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Ed Sheeran releases his first new music in almost 18 months – listen to Afterglow now

Ed Sheeran
(Image credit: Luigi Rizzo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Ed Sheeran has released his first new music in almost 18 months in the form of standalone single Afterglow.

It follows 2019's No.6 Collaborations – Sheeran's star-studded fourth album, which features guest appearances from Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Eminem and Camila Cabello, to name a few.

Taking to Instagram yesterday (December 20), the acoustic guitar-toting singer-songwriter teased, “11am GMT tomorrow. A Christmas present.” You can listen the new track below.

The single comes accompanied with a performance video, in which Sheeran plays one of his Sheeran by Lowden signature acoustic guitars. 

Until the revelation this morning, the nature of the “Christmas present” remained shrouded in mystery, though UK-based station Power Radio spilled the beans in the lead-up, tweeting, “Ed Sheeran is back with new single titled The Afterglow and it will hit radio stations at 6am ET on December 21st!”

So while a new album might be a little further away, fans can enjoy the new quintessentially Sheeran-esque track in the meantime.

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Last year, Sheeran announced he'd be taking a break from music after going “a bit non-stop since 2017.” He promised he'd return with new music “when the time is right,” after he had “lived a little more to actually have something to write about.”

Back in August, a rare copy of Sheeran's first demo disc, Spinning Man, sold at auction for £50,000. It comprised 14 songs performed by the yet-undiscovered 13-year-old star, and was one of only 20 copies ever printed.

I'm a Staff Writer at Guitar World. I've played guitar for 15+ years and have a degree in Music Technology (Mixing & Mastering). I suppose that makes me qualified to talk to you about this stuff? I'm into all genres of music, but first and foremost I love all things rock and metal.