Ed Sheeran announces release of new album, titles it '='
- Ed Sheeran also performed a new song during the live stream
- The album features 14 songs, which Sheeran said he cut down from a much longer list in a "painstaking process"
- In a written statement alongside the album, Sheeran said = is "a coming of age record
English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has announced his fifth studio album, = (pronounced as equals), to be released on October 29, 2021.
Sheeran had trailed the album with an image of a chrysalis, with butterflies featuring on the album cover itself. Taking to Instagram, the English singer said on Live "new life – I’ve been through, over the last four years, different experiences in life, including getting married, having a kid, losing a friend".
He also performed a new song during the live stream, Visiting Hours, which has also been released alongside the announcement.
It is reportedly said that the album features 14 songs, which Sheeran said he cut down from a much longer list in a "painstaking process".
"They all have their place – I love it, I think it’s the best piece of work I’ve done, it’s cohesive and it feels great," he said.
Earlier, lead single Bad Habits became his 10th UK No 1 hit, and has spent the last seven weeks at No 1. The next single from 'Equals' will be released on September 10.
In a written statement alongside the album, Sheeran said = is "a coming of age record. I’ve never been more proud of a body of work".
After releasing his third album, 2017’s ÷, Sheeran embarked on a world tour that lasted two and a half years and became the highest-grossing and most-attended tour of all time, generating £567m ($776m) from 260 concerts and 8.5m tickets sold.
During the tour, Sheeran completed a collaborative album with stars including Justin Bieber, Eminem and Stormzy, No 6 Collaborations Project, released in 2019.
His biggest album success remains 2014’s x, which is the 49th biggest-selling album ever in the UK – ahead of the likes of Paul Simon's Graceland and The Sound of Music soundtrack.
Sheeran is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his debut album + by playing it in full at a concert at the relatively intimate venue, London's Shepherd's Bush Empire, on September 2. Fans had to apply for tickets via a ballot system, which is now closed.