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The Many Roles of Ed Sheeran in Pop Culture

Ed Sheeran


These days it seems like Ed Sheeran means everything to everyone. 

He’s a singer, sure, but he’s so much more. Ever since he came roaring back onto the scene after a social media (and industry) break that felt entirely way too long, the guy has exploded. And not just on the charts—we’re talking visibility. Ed Sheeran is everywhere, and he seems to be making up for lost time. 

Maybe he feels guilty for abandoning his fans. Maybe he feels guilty for abandoning Taylor Swift ‘s cat. We’ll probably never know the true motivation, but one thing is clear: Ed Sheeran is role-playing the crap out of his return. 

He’s a troubadour. He’s the guy who sings slow jams, sings catchy jams, sings any jam. He strums a guitar, happy as a clam to be strumming the guitar. If this were 2002 and we were watching the CW, Ed Sheeran would be the guy standing in the middle of the Stars Hollow town square, narrating all of the day’s events to an upbeat tune. But it’s 2017, so instead he’s the guy standing onstage while thousands of young girls sing along through their tears. This is his bread and butter.

He’s the cry-inducer. Remember those girls who were singing through their tears? (How could you forget, it was one paragraph ago?) They’re crying because Ed Sheeran is an expert at tugging at the heartstrings. He should have a PhD in whatever science involves thinking of the saddest scenarios possible to put into song. Falling in love, feeling unrequited love, growing old together: If it could be the plot of a Nicholas Sparks movie, Ed Sheeran will sing it to you. When your legs don’t work like they used to before/ And I can’t sweep you off of your feet/ Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love? COME ON. 

He keeps the wedding first-dance industry in business. How many more times can you sit through a brand new husband and wife waltzing to At Last? Enter Ed Sheeran. There’s no definitive proof, but his melodic actions suggest nothing but the fact that he’s angling to fully monopolize the wedding song industry. Ed Sheeran is making sure that no one ever has to Google “Best first dance songs again.” They’ll just turn on the radio and use whatever his current single is. 

He’s a viral star. Ed Sheeran, coming to a Tumblr page near you! We know that he didn’t actually have anything to do with the fact that that baby looked just like him, but it also can’t be a full coincidence. There’s just something about Ed that screams, memetastic. He’s also totally game to play along, whereas other musicians might be tempted to turn up their noses at being a star of the viral story of the day. 

He’s a hit-maker. He’s the wizard behind the curtain to so many of the biggest artists: One Direction, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber. Ed Sheeran freaking wrote “Love Yourself” and then handed it off to Biebs with his blessing, content to stay behind his curtain ruling over Oz. 

He’s a Taylor Swift BFF. Taylor has a lot of best friends. She has Karlie, she has Lena, she has Lily (both of them!). She doesn’t really need Ed Sheeran, mathematically speaking. But on every other level, she does. Who else but Ed Sheeran is going to love her cats the way that he does?

He’s chief informer. If there’s a piece of celebrity news you’d like to know, chances are Ed Sheeran will tell you. He’s not here for all the secrecy and smoke and mirrors. He’s here to be truthful when someone asks him an honest question. And if that question is, were you sliced in the face with a sword by Princess Beatrice while an entire party full of people, including James Blunt, looked on he’s going to say, yes. 

He’s a tea spiller. Sometimes Ed Sheeran takes it too far. Sometimes his duties as chief informer go beyond a little oopsies wherein Princess Beatrice is concerned, and cross over into oh, crap territory. Sometimes Ed Sheeran tells a magazine that he’s hooked up with members of Taylor Swift’s squad, and, well, there will be consequences. 

He’s a Rupert Grint stand-in. If the real Rupert is ever too busy to show up at a Harry Potter cast event, then the studio need just give Ed Sheeran a call instead. Talk about a jack-of-all-trades. 

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