Ed Sheeran Says “Embrace Your Weirdness”

Ed Sheeran is cool with his uncool childhood.

“Having things that make you different help you become an interesting person,” he told The Hollywood Reporter before being honored at the American Institute for Stuttering’s Freeing Voices Changing Lives Benefit Gala on Monday. “Most of the people I knew that were normal in school are all pretty dull right now — they go to the gym four times a week and look at themselves in the mirror a lot, but they don’t really have a lot to say.… Most of the people that are successful started life off as a weird kid with no friends.”

The musician was commended at the New York City fundraiser for his openness about overcoming his stutter, an oft-shamed disorder that Emily Blunt also conquered when a teacher first suggested she try out for a school play. “It can be mistaken for a learning disability, an anxious sensibility or a weakness,” the actress, emceeing the evening in an Elisabetta Franchi jumpsuit, told THR. “It’s not true to your real character; it’s just that you’re limited in your ability to speak.… I wanted people to understand that it wasn’t that I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to say or who I wanted to be.”

In his speech, Sheeran proudly noted his childhood’s rougher edges. “I was a very, very weird child. I had a port-wine stain birthmark on my face that I got lasered off when I was very young; one day, they forgot to put the anesthetic on, and ever since then, I had a stutter. I also had very big, blue NHS glasses — NHS is the National Health Service, one day I hope you’ll have the same! And I lacked an eardrum on one side of my ear, so stuttering was actually the least of my problems!”

“But it was still quite a difficult thing. The thing I found most difficult was knowing what to say but not really being able to express it the right way,” he continued. Though speech therapy and homeopathy didn’t work, rap music became an effective remedy. “My Uncle Jim told my dad that Eminem was the next Bob Dylan — it’s pretty similar, it’s all just storytelling — so my dad bought me The Marshall Mathers LP when I was nine years old, not knowing what was on it. I learned every word of it, back to front, by the time I was ten. He raps very fast and melodically and percussively, and it helped me get rid of the stutter.”

Read the entire article at The Hollywood Reporter