Ed Sheeran Shares Deeply Personal Story Behind Newly Announced Album “Subtract”

Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury Festival in 2017
Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury Festival in 2017. Photo by James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock (8879513ej)

Ed Sheeran went through many ups and downs over the course of the past two years, and they all informed his next studio album. The British singer announced the release of his next LP Subtract, and revealed a deeply personal story that made him spiral “through fear, depression, and anxiety” while writing it.

Sheeran teased his new album Subtract (styled as “-”) in the form of a diary entry on social media, accompanied by a photograph by Annie Liebowitz. He explained his new album was created against “a backdrop of grief and hope”, following his wife’s tumor diagnosis during her pregnancy, which could only be treated after she gave birth. During this time he also dealt with the sudden death of his best friend Jamal and a copyright lawsuit over “Shape of You”.

All these events changed Sheeran’s outlook on life, music, and art, and she wanted to put out a body of work that accurately represents where he is at this point in his life.

“This album is purely that. It’s opening the trapdoor into my soul. For the first time, I’m not trying to craft an album people will like, I’m merely putting something out that’s honest and true to where I am in my adult life,” explained Sheeran on social media.

Subtract will hit the shelves on May 5, and the standard edition of the album will feature a total of 14 tracks.