venues because Ipswich only really had the Steamboat Tavern, Corn Exchange and Regent but they were all quite big whereas Norwich has so many venues.
You could start at the B2, play the Norwich Arts Centre you could do The Waterfront, open up for people at The LCR and Norwich just had more gig opportunities.
How did it feel to win The Next Big Thing?
I didn’t expect to win The Next Big Thing as I broke all my strings but it was a weird one and I got a gift voucher for PMT Music Shop [in New Botolph Street, Norwich] and bought a new guitar and nice rucksack to keep all my equipment in and it really helped me,
I still have the bottle of champagne I won.
READ MORE: Ed Sheeran makes surprise visit to music students in Norwich
What would be your message to young artists in Norwich?
Keep doing what you’re doing, there is so much talent that comes out of the UK and Norwich is such a great hub of it and there is so many venues to play, a great college and it is only a two hour train to London so it’s a good base.
Are you excited to play your gigs in Ipswich and will you be coming to Norwich at all?
The thing is on my rise up I played Norwich quite a lot and I played The Waterfront four of five times, the Norwich Arts Centre and The LCR but I’ve never done a proper gig in Ipswich and it just felt time to go and play it.
I’d like to play Norwich but I wanted to do the Ipswich one first but I don’t know where I’d go in Norwich, I guess Carrow Road.
Castle on the Hill was inspired by Framlingham Castle - have any other songs on the album been inspired by the region?
I guess so, they are mostly love songs about being in Suffolk and the girl who the first album is about lived quite near Norwich and I spent a lot of time here.
What do you say to the people who criticised your casual outfit next to Beyoncé at the recent Globabl Citizen Festival?
Both of us were just wearing our stage outfits and that is the outfit I have worn every single day of the Divide tour and I’ve always based my career on being myself and that was me being myself in that moment.
READ MORE: Do you remember these Ed Sheeran shows in Norwich?
When can fans expect your fourth album?
I am making that slowly but surely and just touring until the end of next year and I’ve got the Danny Boyle film [Ed is starring as himself in a new Beatles-inspired film] coming out in the summer.
Finally, how does it feel that your team Ipswich Town are bottom of the league with Norwich City at the top?
Do you know what, I’m not a die hard football fan, I really like going to watch it and support my local club as I live near there but it doesn’t make or break my day who loses - I like supporting my local team.