According to Ed Sheeran, his newly announced next album, Subtract, was written top to bottom in a little over a week. But considering the amount of life-changing events he experienced within a matter of months — one of which involved a major health scare in his family — it makes sense that inspiration flowed through him as quickly as it did.
Ed Sheeran Announces New Album ‘-‘
While unveiling the title and May 5 release date for Subtract, which is stylized in standard Sheeran fashion as “-,” the 32-year-old pop star revealed that his wife, Cherry Seaborn, was diagnosed with a tumor while pregnant with the couple’s second daughter last year. “Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route to treatment until after the birth,” he shared in his album announcement, posted across his social media accounts.
Sheeran and Seaborn first met while growing up in Sheffield, eventually reconnecting in 2015, and getting married in 2018. After first becoming parents in 2020 with the arrival of their daughter Lyra, the couple welcomed their second baby in May last year.
“Want to let you all know we’ve had another beautiful baby girl,” Sheeran wrote on Instagram at the time. “We are both so in love with her, and over the moon to be a family of 4.”
Seaborn’s mid-pregnancy health complication was one of several inspirations for Subtract, on which the “Shape of You” singer says he spilled his “deepest darkest thoughts.”
“At the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art,” he wrote in his Wednesday (March 1) album announcement. “My best friend Jamal, a brother to me, died suddenly, and I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiralling through fear, depression and anxiety. I felt like I was drowning, head below the surface, looking up but not being able to break through for air.”
Sheeran also revealed that he’d scrapped a decade’s worth of work on -, which follows 2011’s +, 2014’s x, 2017’s ÷ and 2021’s =, and replaced it with a tracklist of songs written “in just over a week.” “Writing songs is my therapy,” he shared. “It helps me make sense of my feelings. I wrote without thought of what the songs would be, I just wrote whatever tumbled out.”
See Ed Sheeran’s vulnerable album announcement below:
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