Edward Christopher "Ed" Sheeran is an English singer-songwriter born on February 17, 1991.
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 3rd March 2017.
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)
This artist provides examples of:
- Age-Progression Song: "Castle on the Hill": Six, fifteen and the present day.
- 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.
- Dream Team: Had a duet with Beyoncé on "Perfect".
- 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.
- 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.
Over sixty years I've been loving her
- The narrator and the title character in "Nancy Mulligan" (for extra heartwarming points, the song is about Sheeran's grandparents).
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!
- 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".
- Let's Duet: With Beyoncé on her remix of "Perfect".
- Lucky Charms Title: The names of his albums, which are + (Plus), x (Multiply), and ÷ (Divide).
- 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". It's really rather jarring.
- 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: "U.N.I.", "Drunk", "One", "Sing", "Don't", "Runaway", "Shirtsleeves"
- 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.
- 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 bodyIt'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 .
Driving at 90 down those country lanesSinging to "Tiny Dancer"
- "A young singer-writer like Gabriella Cilmi"
- "Castle on the Hill" mentions Elton John's song "Tiny Dancer" on the chorus:
- Something Completely Different: "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" compared to the rest of the album.
- Silly Love Songs: "Perfect", "Hearts Don't Break Around Here".
- 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.
- Theme Naming: His 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), and his third is named after a division sign (÷).
- Title Drop: Hard to miss in "You Need Me, I Don't Need You".
- Title-Only Chorus: Again, "You Need Me, I Don't Need You".
- Wham Line: A few songs have these.
- "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.
- Your Cheating Heart: "Don't" is about being cheated on.