VIDEO: Rising star Alfie Sheard on releasing his first single, finding social media stardom and opening for James Blunt at the Royal Albert Hall

Alfie Sheard playing the Royal Albert Hall. Photo by Virginie VicheAlfie Sheard playing the Royal Albert Hall. Photo by Virginie Viche
Alfie Sheard playing the Royal Albert Hall. Photo by Virginie Viche
YOU have to go some to match performing for millions on national TV — but opening for James Blunt at the Royal Albert Hall has to be right up there.

Wickersley singer Alfie Sheard first sprang into the spotlight in 2017 when YouTube clips of his street busking caught the attention of the producers of Ellen De Generes’ chat show, and he was flown out to America to meet her and appear on the programme.

Now 20, Alfie has built an impressive social media fanbase – his Instagram followers number over 205,000, while videos on TikTok, where he has 94,000 followers, regularly rack up tens of thousands of views.


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After months of lockdown, he was relieved to be able to get back out on the street and busk – and delighted to be booked to play two gigs supporting chart-topping star Blunt.

The first, at Bournemouth’s International Centre, was a good start, but Alfie said playing the Royal Albert Hall had been something special.

“Three months ago, I rode past the Albert Hall and did a video in which I said one day I was going to play this venue – three months later, I opened for James Blunt there,” he said.

Alfie said he had been brushing his teeth when he got a call from his manager, who also looks after Blunt, with a surprise offer.

“He said: ‘What are your plans for Thursday and Friday?’ and I said I thought I’d be gigging or just writing songs and he said: ‘How do you feel about coming to London to play Bournemouth on the Thursday and the Royal Albert Hall on the Friday?'" Alfie recalled.

“I almost spat out my drink of water because I couldn’t believe it!

“I didn’t get much sleep that night because I was so excited.

“I went down to London the morning after, and my manager and I went through all my songs. After about three hours, we’d curated a set of six songs.

“At the Albert Hall, I was in a room on my own five minutes before I went on and I said to myself: ‘This is happening, and you need to smash it.’

“I decided to go out and scream: ‘London, how are you doing?’ and that was the confidence I had to show to get the crowd on my side.

“After I got off stage, I felt like it had gone really well.

“Because of the response, I almost forgot the crowd was not there for me and I was warming them up for James.

“After my set, I called my manager with my heart still pounding and then got to watch James’ set from a box with my friends and family.

“When he finished his set, James said he wanted to thank his band and he also gave me a little shout-out.

“We saw each other in the halls before the Bournemouth gig and had this little fist pump and during his rehearsals at the Albert Hall, I took some photos, and he gave me a thumbs-up.

“He messaged me on Twitter after the Albert Hall gig, too. He’s just a really cool, normal guy.”

Alfie’s attention now turns to the release of his first ever single, which is out today.

“I am really excited to have my own song coming out.

“It’s a really big thing for me. I’d never played it live until the Albert Hall and I’m excited to have done an official version."



He added: "It’s all good getting 20,000 likes on a photo but as a musician you’re there to get people to connect with your music so that’s what I’ve been focusing on.

If people want to really know me, my first single is a really good start as it’s about how I’ve learned in life it’s hard to juggle a relationship with a career.

“When I got that call (about the James Blunt shows), I had to cancel everything else.

“But there’s better feeling than the one I had going out in London for few drinks after the show, knowing you’ve done your job well – it’s the best feeling and reaffirms for me that’s what I want to do with my life.”

Alfie’s spot on the Ellen show included a surprise appearance by pop star Ed Sheeran – who gifted the starstruck youngster a signed guitar.

“I would never give the guitar away or sell it, with the amount of happiness and fulfilment it brings me,” he said.

“It’s all scratched because I have written a lot of songs on it and I’m really grateful I have it.

“I’ve modelled my career on Ed and when Ed was in my position, he modelled his career on James Blunt, so I look at him as someone who has had a huge career as one of the biggest artists and is still going 15 or 20 years later.

“I don’t know when it will happen, but I do know I will headline the Albert Hall one day.

“At the moment, I’m just taking it all in and having fun.”