Global superstar Ed Sheeran has revealed why he loves Suffolk so much, shared his passion for Ipswich Town and given advice for young musicians from the area in an exclusive chat.

The East Anglian Daily Times and the Ipswich Star newspapers were given the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Sheeran, who grew up in Framlingham and still lives in Suffolk.

Sheeran returned to his former high school, Thomas Mills in Framlingham, on Thursday evening to unveil the new recording studios which have been built on the premises.

Ed Sheeran unveiling the Gingerbread Studio's at Thomas Mills High SchoolEd Sheeran unveiling the Gingerbread Studios at Thomas Mills High School (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Speaking at the unveiling, the Shape of You singer said: "When I was at school there was such an importance on classical music and in the curriculum there wasn’t anything to do with production, or song writing, or pop music, or anything.

"So now to have somewhere like that for students is great. They can write a song and then the same day record it and have something to take home and learn how to do production.

"Our biggest soft power as a country is our culture and our music and the arts.

Ed Sheeran chatting to the EADT about SuffolkEd Sheeran chatting to this newspaper about Suffolk (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"I just don't understand where the government thinks the next generation of musicians are going to come from if nothing has been cultivated. There's a lot of talent in the country and it just needs attention.

"We're hoping to do a similar recording studio in Hartismere, with Thomas Mills being the first one to show that it can work first because it's about getting the government on side because music is very important."

Ed in one of the new studiosThe Shape of You singer in one of the new studios (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Ed with some students from the schoolThe star with some students from Thomas Mills High School (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Sheeran unveiled the recording studios, Gingerbread Studios, designed and built by Studio People and Elliston Steady Hawes (Building) Ltd, at a special event held at Thomas Mills High School, which included a showcase from some current students who demonstrated how the studios work.

With Sheeran going from busking on the streets of Ipswich to being one of the biggest stars in world music, he offered advice to young artists in the area hoping to emulate his career.

He added: "I think that from where I have come from, being state school educated, growing up in Framlingham, a little countryside town and I've gone on to do what I have done, it does show young people that it can happen.

Ed in one of the studiosEd Sheeran in one of the studios (Image: Charlotte Bond)

The plaque which has been unveiled at the schoolThe plaque which has been unveiled at the school (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"It's not like a Los Angeles thing, where you have to live in LA to become a success.

"These students I have met today, I was exactly like them 20 years ago - and they can definitely be in the same position as me, but they're actually further ahead in their development because I never learned production, which they will now with these studios."

Sheeran still lives in Suffolk with his family and regularly visits Thomas Mills High School for special events.

One of the studio'sOne of the studios (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Ed Sheeran with music teachers at Thomas Mills, Richard Hanley BEM and Anna DuckerEd Sheeran with music teachers at Thomas Mills, Richard Hanley and Anna Ducker (Image: Charlotte Bond)

He praised his former music teacher, Richard Hanley, for believing in him as a youngster.

Sheeran said: "On Thomas Mills, I think Mr Hanley, as a teacher, really supported me at a time where I probably wasn't very good. He encouraged me and told me that I was good and I was improving and could get better, and it really built my confidence.

"Teachers are such a key part of someone's life, because if they destroy your confidence, then you'll always think you're not going to be able to do things.

"I was very fortunate to have a teacher that built my confidence to a point where I believed I could do anything and that I was going to go to London and play at Wembley Stadium.

Ed with his former music teacher Richard HanleySheeran with his former music teacher Richard Hanley (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Ed Sheeran returned to his old schoolEd Sheeran returned to his old school (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"Suffolk as a whole, I love. I really like the community of it. I really don't feel at home anywhere else.

"I love going to Ipswich Town games because I go there and I feel part of something, and I get treated as a football fan rather than as a music celebrity. I just feel really at home here.

"All my friends live here, all my family live here, and I feel like there's like a collective protective forcefield around me.

"When I go to pubs here, people don't act weird. I go to the seaside, people aren't weird. Whereas in London, there's such a high turnover of people that I don't feel as safe as I do here."

Ed with the school headteacher, Mr Philip HurstSheeran with the school headteacher, Philip Hurst (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Ed unveiling the plaque at the schoolSheeran unveiling the plaque at the school (Image: Charlotte Bond)