Ed Sheeran has certainly made his presence known across the world. With his countless albums, almost daily plays on the radio, and even his appearances in films like Bridget Jones’s Baby and Yesterday. He’s pretty much unavoidable. Taking the spotlight on the TV scene for once, the four episodes of his newly released docuseries, Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All, explores the ups and downs of Ed Sheeran’s life around his career in music.
Gratitude is the overall feel of episode one, ‘Love’, both for his career and his family. Using his hit song ‘Perfect’ to explain how important his wife Cherry Seaborn is to him, the love between these two is indisputable. Storming through the hardships that life presents them, the couple meet life’s greatest challenges head on.
Episode two, ‘Loss’, reflects further on key moments in Ed Sheeran’s personal life, beginning with him speaking of the passing of his Grandfather. Following this, he speaks of the loss of his long-time friend and music icon, Jamal Edwards, who helped to launch Sheeran’s career. Visiting his hometown for Edwards’ memorial, Sheeran chooses to show himself facing the grief on camera. As heart wrenching as this is, the display of raw emotion is admirable, with this being something that is usually avoided by men – especially in the music industry.
The ending of episode two marks the middle of the docuseries, and already my view on Ed Sheeran has been shifted. Sometimes, musicians’ humanity is forgotten about, with the public viewing them based on their music alone, but ‘The Sum of It All’ sees behind the music and looks into Sheeran’s personal life, and reminds us that at the end of the day they’re just as human as the rest of us.
‘Focus’ (episode three) is where we see Sheeran’s music’s true involvement in his life, to the extent that both his family life and health are affected. Cherry Seaborn presents herself to talk about the strain that the intensity of Sheeran’s work puts on him, removing any time for him to process anything that he needs to. We also learn that Sheeran values family as much as making music, and he correlates the ‘spark’ of writing a good song to the feeling of hugging his daughters, calling it ‘a euphoria you can’t explain’.
The final stretch on this rollercoaster of emotions, ‘Release’ is the fourth episode to the docuseries. Ed Sheeran clearly comes to terms with the misfortune of 2022, explaining that 2023 will be a new year, with new opportunities, and most importantly time to spend with his family.
It takes insane amounts of courage to be able to bear it all to millions of people around the world, especially with the awful things that he has faced. From someone who has never been a big Ed Sheeran fan, this man has, and always will have, my utmost respect.
By Lucy McCallow