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Music / Ed Sheeran

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"I'm quite arty. I didn't know whether to become an artist or musician but I realised I could paint with music. All my songs have colours."

Edward Christopher Sheeran MBE (born 17 February 1991) is an English singer-songwriter.

His first big break was when he released the No. 5 Collaborations Project EP in January 2011, which saw both the attention of Elton John and Jamie Foxx. After signing to Asylum Records, he released his debut album, + (read "plus"), that same year in the fall. The album conjured his Breakthrough Hit and arguably his Signature Song, "The A Team", which became a sleeper hit success. However, not mentioning another successful single, "Lego House", would be a disservice.

After forming a strong friendship with Taylor Swift (appearing on one of her Red songs and appearing as an opening act on her Red Tour), writing songs for One Direction, winning two Brit Awards, and playing three sold-out shows in Madison Square Garden, he released his second album, x (read "multiply"), in summer 2014. It became Spotify's most-streamed album of the year (over 430 million streams), the highest-selling album of the year in the UK, and won the Brit Award for British Album of the Year and was also up for two Grammy Awards.

Sheeran's third album ÷ (read "divide") was released on March 3, 2017. Album No4 No.6 Collaborations Project was released on July 12, 2019. His fifth album, entitled = (read “equals”) was released on October 29, 2021. His sixth album, - (read "subtract"), was released on May 5, 2023, as a visual album, with music videos for all songs being released on its release date (excluding the already-released videos for the singles). His seventh album, Autumn Variations, will release on September 29, 2023.

It should be noted that his songs tend to be a bit depressing, especially if you read into the real meaning of the lyrics. Sheeran also has a special hatred for ticket touts and in March 2017 cancelled fifty thousand tickets for his tour bought up by touts and resold them to fans at face value.


  • + (2011)
  • x (2014)
  • ÷ (2017)
  • No. 6 Collaborations Project (2019)
  • = (2021)
  • - (2023)
  • Autumn Variations (2023)

Troping out loud:

