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Ed Sheeran has been making hit songs for a decade. The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter has had several smash singles such as “Perfect” and “Shape of You,” and became a pop music mainstay throughout the 2010s. But despite having many beloved songs to his name, he himself isn’t a fan of all of them.

Ed Sheeran poses on the carpet for SiriusXM
Ed Sheeran | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Ed Sheeran is a best-selling artist

Sheeran released his debut album, +, in September 2011. The lead single, “The A Team,” introduced him to the world as a guitar-playing crooner with an undeniable talent for singing and songwriting. He released his sophomore album, x (pronounced “multiply”), three years later; songs such as “Thinking Out Loud” built on his legacy.

His 2017 album, ÷ (pronounced “division”), cemented his spot as a global artist with an incredible amount of influence. The world tour he embarked on for ÷ ended up being the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, raking in over $776,000,000.

Ed Sheeran playing guitar
Ed Sheeran | David Wolff-Patrick/Redferns

Ed Sheeran is embarrassed by his songs

Despite his music being loved by millions worldwide, Sheeran himself has a more complicated relationship with his songs. He spoke about it in a 2021 interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music.

“If a song doesn’t make me go, ‘Oh I don’t wanna put that out,’ then I shouldn’t be putting it out. If it makes me feel embarrassed to release it, it’s the right song to do,” he admitted.

“Always, when I hear songs that I love, there’s lines that they say where you go, ‘That’s exactly what I’m thinking, but I would never say that,'” he continued. “So that’s what I try to do with songwriting. Sometimes I write a line and I go, ‘Oh that’s silly, why am I saying that,’ and that’s the magic in songwriting.”

Ed Sheeran playing guitar
Ed Sheeran | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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Ed Sheeran released his album ‘=’ in 2021

In 2021, Sheeran made his grand return to music with his album, = (pronounced “equals”). The album represents a homecoming of sorts, as he announced in 2019 that he was retiring from music after the birth of his daughter.

Many of the album’s tracks meant a lot to Sheeran in the studio before he released them to the world. “Visiting Hours,” for example, deals with the death of his close friend Michael Gudinski, who died in March 2021. While it was difficult writing and recording the song in the studio, Sheeran said that the song doesn’t make him feel emotional anymore because it “is so important to so many other people now”.

“So when I write the songs they’re very personal to me, but then when I release them, they belong to everyone and therefore they’re not mine anymore,” he said plainly. “I got asked if I get emotional playing ‘Visiting Hours’ at shows now, and I don’t. I honestly don’t, because that song is so important to so many other people now, so I don’t feel like that song is mine to hold.”

“I’ve got loads of other songs that are unreleased that are my songs to hold, but all of these songs that are out there [belong to everyone].”