Ed Sheeran has opened up about new song ‘Eyes Closed’, revealing that it was inspired by the loss of late music entrepreneur and close friend of the musician, Jamal Edwards.
The track, which is out on March 24, will appear on the singer-songwriter’s fifth studio album ‘-‘ (‘Subtract’), which is due for release on May 5 via Asylum/Atlantic (pre-order/pre-save here).
“This song is about losing someone, feeling like every time you go out and you expect to just bump into them, and every thing just reminds you of them and things you did together,” Sheeran wrote in an Instagram post.
“You sorta have to take yourself out of reality sometimes to numb the pain of loss, but certain things just bring you right back into it. Blue was Jamal’s colour, but now is all I feel. And I guess music helps heal, so I’m dancing with my eyes closed to try get through it x.”
SBTV founder and DJ Edwards died in Acton, west London on February 20, aged 31. A coroner later ruled that his death was a result of a cardiac arrest due to taking cocaine.
Sheeran has repeatedly said that he owes his success to the late Edwards, who was an early supporter of Sheeran’s music through the SBTV YouTube channel.
The singer-songwriter performed ‘You Need Me, I Dont Need You’ on SBTV in 2010, prior to the release of his debut album ‘+’ the following year.
Speaking at a memorial for Edwards in September 2022, Sheeran explained: “I really don’t think I would have been given the opportunities that I was given had it not been for Jamal putting his arm around me [via the BBC].”
In January, the musician then payed tribute to Edwards with a powerful SBTV freestyle.
Announcing his new album earlier this month, Sheeran also opened up about the difficult personal circumstances around the creation of the record, sharing that “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 went on: “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 [Edwards], 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.”
The singer concluded that the album is “opening the trapdoor into my soul”, adding: “I’m merely putting something out that’s honest and true to where I am in my adult life.”
Earlier this year Sheeran told fans that a “turbulent” time in his life had stopped him engaging with social media.