Ryan Adams, the singer-songwriter who has been largely persona non grata in the music business since multiple women alleged abuse beginning in early 2019, has taken to Instagram to beg record labels for “a second chance to make some music,” saying he is “scared” he will lose his home, his studio and his indie label in the coming months.
The desperate tone in Adams’ Instagram posts has been evident for weeks, but came to a head in messages he posted early Tuesday, in which he said he expected to be homeless soon and implored labels to “help other people believe you can get up out of the gutter” by helping him release music.
“I know I’m damaged goods,” he wrote. “I know I am and they aren’t the ideal thing, but I had a label interested for months and they wasted my time. I’m months from losing my label, studio and my home. I just really want a second chance to make some music — maybe help other people believe you can get up out of the gutter and be something. I’m 46 and scared I’m gonna be living in my sisters basement. If you are a label and interested please let me know. Sent with love and humility. I already got dropped by Capitol twice. Maybe someone still cares.” Another post read, “Please if someone takes a chance on me and this music I’ll bust my ass to support it. Sorry to sound desperate.”
These latest messages follow a post earlier in July (since deleted, but captured in screen shots) in which he spoke about his cat dying and lamented, “I have no record deal. I’m kinda broke. I have no friends…”
Adams’ release schedule of late has actually not been that light. On his own PAX AM independent label, he has released two albums in the last eight months — “Wednesdays” in December, and “Big Colors” in June — both of which had been scheduled to come out on Blue Note/Capitol before he got dropped. These two recent releases charted in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands but failed to chart in America or the U.K.
Adams faces a limit to the sympathetic ears on which his pleas will fall, given his status as one of the music industry’s foremost emblems of #MeToo after a New York Times investigative report published Feb. 19, 2019, and other tales that followed. Among those speaking to the Times then was his former wife, Mandy Moore, and singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers. Although the stories women told about Adams differed, a commonality among several was that he would pursue romantic and sexual relationships with female artists he produced or promised to produce, then grow emotionally abusive or disappear and put a halt on projects. (Adams was also revealed by the Times to be under investigation by the FBI for a sexually explicit online relationship with a minor. His reps maintained he did not know the girl was underage; in January 2021 the New York Post’s Page Six quoted a source as saying the FBI had closed the investigation with no charges filed in late 2019.)
In July 2020, Adams wrote an open apology letter, without addressing any allegations. “There are no words to express how bad I feel about the ways I’ve mistreated people throughout my life and career,” he wrote a year ago. “All I can say is that I’m sorry. It’s that simple. This period of isolation and reflection made me realize that I needed to make significant changes in my life. … That being said, no amount of growth will ever take away the suffering I had caused. I will never be off the hook and I am fully accountable for my harmful behavior, and will be for my actions moving forward.” Moore and another artist who’d said she had a “traumatizing experience” with Adams, Karen Elson, both responded by saying that Adams would be better off starting with private amends instead of making a blanket apology.
In Tuesday’s posts, Adams has used Instagram to name some of the many famously unreleased albums from his vault that he would like an outside label’s help in releasing and promoting, on top of newly recorded projects. “Any labels, I have Blackhole, Exile on Meryl Streep and TWO new albums ready to go. Also the CHRIS double LP,” he wrote.
The chronology of what Adams is trying to pitch record labels on in his posts is confusing. In a 2014 NPR story, Adams spoke about the “Blackhole” album, which then looked imminent for release; it was described as dating back to before 2007 and was described as “the last record I made when I was on drugs.” However, in his new posts, Adams describes “Blackhole” by saying, “I wrote this album when I knew it was inevitable I would get divorced,” and he included lyrics and a sound file describing a marriage in crisis. Adams and Moore did not even marry until 2009 and divorced in 2016, rendering the conflicting timelines for the project somewhat puzzling.
In other posts in early July, he posted photos of the jacket art for some of his most-loved past albums, saying they were “for sale.” With certain caveats; of “Cold Roses,” he added, “if you can get the masters… good luck.”
Although many of Adams’ supporters have cut their fandom loose in the wake of the scandal, some have held on, offering support or advice in his Instagram comments. Several have suggested he find a more practical new model for releasing his music to still-hardcore fans, like crowdsourcing, subscriptions or Patreon, to which the singer has not offered a response.
Adams is also publicly soliciting book publishers on Instagram. “Anybody who makes coffee table books out there who wants to take all these notebooks and do something?” he wrote. “Looking for a book company that wants to take my handwritten lyrics from all my songs into a book (maybe offer an unreleased album inside — Blackhole)?”
Adams has not done any public concerts that are registered on setlists.fm since headlining Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre in June 2018.
“I don’t have my old master tapes or recordings (they don’t care/answer my people),” he wrote in the deleted early July post, “SO….if ANYBODY CAN HELP ME…please. I would love to make albums. Or just own a home (I don’t own a home). This is stupid. I miss Theo. I’m mad. I’ve had enough.”