Written and produced by Sheeran, Johnny McDaid and Fred Gibson, “Overpass Graffiti’ is a heady, synth-rich ode to ’80s pop. The official video – directed by previous collaborator, Jason Koenig (“Shape Of You” and “Perfect”) – explores the romanticism of living in the moment as we find Ed stranded in the desert, before he embarks on an adventure with a newfound set of friends who he meets after hitching a ride.
To celebrate the release of ‘=’, Sheeran is set to return to the famed Saturday Night Live stage on November 6th, marking his 3rd time serving as musical guest for the legendary show. Sheeran will be performing his hit singles “Bad Habits” and “Shivers,” both of which are simultaneously sitting in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The tracks were also featured in his recent NPR “Tiny Desk Concert,” streaming online now (WATCH HERE). On November 1st, Sheeran will wrap up a three-night stand as this season’s Mega-Mentor on The Voice.
A 4x-GRAMMY award winner, Sheeran was recognized with a raft of award show nominations this week, highlighted by an American Music Awards nomination for Favorite Male Pop Artist, a pair of People’s Choice Awards nominations for Male Artist of 2021 and Song of 2021 (“Bad Habits”), and five MTV EMA nominations including Best Artist and Best Song (“Bad Habits”), and Best Video (“Bad Habits”).
Embracing Ed’s own truths, ‘=’ seamlessly captures both the intimate and every day, elevating universal experiences to a higher plane. The fourth installment in Sheeran’s symbol album series and a body of tracks that were made over a four-year period that followed his seminal ‘÷’ (Divide) album era, the new album finds Ed taking stock of his life and the people in it as he explores the varying degrees of love (‘The Joker And The Queen’, ‘First Times’, ‘2step’), loss (‘Visiting Hours’), resilience (‘Can’t Stop The Rain’) and fatherhood (‘Sandman’, ‘Leave Your Life’), while also processing his reality and career (‘Tides’).
Sonically, ‘=’ encapsulates Ed’s versatile musical palette, spanning signature, guitar-led tracks and world-class balladry to weightier, euphoric production moments, as first showcased on the album’s first single, the song-of-summer, ‘Bad Habits’. Written and recorded across Suffolk, London, Sweden and LA, the album’s executive production comes from Ed Sheeran, FRED (No.6 Collaborations Project) and Johnny McDaid (Divide), with additional writing and/or production provided by Steve Mac, Joe Rubel, Amy Wadge, Foy Vance, Elvira Anderfjard, David Hodges, Andrew Watt, Lou Bell, Natalie Hemby and Ben Kweller. Sheeran’s brother, Matthew, a composer, also contributes stunning string arrangements on ‘First Times’ and ‘The Joker And The Queen’. The album artwork is a vivid collage of butterfly imagery symbolising the albums’ thread of ‘new life’ and is backdropped by one of Ed’s own abstract paintings.