British singer-songwriter and music sensation Ed Sheeran took to Instagram Live yesterday to announce the release of the emotionally stunning ‘Visiting Hours’, alongside another single due September 10, and his forthcoming studio album  ‘=’.

Speaking to over 40k Instagram viewers of how it has been two years since he has released a project and over four years since he has released a solo album, Ed Sheeran announced live, to many delighted fans that he will be releasing his fourth solo studio album ‘=’ on October 29.

The music artist also announced the current release of the song ‘Visiting Hours’, as well as a new upcoming single on September 10. Judging from his IG live and the lyrics of the song, we believe this next single to be called ‘Shivers’.

Sheeran’s previous single “Bad Habits” has had over 121 million views on YouTube and over 300 million streams on Spotify since its release in late June.

The album cover is painted partly by Sheeran himself over lockdown by splattering paint over a canvas, and then designed by his friend and also tour photographer Zakary Walters.

Explaining more about the design and meaning behind the album, Sheeran says,

“You would have seen the chrysalis cocoon that is on there – basically the symbolism behind the album. It’s sort of the new life I’ve been through the last four years – sort of different experiences in life, including getting married, having a kid, losing a friend. And I just felt like the butterfly symbolism fit it with that.”

He continues,

“There are 14 songs on the album. It’s been a kind of painstaking process cutting down to 14 songs. I started with quite a lot. But they all have their place and they all – I love it – I think it’s the best bit of work that I’ve done. It’s cohesive and it feels great.

I see it as my coming-of-age record, and I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.”

‘Visiting Hours’, the current new single, which came out August 19 directly after Sheeran’s live stream is a personal song for the music artist.

“This is a song that is really, really dear to my heart. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album. I finished it in quarantine in Australia when I flew over for my friend’s memorial. And it’s called “Visiting Hours”, which some of you guys would have heard of before. But you won’t have heard the recorded version.”

Sheeran performed this song live for the first time in an emotional tribute at his friend and mentor Michael Gudinski’s state memorial in Melbourne in March earlier this year.

He noted that the song was one of the most important songs on ‘=’ having finished writing it after going through proper grief for the first time.

‘Visiting Hours’ is available now on all streaming platforms. A live version, filmed at St Stephen’s Church, Hampstead can also be found.

The Instagram live session also featured Sheeran singing an acoustic version of ‘Visiting Hours’ as well as giving us a preview of his apparent next single ‘Shivers’ – which comes out September 10.

‘=’ available for pre-order on Ed Sheeran website through various forms as well as merchandise bundles that include CD, Vinyl, Cassette, tees, hoodies and tote bags. The record can also be pre-saved on all streaming platforms here.

=’ Tracklist:

  1. “Tides”
  2. “Shivers”
  3. “First Times”
  4. “Bad Habits”
  5. “Overpass Graffiti”
  6. “The Joker And The Queen”
  7. “Leave Your Life”
  8. “Collide”
  9. “2step”
  10. “Stop The Rain”
  11. “Love In Slow Motion”
  12. “Visiting Hours”
  13. “Sandman”
  14. “Be Right Now”

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