Aaron Dessner praises Ed Sheeran for 'turning darkness into light' on 'vulnerable' LP Subtract

Aaron Dessner produced and co-write the album credit:Bang Showbiz
Aaron Dessner produced and co-write the album credit:Bang Showbiz

Aaron Dessner has heaped praise on Ed Sheeran for "shifting sadness, pain and anxiety" into music "so beautifully" on 'Subtract'.

The National star produced and co-wrote the 14 "deeply personal" tracks on the 'Shape of You' hitmaker's forthcoming final album in his mathematical series, which Ed revealed this week acted as therapy for him through the most difficult time of his life, which saw his wife Cherry Seaborn delay getting treatment for a tumour because she was pregnant with the couple's daughter Jupiter, now nine months, and on top of that, his best friend Jamal Edwards died suddenly.

The 'Bad Habits' hitmaker - who also has Lyra Antarctica, two, with childhood sweetheart Cherry - admitted writing the record was therapeutic as his mental health had spiralled.

Aaron, 46, was introduced to Ed, 32, through mutual friend Taylor Swift, 33, and he also produced their song 'Run' for 2021's 'Red (Taylor's Version)'.

In a lengthy Instagram post about working with Ed, he shared: "I was introduced to @teddysphotos through @taylorswift when I helped produce their song "Run" for Taylor's Version of Red last year. It was special for me to hear two old friends singing together and bringing the past to life -- and an interesting way to meet someone, working on music remotely first before actually meeting in person. Some time later we met up in New York City for dinner and talked at length about music and life. It felt so relaxed and as if we already knew each other. Thinking about Ed's music, I realized I was hearing things in my head I thought we could explore, musical ideas that would allow for more space and bring out what I admire about his guitar playing and incredible voice. I spent some time sketching these ideas and shared a folder with Ed. A few months later in the winter of 2021, he started writing to them and sending sometimes multiple song ideas a day, inspired by a very difficult period he was going through in his life. I could really empathize with what he was feeling and was eager to help realize these songs. (sic)"

The pair ended up recording 30 songs in a single week for the album, with almost half making the final cut, and Aaron hailed the Grammy winner for sharing his "vulnerability and honesty" with him and transforming "darkness into light".

Aaron added: "We then met up to work in England in January 2022 and finished over 30 songs together in a week. I'm so excited to share that 14 of the songs we made in that time comprise Ed's 6th album, "subtract", which will Be released on May 5th. I couldn't be more proud of this record and the vulnerability and honesty Ed showed in making these songs with me. There's something deeply vulnerable and ultimately cathartic and therapeutic about shifting sadness and pain and anxiety into music, transforming darkness into light in this way and sharing these sentiments with others. This is what "subtract" does so beautifully and I can't wait for you all to hear it. Thanks so much to Ed for trusting me to help him on his journey as an artist. I continue feel so grateful to have the opportunity to make music with so many friends, new and old, and to experience the way community grows and grows. (sic)"