Ed Sheeran has revealed that unfeeling and, as it turns out, clueless record company suits told him that his less than svelte physique and his red hair weren't a good "marketing tool".
That was two years ago and now the 22-year-old has had hit records on both sides of the Atlantic and is followed by a rabid fanbase who can’t get enough of his touchy-feely pop.
"Every single label I had gone to at the time had told me this song wasn’t a hit, this song wouldn’t work and the fact that I was slightly chubby and ginger wasn’t a good "marketing tool" for them," Sheeran told youth broadcaster SB.TV.
He continued: "It wasn’t going to happen. The way I maintained self-belief is that I knew I wasn’t good at anything else so what else was I going to do and secondly with the whole look and songs that the labels rejected, I knew it was really important you stay true to yourself."
Sheeran also recalled the night he played in front of an audience of, well, none at a gig in the UK.
"I was being paid about £50 for it and at the time I had been doing free gigs for about three years so £50 was a pretty big deal.
"So to get down there the train ticket was about £80 so I was like, 'Fair enough, I’ll just try and sell a few CDs'. So, I got to the venue and did a sound check, waited around for a bit and it was time for me to get to the stage, I walked up and got on and there was no one in the room."
He continued: “The sound engineer said I could wait for half an hour and see if anyone turns up so we waited and then came out again and no one was there. Waited another 15 minutes and still no one and basically after waiting for a while I ended up playing to the sound engineer, which I really didn’t mind.”