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After hiatus, Sheeran reveals new album release date

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Ed Sheeran performs in Los Angeles in 2015.

Ed Sheeran spent most of 2016 working behind the scenes, co-writing pop hits for Justin Bieber (“Love Yourself”) and Major Lazer (“Cold Water”). Now the British singer-songwriter is back out front with a new album.

The LP, called “÷” (pronounced “Divide,” in the style of his last album, “Multiply”), will be out March 3 on Atlantic. It’ll include his two recent singles — “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You.” Sheeran co-produced the album with pop maven Benny Blanco, with work from Mike Elizondo, Steve Mac and longtime collaborator Johnny McDaid.

In his review of those songs, Times critic Mikael Wood said Sheeran’s low-key 2016 was still felt profoundly across pop: “Sheeran’s absence last year… cleared a lane for the ascent of Shawn Mendes, an avowed Sheeran nut who satisfied many fans’ need for an earnest folk-pop guy strumming his pain with his fingers. Now that Sheeran has returned, though, dude is gunning to get his place back.”

Sheeran won two Grammy Awards last year, for song of the year and best pop solo performance. He’s up for another one this year for his co-write on Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” Sheeran’s new album comes in the wake of a rough patch last year when he was hit with a $20 million infringement suit over his song “Photograph.”

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