James Bay was hard on himself for not being as big as Ed Sheeran when he supported the Grammy winner.

The 'Let It Go' hitmaker - who has opened up about struggling with anxiety and impostor syndrome - was the opening act on the 'Bad Habits' hitmaker 2019 stadium run, and James admits the "really disproportionate" comparison was "unhealthy".

He told the 'Diary Of A CEO' podcast: “It is really disproportionate and ­probably unhealthy when I think, ‘OK, Ed Sheeran has invited me to open for him in football stadiums around Europe for three months and there are 80,000 people every night. Wow’.

“And the bit I hate to admit – and I’m anxious to ­confess – is that there is a voice in my head saying, ‘Why aren’t you doing the stadiums?’ I call myself all sorts of names. ‘Why isn’t it your show?’ ”

Nevertheless, the 31-year-old star - who shot to fame in 2014 with the hit 'Hold Back The River' - was grateful to the flame-haired pop megastar, who is the same age as him, for giving him the chance to perform to the masses.

He added: “I was very thankful in that moment that Ed brought me in front of such big crowds because it was exciting to see that my music was still reaching.”

Ed rose to prominence a few years before James in 2011 and has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling musicians.

The Hitchin-born star just released his third studio album, 'Leap', while Ed dropped his fifth record, '=', last October.

James previously confessed to having a difficult time on Ed's tour.

He shared: "To be really f****** honest with you, I lost myself a bit.

"I’m going back to 2019, I was rolling around the world, I got invited on tour with Ed Sheeran and I was having a nice time on the surface.

"But inside I felt weird and I did some writing and it was all a bit of a blur.

"When I was feeling weird I was feeling lonely and I felt like I couldn’t connect with anybody. It’s a difficult thing."