Taking a break from selling out arenas around the world, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran made his way to the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center ballroom to be a professor for an hour.

On Friday afternoon, 300 selected UCF students made their way inside the ballroom to experience an intimate Ed Sheeran performance and Q&A session as an award for winning the #EdOnCampus nationwide contest.

"I can't even describe my excitement," said freshman event management major Kallie Jung, who was waiting in line outside the center since 7:45 a.m. "He's one of my favorite artists."

During an interview before the event, Sheeran said he's actually more nervous to host intimate performances than sold-out arenas.

"I'm a professional musician, but I'm not a professional talker, so I find it gets quite awkward if you leave me to talk for too long," Sheeran said. "I'm more nervous about today because I've got people looking at me wanting to learn something."

With the $10,000 grant he presented at the event, Sheeran said he can relate to a similar grant growing up in England.

"In England, if your parents aren't employed and you want to go into higher education, you can get a government grant for that, so I got $500 a month to go to a music college two days a week when I was 17," he said.

At approximately 1:45 p.m., the center's doors opened, welcoming students inside the ballroom for the 2 p.m. event. Waiting for students at their seats was a Chegg goodie bag filled with sunglasses, a water bottle and a frisbee.

Chegg Chief Marketing Officer Esther Lem warmed up the crowd before introducing the multi-platinum musician.

"I want to thank all of you for voting. This is an amazing school and this is a wonderful and unique opportunity for you," Lem said to the crowd.

After a warm introduction, the crowd welcomed Sheeran as he came through the main doors of the ballroom onto a smaller-than-usual stage.

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Sheeran began by performing his 2014 single "Don't" from his latest album "X."

He then opened the floor to students for a Q&A session. Students got an inside scoop on music advice and planned collaborations, and were told the music video for his next single "Photograph" is set to be released next week.

While he plans on doing collaborations in the future, Sheeran said he wants to release more albums first.

One student even asked Sheeran who he was rooting for during Saturday's Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Sheeran responded, "I just wanted Manny to win everything."

The release of '5,' a digital bundle of five EPs Sheeran released before his album "+", was also discussed during the event. The songs will be released on May 12.

Toward the end of the event, Sheeran presented the $10,000 check on stage to members of the UCF Music Department as part of the award for winning the contest.

Sheeran continued with his acoustic performances, singing his 2013 hit "I See Fire" and closing out the show with his latest single "Thinking Out Loud."


Marina Guerges is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @marinaguerges or email her at

Read or Share this story: