by Daniel O’Neill ’21 A&E Staff
For years, rock musician Ryan Adams has been praised for his emotional connection to his lyrics. Recently, however, multiple women have come forward accusing Adams of emotional and verbal abuse, as well as offering career opportunities in return for sex.
Ryan Adams rose to fame in the early 2000s as a pioneer in the alternative music genre. He has released 16 solo albums, many of which were considered groundbreaking for their time period. It came as a surprise to many when news came out that he had been accused of such abusive actions in the past.
Seven women altogether have come out accusing Adams of different levels of abuse. Famous indie artist Phoebe Bridgers claims that Adams came into contact with her when she was 20-years-old. At this time, he offered for her songs to be released on his record label. The two musicians became romantically involved, and Bridgers claims that Ryan Adams became abusive and emotionally manipulative towards her. Bridgers eventually broke off their relationship, and she claims that Adams decided to withhold her songs from being released under his record label and banned her from opening at his future concerts.
These accusations towards Ryan Adams come at a time when the music industry needs stability, not more chaos involving abuse. Since Adams is widely regarded as one of the most influential alternative/rock musicians and producers around today, the news that he has been accused of such abusive actions has shocked the industry, as well as his fans.
People in the music industry have started to argue that many women abandon their careers in music because of the type of abuse that Adams is accused of. Music is an art form that is supposed to be expressive and freeing, yet the accusations against Ryan Adams portray the industry as nothing more than a power position; Adams allegedly used his position to launch careers, then pursued his own interests with the artists.
According to Rolling Stone, Adams tweeted, “I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes. To anyone I have ever hurt…I apologize deeply and unreservedly.”
Adams is diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease, a degenerative disease that damages the ear. It leaves the victim with hearing loss. It made playing gigs extremely difficult for Adams. Because of this and the media portrayal of the disease, he became increasingly aggressive towards journalists and those interviewing him on different occasions. Some people now speculate that this behavior is similar to what he is being accused of by seven different women.
Rolling Stone recently published an article on Feb. 21 looking into Adam’s history of abuse. The article argues that the artist’s solo projects contain lyrics that suggest behavior similar to the accusations. Essentially, the lyrics act as a type of fabricated art, but many are now seeing them as being almost too similar to his own actions.
This is the recent pattern with other artists accused of such atrocities; a talented personality uses his position as a platform for brandishing his abuse. Many people suffer collateral damage from the uncontrolled behavior of people like Ryan Adams.