  • Age-Progression Song: "Castle on the Hill": Six, fifteen and the present day.
  • Artistic License – Geography: "Galway Girl" has Sheeran sing about Grafton Street (a street in Dublin), not to mention the song itself is a tribute to Niamh Dunne... who’s from Limerick. The video stars Saoirse Ronan... who's from Ardattin in County Carlow.
  • Award-Bait Song: Has penned and performed three: "I See Fire" for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, "All of the Stars" for The Fault in Our Stars and "Celestial" for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The music video for "Lego House" makes you believe Rupert Grint is playing Sheeran himself as part of its narrative, before it's revealed that Grint is in reality just an obssessed fan stalking the singer.
  • Book Ends: The video for "The A Team" starts and ends with the death of the protagonist, a prostitute.
  • The Cameo:
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Judi Dench has talked about how her grandson bears a quite startling resemblance to Sheeran, to the point that the two of them were once stopped and asked for a picture, and when Judi agreed they said, "Oh, not you."
  • Darker and Edgier: Played With. On one hand, x has a more lighthearted sound than +. On the other hand, x has even darker lyrics than + ever had.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: "If people wants new music there's around seven E.Ps that I released out and about and I don't really mind if anyone illegally downloads them."
  • Downer Ending: At the end of "The A Team" music video, the protagonist, a prostitute, dies from drug abuse.
    • "Little Lady", which uses the chorus from "The A Team" however, gives a different story that's... darker. The protagonist was murdered by her pimp, who is her uncle and it was her 13th birthday.
  • Drowning Their Sorrows: "Drunk" is about Sheeran's continuous attempts to dull the pain of a failed relationship via binge drinking.
  • Fan Community Nickname: Sheerios.
  • Grief Song:
    • "Small Bump". It's about a miscarriage.
    • "Afire Love" is about his paternal grandfather's death from Alzheimer's, and "Supermarket Flowers" is about his maternal grandmother's death.
    • "F64" is a tribute to Jamal Edwards, the founder of music channel SBTV, which Ed Sheeran was featured prominently on in his early years.
    • "Eyes Closed" was also made in tribute to Jamal and is generally about losing a loved one.
  • Grow Old with Me: In "Thinking Out Loud", Sheeran romanticizes the idea of staying with his significant other well into his twilight years, and promises that old age will do nothing to quell or dampen his love for her.
    • The narrator and the title character in "Nancy Mulligan" (for extra heartwarming points, the song is about Sheeran's grandparents).
    Over sixty years I've been loving her
    Now we're sat by the fire in our old armchairs
  • Hidden Track: The traditional Scottish-Irish song "The Parting Glass" is hidden onto the end of "Give Me Love".
  • Iconic Item: Ed is almost always seen in a hoodie. He even performed at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London in one!
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: His first six albums follow a theme of being named after mathematical symbols. His debut album was named after a plus sign (+), his second was named after a multiplication sign (x), his third was named after a division sign (÷), his fifth was named after the equals symbol (=) and his sixth is named after the subtract symbol (-).
  • Indecipherable Lyrics:
    • Parts of "You Need Me, I Don't Need You", "U.N.I.", "Drunk" among others.
    • "Bibia Be Ye Ye" takes this up to eleven, considering parts of it aren't even written in English.
  • Intercourse with You: "Shape of You" and "Shivers"
  • Internet Stalking: From "New Man"
    Still lookin' at your Instagram and I'll be creepin' a lil'
    I'll be tryin' not to double tap, from way back
    'Cause I know that's where the trouble's at
  • Let's Duet: With Beyoncé on her remix of "Perfect".
  • Lucky Charms Title: The names of five of his albums, which are + (Plus), x (Multiply), ÷ (Divide), = (Equals) and - (Subtract).
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: "Nancy Mulligan" is about a real life one of these, his grandparents who married despite their different Christian denominations during a time when doing so was not well received in Ireland.
  • Mood Whiplash: The deluxe edition of x features this, going from the poignant "Afire Love", about his grandfather's struggle with dementia and eventual death, straight into the slightly braggish rap song "Take It Back".
  • New Sound Album: While + was mostly a folk-pop album with heavily influences of soul, x is an eclectic trip between poppier, funkier sounds, folk-rock and rap.
  • One-Word Title: The songs "U.N.I.", "Drunk", "One", "Sing", "Don't", "Runaway", "Shirtsleeves,", "BLOW" and "Celestial". All but one of his albums also qualify as their symbols are read as single words - + (Plus), x (Multiply), ÷ (Divide), = ("Equals") and (-) ("Subtract").
  • Platonic Life-Partners: He and Taylor Swift are known for having "one of the sweetest friendships in pop".
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • "They say I'm up and coming like I'm fucking in an elevator."
    • Several censored ones on x, especially on "Don't". Surprisingly, the Rick Ross remix of the song keeps in the profanities taken out in the official version.
    • In the "Antisocial" music video, after a bee stings him in the eye:
    Ed: Wanking fuckballs!
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • "The A Team" was inspired by a homeless prostitute named Angel that Ed met while doing charity work.
    • Ed started writing "Afire Love", about his grandfather's struggle with dementia, towards the end of 2013. Two weeks after he started writing it, his grandfather passed away of the disease, and Sheeran had to write this into the song (he reportedly finished writing it at the funeral).
    • "Supermarket Flowers" is about Ed's late grandmother, who passed away during production of ÷.
  • Self-Deprecation: His uncredited appearance in "Freaky Friday" by Lil Dicky and Chris Brown:
    And now I'm in Ed Sheeran's body
    It's way less cool than being Chris Brown was
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: "Eraser" is about the celebrity lifestyle and how it leads to addiction. "Bloodstream" has the same subject .
  • Shout-Out:
    Driving at 90 down those country lanes
    Singing to "Tiny Dancer"
  • Sudden Downer Ending: "Small Bump" is mostly about a man conversing with his future baby, which is revealed at the very end to have been miscarried. Ouch.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Autumn Leaves" is a gentle lullaby about losing someone you love, and "The Parting Glass" is an acapella goodbye song.
  • Take That!: Ed said in an interview that the song, "You Need Me, I Don't Need You", is geared towards the music industry, rather than a person.
  • Wham Line: "Little Lady", built on top of "The A Team" with the new verses practically being wham-verses, especially the last lines of the second and third verses, which reveal in order, her pimp is her uncle and he killed her because she was given a card on her thirteenth birthday.