Ed Sheeran has announced his fourth studio album, saying it is the “best bit of work that I’ve done.”
The British singer-songwriter confirmed on Thursday that “=” (pronounced “equals”) will be unveiled on October 29 — four years after he began recording it.
Sharing the cover art on Instagram, Sheeran told his 33.7 million followers that since starting the project in 2017, “I’ve been through love, loss, new life, grief and everything in between during the whole period of writing it, and I feel like it’s a coming of age record.”
The 30-year-old star added that he had “never been more proud of a body of work, or more excited/nervous for you all to hear it.”
The record features 14 songs, including the lead single “Bad Habits,” which became Sheeran’s 10th UK number one hit when it was released in July this year.
With “=,” Sheeran continues the tradition of naming his albums after mathematical symbols. His 2011 debut “+,” 2014 follow-up “x” and 2017’s “÷” all topped the UK album charts. “x” and “÷” also topped the Billboard 200 chart.
Sheeran also used the Instagram post to confirm that the next single off the album would be “Visiting Hours,” which he said he finished “for my friend (music industry icon) Michael (Gudinski) who sadly passed away this year.” He shared a snippet of the tear-jerker in another Instagram post.
In 2019, Sheeran released his “No. 6 Collaborations Project,” which saw him team up with industry heavyweights including Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Stormzy, Khalid, Bruno Mars, Eminem and Camila Cabello.
In September 2020, he welcomed his first child, Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran, with his wife Cherry Seaborn, whom he married in 2019.