UPDATE ARTICLE: Ed Sheeran has been vindicated in his battle to determine the originality of his hit song, “Thinking Out Loud”.
A New York jury decided against the Townsend Estate, which argued that Sheeran’s song was too similar to an Ed Townsend song written for Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On”. Sheeran missed his grandmother’s funeral for the court proceedings.
“If the Jury had decided this matter the other way, we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters,” Sheeran said. “I am just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake.”
“Truthfully, I know Ed had said what he said about quitting music,” Sheeran’s co-writer, Amy Wadge, said. “I had said it myself, just how awful it was to feel that we all want to create music that touches the world and that the risk of that [is] if I was to create of pieces of work that maybe did the same as ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ I could expect this to happen again,”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Ed Sheeran has suffered great loss, family health scares, and even a stressful lawsuit just in the past year.
The “Shape of You” singer is currently involved in a lawsuit where the estate of Ed Townsend is suing him for infringement for his 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud”, claiming that he plagiarized Townsend’s song “Let’s Get It On” which was performed by Marvin Gaye.
As the lawsuit progresses, Ed has expressed his frustration, and has even declared that he will quit the music industry business if he loses this court case.
“If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping. I find it to be really insulting. I work really hard to be where I’m at,” he said as he took the stand on Monday, per EW, adding that the chords used in his hit song are a “common progression” used in many songs.
The song is in the key of D major, which according to Hooktheory, is the second-most popular key used in hit songs.
Sheeran co-wrote the song with musician Amy Wage, who claims she’s never formally learned to play the guitar and helped write the song using “simple chords”.
Last year, Sheeran won a separate lawsuit involving his song “Shape of You” suffering the same accusations. He stated at the time, “I’m not an entity, I’m not a corporation, I’m a human being. I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a son. Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I hope that this ruling, it means in the future, baseless claims like this can be avoided.”
On top of being in an unpleasant lawsuit once again, his required presence in the New York courts has restricted him from attending his grandmother’s funeral which takes place today, Wednesday, May 3.
Ed wrote his song “Nancy Mulligan” as a tribute to his grandmother, who shares the same first name and lived in Ireland.
She had previously spoken about Ed, praising his talents and noting how she admired his ability to stay close to his roots and value his family and friends he grew up with.
“He was lovely as a kid and he came every year on holidays once we moved here,” Nancy said in 2017, per The Mirror. “I never think of him as famous, I have to say. He’s exactly the same as he always was – if anything he visits and it’s very rare because he’s always working and when you think he was visiting from the age of 14, I mean you have to feel sorry for him, you know he’s so tired but he loved it.”
Ed also has a few upcoming releases, an album and a docuseries, the latter premiering Wednesday on Disney+. The docuseries, titled The Sum of it All, follows Ed over the last year and the struggles he went through involving the death of his longtime best friend and fellow musician, as well a massive health scare brought onto his wife, Cherry Seaborn, when she was six months pregnant.
Ed’s friend Jamal Edwards passed away in February 2022 at the age of 31. In his new docuseries, he talked about how that affected him.
“I had friends in school whose parents passed when they were 14,” Sheeran recalled. “And I look back like, ‘That’s when you became an adult.’ I became an adult recently. Because grief instantly ends your youth.”
Ed also attended Jamal’s family’s home for a BBQ to celebrate his first birthday since his passing.
“I feel so lost in there,” he says in a clip from the docuseries. “This is his first birthday that he hasn’t been here. This is his first cookout that he hasn’t been here. He died six months ago and it’s still very raw.”
“This is the first time you’re there and someone hands you a shovel and suddenly you’re putting dirt on your mate’s grave,” he adds, later visiting a mural made in honor of his late friend. “And it feels so weird […] It’s all pure sadness, it’s all horrible. I know everyone goes through it, I know that it’s like a common thing that you can’t avoid – but yeah.”
As if this wasn’t enough to deal with in the past year, Ed also revealed that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer while she was six months pregnant. This time, his wife, Cherry Seaborn, gets candid on what that experience was like.
“I got diagnosed with cancer at the start of the year which was a massive sh-tter,” she admits. “It made me massively reflect on our mortality. I would never agree to do anything like [making this documentary], but it made me think, ‘Oh, if I died, what’s people’s perception of me? What do you leave behind?’”
“For Ed, the whole point is he wants to say to people, ‘I’m not just this music machine. I’m not just this robot that tries to get number one. I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m a friend,’” she added. “It wasn’t until this year when I was like, ‘I might die.’”
Ed chimes in, saying that Cherry was downplaying the severity of the situation she was in.
“It was horrible,” he started. “I kept saying to [Cherry] that it was just a lump and not to worry. I remember rehearsing and getting a call from Cherry. The doctor was basically like, ‘This is bad.’”
Luckily, after months of treatment, the diagnosis was in fact much less severe than previously thought to be and they were able to successfully welcome their child.
“I’m sat in this courtroom with people shouting at me from all different angles, and in my head I’m like, ‘I hope Cherry’s all right,’” he remembered, referring to last year’s court case involving “Shape of You”. “I could lose this court case and life goes on, but life doesn’t really go on if the person you love the most isn’t in it. The moment you find out that the worst thing in the world has happened to someone you love with all your heart, you feel like you’re drowning and can’t get out from under it.”
It’s hard to believe that Ed is embarking on a worldwide tour right now promoting his upcoming album Subtract while also having to deal with everything else going on in his life. Prayers for the British singer-songwriter and hopes that he is taking good care of his mental health as this enormity of problems is enough to drive anybody insane.