Ed Sheeran Mourns Late Friend On New Song ‘Eyes Closed’: ‘Can’t Help But Missin’ You’

The first song released from Ed Sheeran's upcoming album is a touching tribute to his friend Jamal Edwards, who died in 2022.

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Image Credit: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection

Just over a month before the release of his next album – (Subtract)Ed Sheeran dropped the first song from the record on March 24. The song, “Eyes Closed,” was written following the death of the singer’s friend, Jamal Edwards, in Feb. 2022. “I pictured this year a little bit different when it hit February,” Ed sings. “I step in the bar, it hit me so hard, oh, how can it be this heavy? Every song reminds me you’re gone and I feel the lump form in my throat ’cause I’m here alone.”

In the chorus, Ed sings about dancing with his “eyes closed” because he’s still seeing his late friend “everywhere” he looks. “I don’t know what else that I can do, so I’ll keep dancin’ with my eyes closed,” he says in the hook. Jamal helped discover Ed when he was an emerging artist, and they have worked closely over the years. He was just 31 years old when he died of cardiac arrhythmia, which stemmed from recreational drug use.

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Ed Sheeran performing. (Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)

Ed was absolutely gutted by Jamal’s death, which happened around the same time that his wife, Cherry Seaborn, was dealing with a medical issue of her own. While pregnant with the pair’s second child, Cherry was told she had a tumor, and treatment was not possible until the baby was born. these life-changing events in Ed’s life changed the entire vision he had for the Subtract album. “In just over a week, I replaced a decade’s worth of work with my deepest, darkest thoughts,” he revealed in a March 1 Instagram post.

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Jamal Edwards died in 2022. (David Fisher/Shutterstock)

The full album, which comes out May 5, will delve into Ed’s feelings about everything he went through at the beginning of 2022. In addition to the album, Ed will also be releasing a four-part documentary on Disney+, where he’ll delve into his personal life more than ever before. “As my life took a few twists and turns, the subject matter of the album changed, and so did the documentary. It became something completely different than what I thought it would be,” he explained in an Instagram post. “I wanted to provide context to the album, as it touches on very personal things that we all experience.”