By Zoe Applegate
Ed Sheeran appeared on movie star Jamie Foxx's radio show in April
A local singer-songwriter revealed news of a major worldwide record deal at an intimate gig in Norwich.
Ed Sheeran made the announcement to an invited audience at a lunchtime gig at The Waterfront, ahead of a sold out evening performance on 22 December.
He will formally sign the contract on the kitchen table at his parents' home in Framlingham, Suffolk, in front of record company executives in January.
The 19-year-old is due to release his first song on the label in May 2011.
Ed is not yet publically naming the record company, but says details will be officially released when the full deal is closed during a "champagne signing", after adding his name to an initial contract three days ago.
"I'll be heading straight into the studio in the new year," said Ed. "I'm just really keen to make a good album."
While plans are underway to bring out the album in October 2011, the singer's first single for the label will be You Need Me, I Don't Need You - a fan favourite after online channel SBTV posted a video of Ed performing the track.
The red-haired musician, who blends together rapid-fire song delivery, acoustic guitar and a loop pedal, has won swathes of fans through tour slots for London rapper Example and an appearance on
US radio show.
Ed - who has also cultivated a following through social networking sites - divulged his news while playing a free afternoon gig for fans, who travelled from as far as Staffordshire, Leicester and London.
The singer answered questions from the crowd during his daytime gig
Although the performance started off being a showcase for students at Norwich's Access To Music college, the musician opened out the informal gig with a competition on his Facebook page.
As his career moves a pace, he says he is determined to remain humble and loyal to his following.
"The fact that I can play a sold out show at The Waterfront where I started out is great," said Ed.
"I wouldn't be anything if it wasn't for my fans.
"Because of the internet your personality shines through. I think it's really important to be good to your fans. When I was 15 and going to gigs I always really wanted to meet the bands but I never did.
"At my gig yesterday, I had a 15-year-old boy who couldn't get in as the doormen wouldn't let him through, but his sister found me.
"He was exactly like me at 15. He was wearing my T-shirt and getting me to listen to his songs on his iPod, so I ended up giving him my loop pedal!"
While the money has yet to start rolling in and he says he is still sleeping on people's floors as he plays shows around the country, he has dreams of buying a flat in London and a house in his native Suffolk.
While big name record companies have been courting the South London-based singer for a while, he was determined to finish his independent projects first.
These included his
No 5 Collaborations Project EP,
which features Ed performing tracks with rappers like Wiley, Devlin and Sway.
The eight-track record will be released on 9 January 2011, and in a further boost for the singer his song with P-Money has already been added to BBC 1Xtra's New Year playlist.