Ed Sheeran Celebrates Release of His Album '=' : 'This Is My Favourite Album I've Made'

"I see it as my coming-of-age record, and I can't wait to share this next chapter with you," he said

The fourth time's the charm for Ed Sheeran!

The singer-songwriter, 30, released his highly anticipated fourth studio album = (pronounced Equals) on Friday — and told fans he thinks it's his best work yet.

"This is my favourite album I've made, I'm so proud of it," Sheeran, 30, wrote on social media. "Thank you to all the wonderful people who worked on it with me. To the fans, I hope you love it as much as I do, it's been a long journey to this point. Have a fantastic weekend xx."

Sheeran previously told fans upon announcing the album in August that it would be a "coming-of-age record," and that its lyrics would delve into life as a married father.

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"'=' (Equals) is a really personal record and one that means a lot to me. My life changed greatly over the past few years – I got married, became a father, experienced loss, and I reflect on these topics over the course of the album," he said in a press release. "I see it as my coming-of-age record, and I can't wait to share this next chapter with you."

The album's opening track, "Tides," did just that, kicking off with lyrics about how different things have become since he and wife Cherry Seaborn welcomed daughter Lyra Antarctica in August 2020.

"I have grown up, I am a father now / Everything has changed, but I am still the same somehow," he sings.

Later, on "First Times," Sheeran got personal once again, opening up about how his proposal to Seaborn nearly went awry: "The greatest thing that I have achieved/Was four little words, down on one knee/You said, 'Darling, are you jokin?' and I just said, 'Please.'"

The "Bad Habits" singer recently revealed the story of his nerve-wracking proposal for the first time in an interview on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show Skavlan, explaining that there were a few bumps in the road leading up to the couple's January 2019 wedding.

"I kept saying to her, 'We should go for a walk.' She's like, 'No.' 'You sure you don't want to go for a walk?' he recalled. "And time was ticking and [I had engraved] the date on the ring and I'm like, 'I've got to do it today!' It gets to like, 9 p.m. and I'm like, 'For f—'s sake.'"

Ed Sheeran press photos
Dan Martensen

Eventually, the singer got his future bride right where he wanted her — but was initially met with a blank stare after he got down on one knee.

"I was like, 'Will you marry me?' And she was like, 'Are you f—ing joking?' I remember it was just a long silence and I just went, 'Please?'" he recalled. "That was the most human that I've ever felt, because it was like, in my career, sometimes you find I'll be like, 'Can I do this?' And people will just be like, 'Yeah.' You kind of get to a certain point where it just becomes normal."

Of course, Seaborn eventually said yes, and the couple went on to welcome their daughter, for whom Sheeran wrote the = track "Sandman."

"You were loved before you had arrived / And every day that love just multiplies / Daddy made your bed and your lullaby / And Mumma made the mobile in the sky," he croons on the sweet lullaby.

Sheeran announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for COVID, meaning he was forced to spend the album's release in isolation.

The unfortunate news did not damper his spirits, though, as he said in a social media video Thursday that he was still "really, really excited" about the release.

"(equals) out at midnight everywhere. I'm obviously still in covid isolation but please let me know what you think when it's out. It's the most proud [I've] ever been of a price of work and I can't wait for you all to hear it," Sheeran captioned the video.

"Gonna be having a solo party tonight and tomorrow to celebrate, blast it loud. Love you all x," he continued.

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