British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran surprised fans by releasing two new songs on Friday.

LONDON (AFP) – British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran surprised fans by releasing two new songs on Friday, drawn from his forthcoming third album.

The 25-year-old, who won the song of the year Grammy award in 2016 for his ballad “Thinking Out Loud”, had been on a year-long hiatus from the music scene and social media.

But he announced on New Year s Day that he would be unveiling some new sounds on Friday.

“Shape of You” and “Castle On The Hill” had been played more than a million times on YouTube within hours of their release.

“Castle On The Hill” is described as a “love song for Suffolk” in eastern England, where Sheeran grew up, while “Shape Of You” was originally intended for Rihanna.

The guitar-playing star confirmed he recorded some of the new album on a cruise ship, but joked he went hungry because he did not have a “dinner suit”.

“My biggest market in the world is the Philippines and every staff member on the boat was Filipino so I just had a wave of people come to my room every five minutes asking for selfies,” he added.

He spoke about the new scar on his face — reportedly caused by Princess Beatrice, a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, pretending to knight singer James Blunt with a ceremonial sword as Sheeran was standing nearby.

“I don t know if I can talk about that,” he told BBC radio.

“I have been telling people that it was James Blunt trying to get the pop career back. He s been telling me to say that.”

Sheeran became an international superstar through “Thinking Out Loud”, a ballad that turned into a wedding favourite.

The song was the first to reach 500 million streams on Spotify and Sheeran s album “X” is one of the top-selling British albums so far this century.