Over the past year or so since becoming a father to first daughter Lyra, Ed Sheeran thought he would never make music again, retiring unofficially towards the end of 2020.
Speaking to GQ India, Sheeran was talking about upcoming music projects he is currently in the works of and said, “There may be a couple more I write next year to go on but I just need to get it to the stage where I’m as happy with it as I am with this new one. But there was a stage back at the end of last year when I thought I’d never make music again.”
“There’s lots of ways of writing songs – riffs that spark an idea, a particular line or lyric you hear… I also find that you need to just be in a constant flow of writing songs, so, just like training a muscle, I am always pretty much writing,” Sheeran continued. “It’s my daily practice if you like. I mean, until this year I never really lost my voice, because since I was a teenager I’ve been singing every single day.”
One day, however, he just stopped. “When my daughter was born I just said, ‘Maybe this is me now.’ It was such a switch in my life and, wow, it was bringing me so much,” Sheeran shared. “Joy, of course, but obviously parts of it were really difficult too. I can’t really explain it, but I felt so much life was coming at me, I thought, ‘Well, this is what I’m meant to do now.’ I stopped playing the guitar, stopped writing songs and I stopped singing. I actually convinced myself I was never going to sing or pick up the guitar again. I was like, ‘No. This is it. I quit.’”
Thankfully for us, Sheeran found a way to dig himself out of his existential wobble following newfound fatherhood and after about four months of not doing anything musically at all, he chatted with an older musician friend of his who is also going to retire. “I told him that I needed something, as after about four months I had lost all purpose,” Sheeran recalled. “Even though my new purpose was being a dad, if you asked me what I did I wouldn’t be able to tell you. My answer would be ‘Erm, I do f— all’.”
Sheeran was able to reason with himself. “What’s more important for my daughter and my family? Is it being there 110 per cent of the time and not going to London for a day, like today to talk to GQ, see collaborators, friends and master the album? Or is it having a daughter that knows her mum and dad have a great work ethic and really love their jobs? I saw myself as technically being unemployed during that period of non-creation and, to be honest, I was f—ing miserable. I wanted Cherry (his wife) to see me happy and thriving.”
Sheeran admitted to being afraid of the reactions. “This part is hard, always has been. It’s not fun…You’re opening yourself up again to the world. I go, ‘Hey, world. I wrote this song, I think it’s really good.’ And everyone goes, ‘Hey, Ed! It’s s—!’”