Brit Award-winning singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran proved he’s got a special way with crafting and vocalizing lyrics against guitar melodies with the U.K. release of his first album “+” last fall. He was just a few months shy of his 21st birthday when the big moment came, the same age Sheeran influence Bob Dylan was when he released his debut. Watch Sheeran perform the early Dylan classic “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and discuss how the small moment when his astute father turned him onto Dylan changed the big picture of his own musical path.
“For the first five years of my musical experience, [my dad] showed me all the music he was into,” Sheeran says of his first exposure to Bob Dylan’s music. “The Bob Dylan tune that I chose to cover was the first moment that I heard a singer/songwriter song. It one of the first songs I learned on the guitar and learned to sing and it’s always been my favorite Dylan tune.”
“The thing that I took away as an early fan from Bob Dylan was the storytelling aspects,” Sheeran says of the lessons listening to the American icon has taught him musically. “He can tell some wicked stories.”
The red-haired Brit demurs that he’ll “never be able to tell stories like [Dylan],” but his own fans have demonstrated by their own buying habits that the narratives in Sheeran’s tracks are certainly engaging. Debut “+” hit No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart at the end of 2011, and remains in the top 10. Meanwhile, the American release of the album this month has met with similar success despite the lack of the hit singles that he enjoyed back home across the pond. Last week, “+” started at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Folk Albums chart.
With a massive world tour that heads across the U.S. in September and October and most of a second album “pretty much structurally there,” staying idle doesn’t seem to be in Sheeran’s future. “I’ve been given a window of six months where I have the opportunity to do nothing, but I never stay still for too long,” Sheeran says. Watch Sheeran play his “Lego House” at the Billboard Studios below.