Ed Sheeran, known for his soulful songs, is giving fans a snapshot of a different struggle, his childhood battle with stuttering.
The 24-year-old singer was honored on Monday at the American Institute for Stuttering’s Free Voices Changing Lives Benefit Gala in New York City.
In his acceptance speech, Sheeran revealed he believes his stuttering stemmed from a procedure affecting his nervous system.
“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,” he said.
The British singer-songwriter revealed it was another fellow Grammy winner – rapper Eminem – who unknowingly helped Sheeran stop his stutter after a 9-year-old Sheeran’s dad gave him Eminem's “The Marshall Mathers LP” CD.
“I learned every word of it back to front by the time I was 10,” Sheeran said. “And he raps very fast and very melodically and very percussively and it helped me get rid of the stutter.”
Sheeran joined actress and gala host Emily Blunt – an actress who also dealth with stuttering earlier in life – at the event. The singer told the audience to embrace their inner weirdness.
“Just be yourself. Embrace your quirks,” he said.
Sheeran went on to perform the next night at a sold-out concert in Des Moines, Iowa, where fans saw a singer who had found his voice.
“Kids worry a lot about fitting in but the moment you stop trying to fit in is when stuff fits around you,” Sheeran told ABC News.
“Everything you think is wrong with you is actually right with you because that makes you an individual and that makes you an even more interesting human,” he said. “That makes you, you.”