Ed Sheeran had a “hard slog” getting to the BRIT Awards.

The 20-year-old singer – who famously slept on friends and fans’ couches after gigs as he made his way around the country in his early days – leads nominations at this year’s awards with four nods, and admits it’s been a much harder journey to the top than if he’d appeared on a TV talent show like ‘The X Factor’.

After scoring his nominations at last night’s (12.01.12) launch in London, he told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I can’t wait for the big night – I’m going to be partying hard with Example, which will be messy. I did the hard slog gigs route to get where I am today rather than ‘X Factor’.

“And I get paid more than ‘X Factor’ people, too. But I don’t take anything away from bands like [former contestants] One Direction. They work just as hard as I do now.”

Ed scored nominations for Best Male Solo Act, Best Breakthrough Act and Mastercard British Album of the Year for his debut, ‘+’, while his debut track ‘A Team’ was nominated in the Best British Single category, but he insists he has no plans to make a big speech should he win.

He told The Sun newspaper: “I’ll just wander up really chilled, say thanks to my cat, nice one, then walk off.”

Also at the nominations, Adele and Jessie J scored three nods each, while Florence and the Machine received two.

The awards will take place at London’s The O2 on February 21 and will feature performances from Ed, Adele, Rihanna, Florence and the Machine, Coldplay and Noel Gallagher.