Multi-Grammy Award nominated singer Ryan Adams has been a significant name in the alternative music scene since the 90's, with over 20 successful albums under his belt. It was recently announced that Adams was to make his long-awaited return to the UK playing an intimate eight-date solo tour, to the delight of his diehard fanbase.

On stage and under the spotlight alone with just his guitars and a piano, the shows will be an intimate experience in which the singer's life-long dedication to song-writing will be showcased up-close and personal.

We caught up with Ryan to find out more…

How are feeling now your tour is soon to Commence, Ryan? Do you get nervous before taking to the stage?
I just go onstage as myself and play, and I enjoy the ride every time. The set list is different every night based on how I feel that day, maybe the walk I took and the vibe of the room or what day it is. But there’s 100’s of songs to choose from so I just let them choose me really, and then I’ll likely be playing pinball backstage or something.

You are playing in intimate settings. I imagine it’s nice to perform up close and personal to your fans?
Nothing is plugged in. It’s exactly how folk and blues shows in the 60’s would have sounded. Think Dylan first couple of tours - it’s just big open mics and the only dynamic is the one I create with my acoustic guitar and voice. Or me at the piano. So the venue needs to be able to carry a natural acoustic sound.

I suffer from chronic Ménière’s disease and I’ve suffered inclement hearing loss during show when I’ve had to fight over those loud systems - it also happens when someone uses a flash camera at me and I’m not prepared, how could I be when the audience is totally dark- so I have also had to play through having these weird seizures. I understand that all sounds like a lot but I am in love with music and playing music and sharing these beautiful real experiences that are so NOT automated in such an automated, Sky-net future world.

How do you go about choosing your set-lists when you tour?
I just let the set list find me. I have a lot of faith and without explaining that in any self important way, which it isn’t, the right songs find me that afternoon and I put the list down in the afternoon. Once it’s done I let it go, go have my day and that evening I take that ride.

You've been involved in the music world now for many years. How has the music industry changed, in your opinion, and has it changed for the better or worse?
I have never felt like a part of the music world or music industry. I’ve banged my head on that wall plenty of times out of necessity because I want to make art and I want to find a way to deliver that art to whomever wants it… But what I am doing is more like what Berlioz’ was doing. I’ll make the art and album even if it works against my own best interest. I have a feeling what I’m doing will likely mean more later when I’m not around to be in its way. And I’m just a deep dive album artist.

Having interviewed other artists over the years, one common theme seems to be how much the process of creating aids in personal healing and progress. Is this the case for you? Would you say your creative output is the way you have found your meaning in life?
I am my work and my work is me. The only thing I have to do is get out of its way so the listener of my songs can become the narrator. That’s been the play since I can remember and I can do that without thinking. It’s how listening to the Smiths feels to me. That’s them playing and Moz singing, but the music becomes a place in my soul or a real place, and sung in a way where those stories are me having those experiences. That’s all I wish to accomplish.

It was a difficult and tumultuous period back in 2019, which was widely reported in the press. How has that period of your life shaped you as a person and influenced your work, if at all?
I lost my older brother suddenly, while I was onstage on the last show of the last tour before all that. Only months before any of that. It has taken me a long time to accept losing my brother. I wake up a lot of days and you know, I can’t call him. I can’t pick up the phone and just call him. Sometimes that’s all I want to do.

My brother turned me on to records when I was a kid. His kid brother, weirdo I was with OCD and likely on the spectrum. So he made me compilation tapes of Ozzy and the Scorpions and just tons of cool music. Those tapes, and my brother knowing these little things saved me.

When my cat Theo died in my arms after that time alone when all the, sorry, when all the suckers took off who weren’t my real friends anyway, and I had to let him go, after 11 wonderful years I think that finally broke me completely. I saw Theo slip away staring into my eyes and all I can say is, I felt my brother beside me. I felt what a lot of people describe
as having a spiritual epiphany. There’s my work and my faith. The rest is just noise and it has no place in my work or my life

Do you have any thoughts on social media and cancel culture?
No. People can do whatever they want. It’s your time on earth, you’ll never have that time again. So do what you want. I am only on Instagram. My management run the other stuff but I like Instagram because I can sort of make it into a musical art museum. I think Andy Warhol would have been into Instagram. It’s kind of pop art-ish.

I’m a sober person. I’m in recovery and I work this program that kind of puts an emphasis on empathy. Empath is a not a spectator thing. You have it or you don’t. I’m in no position to tell anybody want to think or do that’s not my business.

Once your upcoming tour wraps up, what's next on the agenda for you, Ryan?
You’ll have to ask me that day. I do it one day at a time these days. One song at a time.