A TEENAGE busker who has become an internet sensation enjoyed an unforgettable half-term when he jetted out to appear on a top chat show in Los Angeles - and was given a signed guitar by chart-topper Ed Sheeran.
Stunned Wickersley School student Alfie Sheard, who has clocked up two million YouTube views, was invited to appear on The Ellen Show after comedian Ellen DeGeneres saw a clip of the 15-year-old singing in the street.
And if the experience of starring in a prime-time US talk show wasn’t enough to take in, Alfie - a former winner of the Advertiser’s Kids Have Got Talent competition - was even more overawed on seeing a video message from ex-busker Ed.
The redhead singer sent Alfie his best wishes and wrote the young musician a message urging him to play the prized instrument every day.
Back home in Rotherham this week, the would-be hit-maker said he was doing just that.
“I have been playing it every day, I don’t want to let it out of my sight,” he said.
“The video message was amazing, I didn’t know anything about that. I was completely stunned.”
Alfie, who only began busking nine months ago, said he had always hoped to be successful because he believed in himself - but admitted: “I never expected it to happen so fast.”
Previously, he mainly performed at open mic nights but last summer began singing in the street for up to four hours.
And after clips of his acoustic street shows went viral, he received an unexpected call from California.
“People from the show got in touch to say they had seen a clip of me performing Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car and wanted to get me on the show,” Alfie explained.
“My mum, my little brother Billy and I stayed in the Hilton Hotel and they did the filming last Wednesday.
“Ellen came to see me before the show in the dressing room.
“It was amazing being on the show, it didn’t really feel like it was happening.”
Alfie told Ellen during his four-minute interview that he had “always just really wanted to play the guitar” and pestered his mum Mandy to buy him one.
The teenager said busking meant he could make his own money to invest in new instruments.
Ellen told him to make the most of the hotel mini-bar, chuckling: “We’re taking care of all of that.”
Asked what his ultimate goal was, Alfie said: “To be able to go to my mum and tell her she doesn’t have to work any more.”
After being presented with the signed guitar, Alfie treated the audience to an acoustic version of Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight.
He revealed: “I was a bit nervous during the interview but when I was performing I was quite relaxed.”
Previous performances have seen Alfie singing and playing closer to home at the Mason’s Arms in Wickersley and Bramley’s Travlines Festival.
And at just 11, he was the winner of the Advertiser’s 2012 Kids Have Got Talent competition when he impressed the judges with his performance of Wonderwall by Oasis.
Alfie said he hoped his growing profile - including a huge rise in YouTube subscribers and Instagram followers - would lead to more live dates, with a headlining spot at Tickhill’s T-Fest already in the diary.
For now, he is back to concentrating on his Year 11 studies, with GCSEs coming up in the summer.
Alfie admitted: “It’s been a bit different being back at school after the adrelanine rush of last week.”
Wickersley School described his half-term exploits as an “excellent achievement for a very talented, pleasant young man”.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.