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As Ed Sheeran comes to Tampa, meet Tampa Bay singer Eden Shireen

"Shireen is a gifted songwriter whose self-titled 2013 EP, available on iTunes, is remarkably polished and catchy. Sleek originals like Invisible to You and this year’s Fraction of Time invite comparisons to some of her favorite artists.."

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/soundcheck/as-ed-sheeran-comes-to-tampa-meet-tampa-bay-singer-eden-shireen/2244807

"Making a name for yourself in pop music isn’t easy. Especially if you more or less share that name with one of the world’s biggest pop stars. 

Such is the plight of Eden Shireen, a Land O’Lakes singer-songwriter who, in her budding career, has been asked about Ed Sheeran more times than she can count.

“They do think that my name is ripped off from his,” said Shireen, 19. “But no, it’s my name. It’s on my birth certificate.”

In many ways Sheeran and Shireen are worlds apart — he’s a Grammy-nominated singer with an international fan army; she’s a student at Pasco-Hernando State College who performs around Tampa Bay on nights and weekends. But they share more than just initials.

Like Sheeran, who performs Thursday at Tampa's Amalie Arena, Shireen is a gifted songwriter whose self-titled 2013 EP, available on iTunes, is remarkably polished and catchy. Sleek originals likeInvisible to You and this year’s Fraction of Time invite comparisons to some of her favorite artists  Taylor Swift, Ingrid Michaelson, the Cranberriesthe 1975. She has toured abroad, opened for pop singer Aaron Carter and, this week, placed third in Wild 94.1’s Tampa Bay Talent Search at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. She’s also working on a new EP that she hopes to release by the end of the year.

“I have this grand idea that I will eventually be everywhere,” she said. “That’s what I hope to have happen.”

Before Shireen reaches Sheeran status, however, we asked her about her (almost) nominal doppelganger.

Eden Shireen. That is your real name, right?

Yes, Eden Shireen is my real name. And it just so happens to sound like Ed Sheeran.

At what point did that start becoming a problem? When did you realize, “Oh, man, this is going to be a thing now.”

I don’t know if it’s necessarily a problem. At first it was annoying as it could be. It was very annoying. But I take it as a blessing now, because it attracts an eye — “Oh, Eden Shireen? What does she do? What are the similarities?” Thankfully, I’m a girl, he’s a guy, so that’s not a similarity. But I like it. Kind of. Sort of.

Have there been side benefits? Have you noticed anyone, like, accidentally following you on Twitter or anything?

Yes! But I also did a cover of Ed Sheeran’s song Tenerife Sea on YouTube, and actually, that cover is the reason I got to go tour in the Philippines. The costar in it had a following over there, and it kind of worked out in my favor. I think that my name being similar to Ed Sheeran kind of worked out as well.

You haven’t gotten a cease-and-desist from his people, have you?

(laughs) Oh, no. No copyright infringements or anything. So we’re good.

Are you going to Ed’s show in Tampa?

I so wish I could! But he has some really hardcore fans. I couldn’t get tickets on time. Next time around, for sure.

Well, maybe this can serve as your FAQ for all future Ed Sheeran questions.

Yeah. You know, it’s really okay, though. Like I said, you do a double-take, and you’re like: “Well, what does she do?” It draws attention. One of my friends was like, “Would you ever change your name?” Well, honestly, it is who I am. And I think it is an original name. When you Google it, I am the only person who comes up. I like that. And I don’t think I would change it. It’s just who I am.

-- Jay Cridlin"

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