Ed Sheeran attends the 9th Annual American Institute For Stuttering Benefit Gala in New York City on June 8, 2015.
Desiree Navarro—WireImage/Getty Images
By Ed Sheeran
June 10, 2015
IDEAS

This is the second award I’ve ever got in America, so that’s pretty nice.

I didn’t actually know I was getting an award tonight, because I didn’t expect one. I was coming here to support the cause. I got an email from Emily [Blunt] a couple of months ago telling me about the thing, I said, “of course I’ll turn up.” So turning up today and saying your getting an award is pretty wild, but yeah.

I was a very, very weird child. Very weird child. And I had a port-wine stain birthmark on my face that I got lasered off when I was very young, and one day they forgot to put the anesthetic on, and then ever since then I had a stutter—and I also had very, very big blue NHS glasses – NHS is the National Health Service, one day, I hope you’ll have the same.

And I lacked an ear drum on one side of my face—one side of my ear—so stuttering was actually the least of my problems when I went to school, but it was still quite a difficult thing, and the thing that I found most difficult about it was, knowing what to say but not really being able to express it in the right way.

So I did different speech therapies and stuff, which wasn’t very successful. I had homeopathy, which is like herbs and s—, where you’re drinking… It’s alright.

But I got heavily into music at a young age, and got very, very into rap music—Eminem was the first album that my dad bought me. I remember my uncle Jim told my dad that Eminem was the next Bob Dylan when I was—say what you want, it’s pretty similar, but it’s all just story-telling. So my dad bought me the Marshall Mathers LP when I was nine years old, not knowing what was on it. And he let me listen to it, and I learned every word of it back to front by the age I was ten, and he raps very fast and very melodically, and very percussively, and it helped me get rid of the stutter. And then from there, I just carried on and did some music, but it’s I think the one thing I actually wanted to convey in my speech today for not so much the adults here because I feel like the adults are fine—you’re solid, everybody’s got a lot of money and everyone’s chillin’. But more the kids that are going through the therapy, and I want to stress the point that it’s not—stuttering is not a thing you have to be worried about at all, and even if you have quirks and weirdness, you shouldn’t be worried about that. I think the people I went to school with that were the most normal and were the coolest when we grew up—I was telling Emily earlier that one of the cool kids from school now does my plumbing. So that’s a fact. That’s a fact, so being my thing that I want to stress most here tonight is not necessarily to shed light on stuttering or make it a thing. It’s just to stress to kids in general is to just be yourself ‘cause there’s no one in the world that can be a better you than you, and if you try to be the cool kid from class, you’ll end up being very boring, and doing plumbing for someone that you don’t really want to do plumbing for.

And just be yourself, embrace your quirks—being weird is a wonderful thing. But I think, you know, I’m not very good at speeches, I don’t really do a lot of speeches but I think the one thing I want to say is be yourself, embrace yourself, embrace your quirks, and embrace your weirdness.

And from from a stuttering point of view, don’t treat it as an issue—work through it and get the treatment that you want to get, but don’t ever treat it as an issue, don’t see it as a plight on your life, and carry on pushing forward. And I did alright—I did alright is all. Emily did alright. Nice, thank you.

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