From rags to riches... It’s a real cliché but Bryan Adams, Canada’s most successful artist of the past 50 years, genuinely did work as a dishwasher for a whole year. “Even then, I knew that this wasn’t what I was going to do for the rest of my life. While I was working, I went to singing castings and I got the job every time.” It’s little wonder. Bryan has one of the most distinctive voices in music history. It’s no coincidence that his songs have featured in some of the most precious moments in the lives of his fans, whether it was Summer of `69 playing at a wedding party or (Everything I Do) I Do It For You accompanying some of their saddest moments.
Bryan is now celebrating the fifth decade of his career. And he has had a partner at his side the whole way through: “I have always used Neumann and Sennheiser microphones over the years. I remember doing a test with Bob Clearmountain years ago to see which studio microphone best suited my voice. We put them all in a row, and the winner was the Neumann U87.”
His relationship with his microphone is not the only constant in Bryan’s life. In addition to his music career, he has been a successful photographer for years. He features in regular exhibitions and illustrated books and he has even captured a portrait of the Queen. His series of works Wounded – The Legacy of War, in which he portrays young British soldiers who have returned home from Iraq or Afghanistan with severe injuries, has received political acclaim. There is one thing we want to know: Are there any similarities between his songwriting and his approach to portrait photography? “That’s for you to decide,” he says, “but yes, essentially the processes are the same: You start with nothing and at the end of the day you have created something new.”
You might think that after all his successes as a musician and photographer, Bryan Adams would simply be happy to sit back and relax. But Bryan quickly realized that this world could benefit from his political and social commitment. He has donated earnings from his concerts to many charitable organizations that help socially disadvantaged people. He does not shy away from expressing himself politically. One topic that is particularly close to his heart is animal welfare. When we ask him what we can all do to make a change, he doesn’t hesitate: “Just take a look at what is happening with the recent coronavirus—it all started with an animal market in China. What will it take for people to understand that we simply cannot keep animals in this way and that we have to stay out of their lives. It’s no wonder that we are getting more and more global epidemics such as bird flu and mad cow disease.” For Bryan, who has not eaten meat since the 1980s and now follows a vegan diet, there is only one possible answer to our question: “Become vegan.”