BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – A West Virginia Wesleyan College’s alum’s fandom for singer/songwriter superstar Ed Sheeran has led to some amazing experiences in recent weeks.

Kari Conaway ’19’s love for Ed Sheeran goes back several years.

“His music is amazing,” she said. “He is such a great singer/songwriter. I love acoustic music a lot. His songs bring me peace or calm me down or make me want to dance.  He has just been my favorite artist for years now. I guess I never shut up about him and it got noticed.”

Recently, the St. Mary’s native who has been splitting her time between West Virginia and California received a direct message from the Ed Sheeran account.

“They told me that I was going to get a merch unboxing. Ed’s planning something special for his LA fans. If you are interested, let us know,” Conaway recalled.

Conaway said she had tweeted about Sheeran in May, but had not signed up for any special promotions.

A thought briefly crossed her mind that the singer could come to her house in L.A., but she quickly let that thought slide.

“I keep saying that I am a delusional optimist, “she said.  “All I did was check my Twitter account. It was insane.”

Still, Conaway made Sheeran a friendship bracelet that said “Girl Dad” and hoped for the best.

Later that day, Sheeran did in fact come to Conaway’s home.
“He is a total sweetheart, down-to-earth, genuine and just the best person ever, “she said.

The intention of Sheeran coming to fans’ homes was to record a live album with the album that just came on Sept. 29 – so that one would be the studio album and one from the fans’ homes.

“He came in, he sang the live version on my couch,” she said.

“Afterwards, we just hung out. He stayed a little longer than the other visits because I was the last stop of the day. He met my roommate’s cats. He came into my room and saw my instruments and then he played some on the guitar.”

The surprise wasn’t over as Conaway was flown to New York City and was there the day the album dropped.

“The big surprise was my video was on the MTV video premiere and it was on the screen in Time Square,” she said.
And, Sheeran surprised Conaway again by being in Times Square, taking Conaway to lunch and then getting her into his acoustic performance.

“It was my first time in New York and this was the best day of my life you could say,” she said.

Conaway has already seen Sheeran three times this year and says she will go to any concerts that she can.

“I will see him for the rest of my life,” she said. “He puts on a really good show.”

Conaway, who is planning a full-time move to L.A., currently designs layout for newspapers and works various side jobs.

While she doesn’t know if any more Ed Sheeran visits are in her future, she is prepared.

“In my phone, I have a running list of questions and things to tell Ed Sheeran the next time I see him, and I’m just going to keep it going,” she said.