Ed Sheeran‘s next album, colloquially referred to as Subtract, won’t be released until May 5, but the British hitmaker has several other major projects finished or in various states of completion, according to his interview for the new issue of Rolling Stone.
It appears the upcoming release will eventually be joined by a second distinct album made, like Subtract, in collaboration with writer/producer Aaron Dessner of the National. Three of the songs were removed from Subtract because Sheeran found them “too joyous” and because “it was very quickly seen that we were making two different things,” much in the way Dessner’s work on Taylor Swift’s folklore quickly led to a second album, evermore. In fact, it was Swift who match-made Sheeran with Dessner back in 2021.
Among the tracks slated for the second Dessner album are “England,” which is described as “a surging Bruce Springsteen-inspired track,” “Magical,” said to be “an airy ballad,” and an untitled number reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.”
Also percolating for Sheeran is a finished album made with Latin superstar J Balvin that finds him actually rapping in Spanish at one point and collaborating with Burna Boy and Daddy Yankee. Videos have already been filmed for the project, although no release date has been planned.
Additionally, Sheeran is working or has worked on new music with Shakira, Pharrell Williams, Brith rapper Devlin, mainstream EDM star David Guetta, Florida Georgia Line, Benny Blanco, and Justin Bieber, the latter on an Andrew Watt-produced song scheduled for Bieber’s next studio album. Sheeran has also penned a new song for the third season of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso.
Finally, Sheeran says he’s planning five more albums named after symbols, as his previous four have been. The last in the series has a slightly morbid twist: “I want to slowly make this album that is quote-unquote ‘perfect’ for the rest of my life, adding songs here and there,” he told Rolling Stone. “And just have it in my will that after I die, it comes out.”
As previously reported, Subtract is accompanied by a four-part Disney+ documentary series, The Sum of It All, all episodes of which will be released on May 3. The album’s first single, “Eyes Closed,” comes out on Friday (March 24), and Dessner will join Sheeran as part of a 12-piece band to perform Subtract in its entirety during a March 27 show in London.
Following a short run of U.K. and European dates over the next few weeks, Sheeran will begin a North American stadium tour on May 6 in Arlington, Tx.