A Co Down singer is heading out on tour with Ed Sheeran having been hand-picked by the world famous hitmaker as his support act.
Ryan McMullan from Portaferry was approached by Sheeran after a gig in London and offered what could be a life-changing support slot on his 32-date tour of Europe.
The 27-year-old, who is a past pupil of St Patrick’s Grammar School in Downpatrick, explained how the opportunity came about.
He said: “I was supporting Foy Vance in the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London and Ed was at the show.
“After my set he asked me if I was busy in March and April, it’s no surprise that I said ‘no’.”
Ryan, who cites Foy Vance and Snow Patrol as big influences, said Sheeran had been in the green room with them before the show.
However, he had no idea he was being considered as a support act for the tour in support of Sheeran’s third album Divide.
“Right now he is the biggest superstar on the planet and it’s a huge opportunity,” said Ryan.
“I’m a big fan of Ed Sheeran as an artist and as a person.”
The tour starts in Italy and finishes in London, with two dates in Dublin’s 3Arena on April 12 and 13. Sadly there will be no Belfast appearance for Sheeran and the Portaferry songwriter.
Ryan said: “I’m looking forward to Dublin the most, with there being no show in Northern Ireland this will be the homecoming show for me.”
Asked if he will be able to stick the pace with Sheeran, who is famed as a party animal, Ryan said: “One thing I’ve learned is it’s not a race. But I will enjoy it.”
He continued: “The last tour I did was around six weeks. This one is eight I think.
“The things l miss most on tour are my friends, family, Guinness, soda bread, potato bread. The usuals.”
Ryan, who lives with his parents John and Nuala in Portaferry, said he started making music at the age of 16 and “hasn’t looked back since”.
After expressing an interest in learning to play the guitar, his father learnt first so he could help his son master the instrument.
It appears to have worked wonders.
Ryan’s current single is ‘A Winter’s Coat’, while his cover of ‘The Streets Of New York’ has amassed nearly 28,000 views on YouTube.
His father is also a star turn in his local pub in Portaferry – Fiddler’s Green.