Fresh off his first Grammy win for song of the year for “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran celebrates his 25th birthday today. Despite having been active in the music industry for over a decade, it feels like it’s only been recently that Sheeran has really started becoming a household name. As such, there may be a lot about the man that people, including his own legion of fans, don’t know about him. If you count yourself as one such person, here are 10 things you may not have known about Ed Sheeran.
His full name: The singer’s birth certificate reads “Edward Christopher Sheeran.” (He’s 25, for the record). He also goes by the nickname “Teddy,” which he uses primarily on social media and is a moniker he has had since he was a child. He even has a tattoo of a teddy bear on his arm!
He has a LOT of tattoos: Speaking of Ed Sheeran’s ink, the man claims to have over a hundred tattoos, not that you could tell just by looking at him! Designs include claymation penguin Pingu, a ketchup bottle, his family tree, a teacup, and part of a Van Gogh painting.
His appearance: Sheeran wears size 10 (by U.K. Standards) shoes; you know what they say about men with big feet! Also, don’t expect him to lose the facial hair anytime soon; he says he “looks 12” when clean-shaven.
Besties with Taylor Swift: He also has a tat of the logo for Taylor Swift’s album Red, and with good reason, as the two artists are very close friends; he got it to commemorate supporting her on the album’s tour. The pair have also recorded songs and performed on stage together!
And Harry Styles: Sheeran is also close with the One Direction member, having even written a song for the popular boy band. In fact, Sheeran once gave Styles a tattoo of a small padlock near his wrist!
He started young: Sheeran started singing in church at the tender age of four. He similarly learned guitar at an early age and even released an EP at age 14. Sheeran moved to London in 2008 and performed over 300 live shows in 2009.
He names his guitars: Owner of four guitars, Sheeran has given them all names: Felix, Cyril, Nigel, and Lloyd. Assuming they’re still in service, those guitars have been touring with their owner for almost 10 years
He writes about true stories: Several songs from Ed Sheeran’s library discuss real events in his life. “Small Bump” is about friends who lost a child, written from their perspective, and “The A Team” details an experience he had working at a homeless shelter—it’s also a song that he never thought would be played on the radio.
All songs have colors: Ed Sheeran claims to see or associate all his songs with specific colors. Using “You Need Me I Don’t Need You” as an example, the star said the single’s color is aubergine—the color of eggplants—because, “It’s a sad song about struggling.”
Philanthropy: Ed Sheeran is big on charity work. He once performed an act that raised money for a charity that helps prostitutes. He also regularly gives away clothes to donation stores and, most recently, donated winter clothing to the No Cold Homes campaign, which helps those in the U.K. who are having difficulty keeping their homes warm enough during the winter months.
Favorites: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of his favorite TV shows, which is why one of his tattoos is the word “Prince” from the show’s title sequence. Surprisingly, Eminem is his favorite rapper, followed by Jay Z.
Birthday buddies: He isn’t the only one celebrating today. Sheeran and Paris Hilton have the same birthday, as does NBA icon and Michael Jordan and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.