IN the past month alone, Daniel East has performed in Italy, Ibiza and Norway, taking to the stage in tribute to one of the UK’s biggest current singer-songwriters, Ed Sheeran.

And in the same week that the multimillion-selling artist has released his latest album, No.6 Collaborations Project, Daniel has announced a homecoming covers gig which will take place at Winnington Recreation Club in September.

It’s been an interesting few years for the 26-year-old former professional footballer, who swapped the pitch for the stage a few years ago after being spotted by a talent scout.

Daniel, of Hill View Rise in Winnington, went to Hartford CofE High School where his talent for football shone through and after leaving school, he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers youth academy.

But it was while training as a professional goalkeeper for Brighton and Hove Albion in 2013, aged 19, that he decided to learn to play the guitar, little knowing that the instrument would take him in a whole new career direction.

“I’m still surprised and amazed by the way things have gone,” said Daniel.

“The guitar was just something I picked up as a hobby when I was playing football.”

Northwich Guardian:

When things didn't go to plan in the football industry Daniel decided music might be the way forward for him and to put together a repertoire to give him the best possible chance in the music industry.

“I started learning how to play songs that were popular or in the charts at the time. Ed Sheeran was one of a few artists whose songs I played.

“After I stopped playing professional football, I ended up in non-league and it really wasn’t for me, so I started playing gigs in my spare time. And things have just escalated from there.”

Using the Boss RC300 loop pedal and the LX1E Martin guitars, Daniel is said to provide a show believed that’s as close to the real deal as possible.

But it’s not just the instruments that have helped him on his way to being described as one of the best Ed Sheeran tribute acts on the road. Like a method actor, he’s studied the postures, mannerisms and vocal inflections of the musician he impersonates.

Northwich Guardian:

“At one point I was watching his performances on YouTube for up to four or five hours a day – I’ve definitely studied him a lot.”

Among his favourite songs to currently perform are the early classics such as Bloodstream, Lego House, and Shape of You.

“These are great to perform as I can do them by myself. The new album is going to be interesting as there’s a lot of collaborations and I don’t yet have anyone to do those with.”

Despite having built a busy career by performing as Ed Sheeran, Daniel hasn’t yet met the superstar but knows exactly what he’d say to the guy who has enabled him to travel and perform across the world.

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“I’m not really one to get star struck, but it would be great to meet him. At the very least I think I’d say ‘I think I owe you a drink,” he says.

Daniel will perform at Winnington Rec on Friday, September 27. Tickets priced £8 can be booked through his Facebook page DanielEast13Music