The singer-songwriter debuted a pair of comeback singles this morning (January 6): ‘Castle On The Hill’ and ‘Shape Of You’.
He co-wrote ‘Castle On The Hill’ with pop producer Benny Blanco, with whom he also wrote 2014’s ‘Don’t’. ‘Shape Of You’ was co-written by Sheeran with Snow Patrol‘s Johnny McDaid and pop producer Steve Mac.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show, Sheeran explained that the lyrics to ‘Shape Of You’, which include a reference to Van Morrison, meant that he and Blanco never actually sent the song to Rihanna.
He recalled: “I started writing lyrics like ‘putting Van the Man on the juke box’ and thought ‘she’s not really going to sing that’. We decided halfway through that this would work for me.”
Listen to ‘Shape Of You’ below.
Fans had been speculating that he might announce or even surprise-release an album today, but no album news has been shared yet. Yesterday he appeared to confirm on Twitter that his forthcoming third album, the follow-up to ‘+’ and ‘x’, will be titled ‘÷’.
The singer announced his extended break from social media in December 2015, explaining that he wanted to focus on recording and “travel the world and see everything I missed”.
Sheeran said that he was “taking a break from my phone, emails and all social media for a while” because he had started “seeing the world through a screen and not my eyes”. “The third album is on its way and is the best thing I have made thus far. See you all next autumn, and thank you for being amazing,” he added.
In October, betting was suspended on Ed Sheeran headlining Glastonbury 2017. Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: “It looks like Ed’s cameo in the latest Bridget Jones film was the clue all along. Punters have piled into his odds at a rate of knots and we’re left with no option but to close the betting for the time being.”