Ed Sheeran Releases New Album ‘Subtract’; Says Wife Had Tumor During Pregnancy

Just two years after releasing his fourth album, = (Equals), Ed Sheeran is adding more to his mathematical equation of music with forthcoming “-“ (Subtract), out May 5, a collection of songs he says was a decade in the making.

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“I had been working on ‘Subtract’ for a decade, trying to sculpt the perfect acoustic album, writing and recording hundreds of songs with a clear vision of what I thought it should be,” said Sheeran in a statement. “Then at the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art.”

Sheeran added, “Writing songs is my therapy. It helps me make sense of my feelings. I wrote without thought of what the songs would be, I just wrote whatever tumbled out. And in just over a week, I replaced a decade’s worth of work with my deepest darkest thoughts.”

The collection of songs Sheeran said came out of a number of personal struggles over the past several years. In the span of a month, Sheeran found out wife found had a tumor during her pregnancy and lost one of his closest friends.

‘Subtract’ Cover Art

“Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumor, with no route to treatment until after the birth,” shared Sheeran. “My best friend Jamal [Edwards], a brother to me, died suddenly and I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiraling 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.”

He and his wife of Cherry Seaborn welcomed a second daughter in May of 2022. Edwards, who died on Feb. 20, 2022, at 31, was an influential entrepreneur and business professional, and founder and CEO of SBTV, who helped launch the career of artists, including Sheeran.

“A star’s light shines for millions of years after they go, and his will continue to light up every dark moment, we are all witnessing his power,” wrote Sheeran following Edwards’ death. “I would not be here without him, professionally and personally. There will never be anything close to what he is, but I’m so grateful to have existed within his orbit. My brother, come on.”

Regarding his court cases, in 2022, a lawsuit was brought against Sheeran regarding similarities between his 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On.”

In 2018, musician Sami Chokri and his co-writer Ross O’ Donoghue also sued Sheeran for copyright infringement over their 2015 song “Oh Why.” The musicians claimed that “Shape Of You,” the lead single off Sheeran’s 2017 album, Divide, was copied. Sheeran eventually won the copyright lawsuit and was awarded $1.1 million in the case.

“As an artist, I didn’t feel like I could credibly put a body of work into the world that didn’t accurately represent where I am and how I need to express myself at this point in my life,” said Sheeran of Subtract.

Along with news of the album, Sheeran released a video trailer to accompany Subtract with flashes of imagery showing him on the piano, at the beach, and set in other atmospheric scenes, including the track list written in the sand.

“This album is purely that,” added Sheeran. “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. This is last February’s diary entry and my way of making sense of it. This is ‘Subtract.’”

“-” Tracklist:

Salt Water
Eyes Closed
Life Goes On
End Of Youth
No Strings
The Hills of Aberfeldy

Photos: Annie Leibovitz / Courtesy Elektra Music

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