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Ed Sheeran, who is relatively mum about his private life, is going behind-the-music in his new Disney+ docuseries, touching on subjects like grief, mental health, love and loss.
“I never wanted to make a documentary that was [focused on the] sad pop star and feel sorry for [the] sad pop star,” Sheeran said Tuesday night at the New York City premiere of Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All, which debuted Wednesday on Disney+ and follows the singer as he mourns the death of his best friend, supports his wife as she battles cancer while being pregnant and records his new album.
“What I think is really great about the documentary is the themes that it explores, everyone goes through. … Everyone goes through grief. Everyone goes through ups and downs of their mental health.”
“I know exactly what you mean, but the pop star went through some shit,” chimed in moderator and CBS This Morning host Gayle King.
“But we all do,” Sheeran replied. “That’s the thing. We all do.”
The four-part series comes two days before the English performer releases his new album – (pronounced subtract). Sheeran was joined onstage by director David Soutar and executive producers Ben Winston and Ben Turner. His wife and mother of two children, Cherry Seaborn, sat in the audience and King asked the singer about her health.
“All good and regular check-ups,” Sheeran said as the audience at The Times Center applauded loudly.
Sheeran, 32, is emotional in the series about Cherry’s battle with cancer as well as last year’s death of Jamal Edwards, his close friend whose groundbreaking YouTube channel SB.TV gave Sheeran — and other U.K. performers — his first big break.
“I don’t think you should process it,” Sheeran said about death. “[You] have to respect the person that you’ve lost. You just have to live with it and allow yourself to be sad sometimes and allow yourself to laugh at the fun memories and stuff like that. But to erase someone from your memory to not feel sad, I think is quite disrespectful to the memory of that person. So I allow myself to feel sad when I want to feel sad.”
“I think that’s the thing with this documentary is people watch it and when they see how I react to it, they’re not saying, ‘Oh, I’m sad for Ed because Ed’s sad.’ They’re watching it and relating it to their own life and being like, ‘I’ve lost someone, and I feel like that [too],’” Sheeran continued. “And I think that’s why the documentary’s powerful. … It isn’t a documentary on a musician. I feel like it’s a documentary on grief.”
This week Sheeran made headlines when suggested that he would quit music entirely if his Grammy-winning hit “Thinking Out Loud” — which is locked in a copyright dispute with Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” — loses in court. He merely mentioned the looming lawsuit during Tuesday night’s premiere.
“Life always just throws curveballs at you. Like, this week at the moment is: I’ve got the documentary coming out tomorrow. I’ve got the album coming out on Friday. I start my tour on Saturday. My grandmother’s funeral is tomorrow. I’m still in this court case,” he said. “It’s like this intense thing and this is just another point in life where life is happening, but that doesn’t mean that 2023 is right-off either. There’s going to be amazing things that happen this year too. I think life is — there’s always something going on.”
King closed the event praising the singer as Sheeran smiled on.
“I’m not going to talk about the court case. I’m not going to do that but I will say this. You publicly said that if you lose the court case — and there’s no way you can in my humble opinion — you publicly said that if you lose you are giving up music and I’m telling you, ‘You got to take that back. Take that back.’ That’s all I’m going to say. Goodnight you guys.”
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