You'd never know it now, but when Ed Sheeran was a kid, he had a serious stutter — not exactly ideal for someone who wants to make a career out of using his voice. But instead of letting his speech issues be a roadblock, they ended up being what led him to his chosen career, and it's all because of the man formerly known as Marshall Mathers. No, seriously. While speaking at Monday's American Institute for Stuttering's Freeing Voices Changing Lives Benefit Gala, Sheeran revealed that listening to Eminem rap as a child helped him get over his stutter, even if he was memorizing lyrics that was super inappropriate for a nine-year-old to hear.
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.
Sheeran, who is obviously now a super talented musician, also took the opportunity to remind the audience that being the "weird kid" usually has its advantages, because said weird kids usually end up being successful adults later on in life.
Stuttering is not a thing you have to be worried about at all. Even if you have quirks and weirdness, you shouldn't be worried about that. The people I went to school with that were the most normal and were the coolest when we grew up — I was telling Emily [Blunt] earlier that one of the cool kids from school now does my plumbing! That's a fact! I wanted to not necessarily to shed light on stuttering or make it a thing, but stress to kids in general to just be yourself, because there's no one in the world that can be a better you than you. If you try to be the cool kid in class, you'll end up very boring and doing plumbing for someone who apparently wasn't that cool. Be yourself. Embrace your quirks. Being weird is a wonderful thing.… I have a f—ing football team now, that's pretty cool! Embrace your weirdness. From a stuttering point of view, don't treat it as an issue. Work through it and get the treatment you want to get, but don't ever see it as a plight on your life. Carry on pushing forward.
It's so interesting that Sheeran got over his stutter by being a tiny Eminem-in-training, mostly because he's rapped flawlessly on so many songs in his career. Listening to these songs, you'd never know that he used to struggle with his speech. Music is a seriously good aid if you have to deal with a stutter, too, and these songs prove it.
"Take It Back"
Sheeran rapping is my favorite thing ever, and this song is a perfect example of it.
"You Need Me, I Don't Need You"
No matter how many times I attempt to rap this song alone in my car, I will never sound as good as Sheeran does. Bonus: The entire music video is in sign language, which is really cool.
"All About It"
In collaborating with Hoodie Allen, Sheeran gets to show off his rap chops again, and it's amazing. Also, the costumes don't hurt.
This song, from Sheeran's second album, X, is a different style of rapping than what he usually does, but it's still just as amazing.
Sheeran is obviously super talented, and he's right: If you're a weird kid, you'll be an awesome adult. Case closed.