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Ed Sheeran smiles at a press event.

Ed Sheeran Shares Emotional Life Events & Mental Health Challenges Reflected in New Album ‘Subtract’

Ed Sheeran has confirmed he’s releasing a new studio album called ‘-‘ (or ‘Subtract’) – and he’s giving his fans an insight into some of the private life events which shaped the songs.

In a post on Instagram, the notoriously private singer shares a diary entry where he gets candid about learning his wife (consultant and hockey player Cherry Seaborn) having a tumour while pregnant with their second child, grieving the loss of a good friend, and his own mental health challenges:

“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. 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,” he begins.

“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.”

Ed’s message continues: “Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route to treatment until after the birth. 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.”

He goes on to explain that this album is a reflection of who he is and where he’s at in his life:

“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. 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.”

The album is coming May 5.

*If you or anyone you know needs mental health support, you can reach out to Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or find your local helpline overseas HERE. You are never alone. 

(Feature Image Credit: Fred Duval/Shutterstock)


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Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.

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