Ed Sheeran surprised fans pre-holiday by dropping his new standalone song, “Afterglow.”
“We were love drunk waiting on a miracle/Trying to find ourselves in the winter snow, ” Sheeran sings softly as he strums an acoustic guitar. “So alone in love like the world had disappeared/Oh I won’t be silent and I won’t let go/I will hold on tighter ‘til the afterglow.”
“Hey, guys. ‘Afterglow’ is a song I wrote last year that I wanted to release for you,” he said on Instagram. “It’s not the first single from the next album, it’s just a song I love and hope you love, too. Enjoy! Have a safe and happy festive break and New Year’s. Back to Dad land for me now.”
Sheeran announced he was going to “take a breather to travel, write and read,” last December. “I’ll be off all social media until it’s time to come back,” he wrote on Instagram. “The Divide era and tour changed my life in so many ways, but now it’s all over it’s time to go out and see more of the world,” he wrote. “I promise to be back with some new music when the time is right and I’ve lived a little more to actually have something to write about.”
Sheeran dropped his star-studded No.6 Collaborations Project in 2019, featuring collabs with Travis Scott, Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Eminem, 50 Cent, Chance the Rapper, Camila Cabello, Young Thug, Skrillex, Chris Stapleton, Bruno Mars, Stormzy, and others. He released Divide in 2017, which boasted a Number One hit, “Shape of You.” The album’s 2018 tour also earned more than any global trek in the past 30 years, as of that year. At the time, the tour sold 4,860,482 tickets across 53 cities and 94 shows for an all-time record gross of $432 million.
Sheeran recently performed at 2020’s virtual PlayOn, Warner Music Group’s three-day music in April. Funds from the festival were donated to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO).