Separating The Art From The Artist

(This blog is about Scottish music, but I felt it was important to do a post on the recent abuse allegations against one of my favourite artists, Ryan Adams.)

I’d say I’ve listened to Ryan Adams at least 3 times a week for the past 3 years. He’s one of my favourite artists and songwriters. But I’ve spent the past 2 days listening to Adams on a private session on Spotify so people can’t see that I’ve been listening to the artist recently accused of emotional abuse and sexual harassment.

Adams has been accused by many as taking an interest in new female singers, then offering to help kick start their careers (Starting your career with one of the most significant singer songwriters of the 21st century behind you isn’t a bad way to start, where could it go wrong?) and then he would move in on them. Flirty texts and a blatant pursuit of sex. If he faced rejection or the fling ended, he’d turn emotionally and verbally abusive and refuse to release the music he’d worked on with whichever female artist that rejected him, leading them on and dangling success in front of them and denying it in some perverted power fantasy. He’s been called controlling and manipulating by his ex-wife and has been described as being a very erratic person. On top of all this, the FBI are investigating claims he had been texting a 14-year-old girl and exposed himself to her over skype.

People shouldn’t have to stop listening to the music they love at the fault of the artists. This behaviour and these situations should not be happening. Artists should not be using their power to their advantage with sex. This story is consistent, it’s heart-breaking, and it’s happened too many times.

Ryan Adams vomits back up one of the longest running moral debate in music. Can you separate the art from the artist? Does the artist deserve for you to still listen to and support the music? Is it enough of a revolt to just stopping listening to the artist or should we all be doing more?

Photo by: Laura Mussleman

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