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Ed Sheeran Struggles With Depression in Poignant New Single ‘Boat’

Ed Sheeran has shared an emotional new single, “Boat,” along with a music video for the track. The song, off the singer’s forthcoming album Subtract, was written by the English seaside in winter and honestly reflects on depression, with Sheeran using a boat as a metaphor for attempting to keep the water at bay.

The video, directed by Mia Barnes, sees Sheeran amidst the waves on a British beach. The visual mirrors the track’s lyrics as the musician tries to break the cycle of sadness: “They say that all scars heal, but I know maybe I won’t,” Sheeran sings. “The waves won’t break my boat.” 

“’Boat’ is the first song I wrote and finished for Subtract,” Sheeran said in a statement. “It’s where it all began, and a good way to kick off the album.”

Subtract, out May 5, is Sheeran’s final LP of a set of records named after mathematical symbols. The album was produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner.

In March, Sheeran shared the album’s lead single “Eyes Closed.” That track arrived with another cinematic music video following the artist as he wanders from bar to diner, accompanied by a big blue monster symbolizing his grief.

In a recent wide-ranging cover story for Rolling Stone, Sheeran spoke about the grief he’s faced after the death of his close friend Jamal Edwards, and how his death was partially an inspiration for the new album.


“No one really talks about their feelings where I come from,” he said. “People think it’s weird getting a therapist in England… I think it’s very helpful to be able to speak with someone and just vent and not feel guilty about venting. Obviously, like, I’ve lived a very privileged life. So my friends would always look at me like, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.’ ”

Sheeran will also be the subject of Disney+ docuseries Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All, set to premiere May 3. The four-part docuseries will chart Sheeran’s rise from a child with a stutter to stadium-filling superstar, complete with never-before-seen footage from his personal archives, new interviews with Sheeran and his family, intimate performances, and more.

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