Will the real Niceboy Ed please stand up?
Taylor Swift is the queen of Easter eggs. The Grammy winner has been known to sneak in clues about upcoming music and other releases in her social media posts, and Swifties have been working overtime to find any new information about her 10th studio album, Midnights, out Oct. 21.
On Sept. 16, Swift posted a head-scratching TikTok — not because of its content, but because of the song choice. The video, which she captioned “The making of Midnights,” stitched together various clips of Swift in the studio with longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff recording the album. But rather than use one of her own songs for the post, she chose the song “Life You Lead” by Niceboy Ed.
If you’re wondering who Niceboy Ed is, you aren’t alone. “Life You Lead” is the first song ever released by the mysterious artist, and the song was first uploaded to YouTube just two days before Swift posted her TikTok.
So uh, who is this guy? Well, after the song first came out, a Joe Alwyn stan Twitter account posted a thread detailing one theory: that Ed is a friend of Alwyn’s. “This guy Ed is one of Joe’s close friends and he released his first song,” they wrote, adding that “there’s a lot of evidence of their friendship.” The account later posted a picture of Alwyn with who they claim to be Ed, who himself is a part of Alwyn’s friend group known as the “Frosty Crew.”
Another theory is that Niceboy Ed is actually Alwyn himself, which isn’t a stretch. Alwyn was credited as a co-writer on Folklore and Evermore songs under the pseudonym William Bowery, who’s also credited on the Midnights track “Sweet Nothing.” Vulture pointed out that the YouTube video description uses the U.K. copyright single and that the song seems to be sung by someone with an English accent. Interestingly, the cover art for the song features a blonde baby, which could potentially be a baby photo of Alwyn.
On Oct. 14, Niceboy Ed released his second song, titled “Heaven.” Just like “Life You Lead,” the cover art has a photo of a blonde baby. Naturally, Swifties flooded his Instagram comments asking if either Alwyn or Swift was behind the music, as they did with his first post announcing “Life You Lead.”
Swift herself is no stranger to sneakily promoting music that she secretly has a connection to. In 2020, she promoted a cover of her song “Look What You Made Me Do” by a mysterious band named Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club, which detectives deemed to actually be her brother Austin, given that The Dolphin Club was an old Twitter username of his and the cover art for the song purportedly included a childhood photo of him.
After Swift used Niceboy Ed’s song in her video, the Instagram account associated with the confusing artist shared the post to his story with a simple smiling emoji. Quite curious, if you ask me! But, maybe Swifties are reading too much into it and Swift could actually just be helping promote music by one of Alwyn’s friends.
Niceboy Ed (if that is your real name), reveal yourself!