Doncaster busker who was given a guitar by Ed Sheeran tells all about life in LA

At the age of 17, singer and musician Alfie Sheard has learned an awful lot about the music business.

Monday, 30th July 2018, 1:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 4:33 pm
Alfie Sheard in London

At the age of 17, singer and musician Alfie Sheard has learned an awful lot about the music business.The teenager shot to fame last year when videos of him busking in Doncaster went viral, attracting over three million hits.His world went crazy, as he was invited to the States to perform on the Ellen Degeneres Show, and his idol Ed Sheeran not only applauded his talent, but gave him a personalised guitar as a mark of respect.Fast forward a year, and Alfie is back in South Yorkshire, after nine months living and learning out in Beverley Hills. He’s grounded, much wiser, and still working hard to produce his own music, with a hint of an impending album driving him forward.Spending much time in London, where he recently played at the premiere of new film Mamma Mia, Here we go Again, on the red (blue) carpet, he has also supported on arena dates around the country.But the talented teen is also enjoying home time, and will busk in Doncaster again, when time allows...Alfie said: “I had an amazing time in America. Everything happened so quickly last year and suddenly there I was, out in Los Angeles, which was a pretty cool experience.“Much of my time out there involved studio work and networking, getting the right team together.“But I did do some busking and it’s an entirely different set up from over here.“I tried places like Santa Monica, and Beverley Hills, but there is so much competition out wait at least an hour for a spot in Hollywood. “I was surprised how friendly people were to each other out there over all.“I made some friends for life, but there are also people who are not so genuine. You have to be aware...“I was in this fantastic apartment complex in LA, living among very wealthy people and looking out over the whole of the city from the thirty-fifth floor.“I was mixing with musicians, producers, actors and models, all people from the same pond but from all over the world.“A couple of times I was working in the studio when Jennifer Lopez was there with her entourage..I was friends with her vocal coach.“ She actually seemed very down to earth, nothing of the prima donna about her.“I’ll be returning to America at some point for more studio work with the same producers in Hollywood. “They wanted me to live out there but I didn’t want that. The eight hours time difference makes it hard to maintain contact with family and friends over here.“It was a step too far for me.“I loved it but at times I could feel a bit isolated. “It’s great to be around my friends back in Britain. “So long as I’m able to do what I love, making and performing music, I’ll be happy. “I have my own studio at home now and I write songs every day. “I’ve always said I’d like to have a loyal following who come to my shows, and to get played on radio, which is pretty much what everyone wants to do.“The main thing is to keep everyone patient for my own music, and I’m working extremely hard to get that out. “It could be very soon or another few months, but there’s definitely an air of excitement about it that I want to maintain.”Life in the States had its scary moments, admitted Alfie. “There was a shoot out just around the corner from my block on one occasion, and on another we were driving past a store as an armed robbery was taking place.“Guns are commonplace. I never had one but there were plenty around. “You couldn’t help but be aware.”His visits to arenas around the UK, taking in such massive venues as London, Manchester and Birmingham, were incredible in terms of experience, said Alfie.“That was amazing. I was a support act, doing what I want to do and getting paid for it, a beautiful time.“I was surprised to get the invitation to perform at the Mamma Mia premiere. “It came about through record label contacts and I was told I could perform any track off the new album.“There were all the stars there; Cher, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan was like a who’s who in the world of show business. It was great to do - yet another different kind of experience.”Alfie’s home is in Ravenfield, Rotherham, but it was Doncaster he chose as his busking centre from his early teens. His father owns and runs a Doncaster haulage company.Alfie said he loves performing in the town centre, choosing his corner, trying out new material and seeing people smile as they linger to listen to his songs.He has an older brother and a younger sister.

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Alfie Sheard in concert
Alfie Sheard in studio