In early 2011, Sheeran released an independent extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project, which caught the attention of both Elton John and Jamie Foxx. He then signed to Asylum Records. His debut album + (2011), containing the singles "The A Team" and "Lego House", was certified quintuple platinum in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he won two BRIT Awards for Best British Male and British Breakthrough. "The A Team" won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
In 2012, Sheeran began to rise to fame in the United States. He made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift's fourth album Red and wrote songs for the boyband One Direction. "The A Team" was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards and he duetted with Elton John during the ceremony. He will spend much of 2013 touring North America as the opening act for Swift's Red Tour.