It’s early June in London, and it’s raining. I’m walking out of the Underground holding an umbrella and asking strangers for directions to The Troubadour. I get to the front of the coffee house and walk inside. I sit down, order a coffee and try to read a book on English history, but I can’t focus. All I can think about is how Ed Sheeran played in a place as small as this before anyone ever knew he was Ed Sheeran.
I spent three weeks in England in 2016. The entire time, I went around scouting out little pubs and music venues to retrace the steps of Ed Sheeran’s rise to fame on the streets of London. The Troubadour was my favorite spot.
I’m gonna start these posts called Love Letters about my favorite songwriters and their work that I love, and for anyone who knows me, it should be no surprise that we’re starting with Ed … I can promise you I will be writing about Sheeran lyricism for the rest of my days.
I’m not in the mood to break down a whole song of his tonight, but I will just say that if anyone ever asks me what my favorite lyric is, it’s …
She is the flint that sparks the lighter and the fuel that will hold the flame.
– Hearts Don’t Break Around Here –
I’m just a little bit tired of people not giving Ed Sheeran the credit he deserves for all the songs he’s written that aren’t on the radio. Beyond just his writing, his performance skills and work ethic are amazing. I feel lucky to be alive in the presence of his artistry.
I couldn’t stay at The Troubadour for long, and I couldn’t come back later that night to watch the live music, even though I really wanted to, but the servers of the cafe gave me a tour of the underground club, and I got to see it while no one was in there. It was empty and dark, but so easy to imagine a singer-songwriter with a guitar standing on the stage having the entire room under their control through the power of music. I didn’t want to leave.
I was only in London for three weeks, but I knew I was leaving my heart in England before I ever even set foot on to the plane home to Los Angeles. I found a lot of parts of me there, and I have been and still do discover things about myself every single day just by listening to Ed Sheeran’s music.
Come back another day, and I promise we’ll talk about his genius songs that aren’t on the radio. I will totally make sure you start loving on the songs from Loose Change and The Five EP – they’re great. I’ll write about “The City” and more about my time in London, and I’ll probably talk about all the songs he’s written for other artists. Maybe even my favorite performance videos of his … Maybe you’ll be around for the blog post when I finally get to see him live, even though I have no clue when that might be.
For now though, here’s a video of a young Ed Sheeran singing “Let It Out” and already professionally handling the loop pedal in the same spot pictured above ten years ago, before “The A Team” ever even touched radio airwaves. I hope you love it as much as I do.
You Need Me, I Don’t Need You by Ed Sheeran 2011