After beginning an independent recording career in 2005, Ed Sheeran's slow rise to stardom in the United States was quickened by some well-known pals: the 22-year-old London resident co-wrote three songs for One Direction's first two albums, and joined Taylor Swift in North America on tour after co-writing and duetting on her song "Everything Has Changed" from Swift's 2012 blockbuster "Red."
BILLBOARD CHART HIGHLIGHTS
|June 30, 2012: "+" debuts at its No. 5 peak on the Billboard 200.|
June 30, 2012: "+" starts at its No. 2 highpoint on Top Rock Albums.
January 12, 2013: "The A Team" reaches No. 16 on the Hot 100.
November 2, 2013: "Old School Love," Lupe Fiasco's song Sheeran, peaks at No. 10 on Rap Digital Songs.
November 2, 2013: "Everything Has Changed," Taylor Swift's song featuring Sheeran, hits No. 8 on Adult Pop Songs.
Famous ties aside, the earnest brand of folk found on Sheeran's debut LP, "+," has found a stateside constituency thanks to singles like "The A Team" and "Lego House"; the album's sales now totals 751,000 copies since its June 2012 release in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Meanwhile, Sheeran's innovative live shows -- built on looped guitar lines that multiply and eventually form percussive rock songs -- have morphed the singer-songwriter from a club warbler to a Madison Square Garden headliner.