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Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011
Ed Sheeran battles Rihanna for top spot in album chart
By Richard Haugh
BBC Suffolk


Look East's Dawn Gerber meets Ed in Framlingham

Ed Sheeran's new EP has been an instant hit - reaching number two in the iTunes album chart.

At the time of writing, only Grammy award winner Rihanna has sold more copies - for her album, Loud.

No 5 Collaborations Project was funded by Ed and sees him joined by 10 of the UK's leading MCs.

"I feel great, but it's a lot to take in," said Ed. "It's all down to the fans being really supportive - they are the main reason it is where it is."

Ed insisted on releasing the EP off his own back before agreeing to put pen to paper on a major label contract with Atlantic.

With no label or press backing, Ed thought the collaborations EP would be a low key release that would be "rediscovered" by fans following his future releases.

"No joke I would have been happy for it to chart at 46, and I would have been happy for it to chart at 20, but when it got to number 12 I was like 'ok, I want it to chart higher now' so I started to push it a bit more," said Ed.

"Then when it got to number four last night I thought I'll leave this, wake up and it would have dropped to number 17 in the morning.

"I woke up and it was at number three.

"Rihanna has got Jay Z behind her, the X Factor, three singles, music videos, radio, press, so I won't be too upset if I don't get higher than her."

Snubbed by labels

Ed's original idea for the release was rejected by record labels, who suggested he gave the music away for free to raise his profile. He is charging £5 for the CD on his website and it costs £6.32 from iTunes.

Rihanna currently reigns the iTunes and official UK album charts

Ed has since been determined to make it a success and now hopes other artists will be inspired to "make the music they want to make".

"I've been working as hard as possible, just becoming a work machine," said Ed.

"Not sleeping, doing a lot of gigs, writing a lot of songs and when someone tells you that you can't do something, take it upon yourself to prove them wrong."

Ed says the success of the EP is "a victory for independent music" and thanked all who have supported him on Facebook and Twitter.

But he hopes this is just the start.

"I think it will be nice for other musicians if the chart in a year's time is filled up with grassroots music," said Ed.

"It's already started with people like Mumford & Sons and Plan B, so who knows."

Official UK Chart

As well as topping the iTunes album chart, Rihanna is also at the peak of the Official Album Chart, as heard on BBC Radio 1.

George Ergatoudis, head of music at the station, has been impressed with Ed's achievement.

He says that digital downloads would equate to around 30% of an album making the Official Album Chart top 10.

"It is definitely pretty rare for a smaller indie label to see success like this," he said.

"The bigger indie labels, Ministry Of Sound, XL, Beggars etc do it regularly, but not ones at this scale.

"Ed has done very well and it bodes well for his future on Atlantic Records."

BBC Introducing in Suffolk supports unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar music in the county - follow Ed's lead and submit your music via the BBC Uploader .

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