Ed Sheeran writes songs to avoid therapy.

The flame-haired singer is known for his catchy pop tracks as well as more mournful love songs and finds penning the lyrics is a good way to express his feelings.

Since breaking into the music scene with debut album + in 2011 he's become a global star, but Ed says despite a glamorous showbiz life he's not immune from feeling down from time-to-time.

"I'm quite a happy, carefree guy, but everyone has bad thoughts. I think the reason that I write songs is to get all the nasty things out. It's like sitting down with a shrink, but you're sitting down with 50 million people," Ed admitted to People magazine.

After dropping out of school at 16, Ed moved from his small coastal town to London to pursue his love for music.

"[I] left home thinking I was all right, but I realised I had a lot of work to do and did all the gigs, networking and studio sessions I could. It was my education without the degree. [Instead], I got a career," he remembered.

Ed celebrated his first UK number one single earlier this year with Sing, which was produced by Pharrell Williams.

The Happy singer has become a good friend to Ed, who also counts Taylor Swift and Harry Styles as close confidents too.

"I end up in these random situations and try to roll with it. Like I went to a Passover dinner where I was seated next to Usher, and he said, 'Come to the studio,' so I went," he laughed.

Ultimately though the 23-year-old is looking for love.

"I think the meaning of life is a family. If I can have a wife, kids, animals and a house - that is success," he said.