Published Feb 14, 2019Phoebe Bridgers was one of several women who went on-record with the New York Times in an exposé that revealed a troubling pattern of controlling behaviour and emotional abuse by Ryan Adams yesterday (February 13).
In the Times piece, Bridgers recounted the influence that Adams held when she first went to his studio in 2014 at the age of 20, saying, "It seemed like he had the power to propel people forward."
In January 2018, Exclaim! spoke to Bridgers ahead of her North American tour, and at that time, she also discussed her working relationship with Adams.
Bridgers explained that she met Adams through a mutual friend who hung out at Adams' Pax-AM Studio a lot, and that friend pushed to introduce her music to him.
According to Bridgers, Adams' response was, "Okay, you can bring her over, but [first] send me a picture." Her friend sent Adams a photo, which Bridgers said, "I've given him endless shit for."
"I didn't know this was happening, but I guess I passed the 'attractiveness level test' for him to be able to record me," Bridgers told Exclaim! "We didn't go over with the intention of recording, but we did end up recording the next day. I appreciate Ryan, but that was bullshit to find out later."
As Bridgers explained, she later agreed to open for Adams on tour and eventually confronted him about the photo incident.
"We toured together and I consider him a friend, but I also did once yell at him about this and was like, 'This is how you move through the world?'" she said. "He's a confusing person talking about that kind of stuff. I think that overall Ryan's a good person, I can't even remember what he said to me, he probably babbled at me, but he definitely listened. He let me talk."
She added, "Nobody's one thing. We had a great time on tour last year. On women's day he gave all the women on tour swords."
In the recent Times piece, Bridgers elaborated on her relationship with Adams, admitting that there had been a romance between them, but that he almost immediately began to be emotionally abusive — "barraging her with texts, insisting that she prove her whereabouts, or leave social situations to have phone sex, and threatening suicide if she didn't reply immediately."
When she ended the relationship, he reportedly retaliated by blocking professional opportunities for her — becoming "evasive" about putting out her music and taking back an offer to tour together.
When she did agree to tour with him in 2017, Bridgers said in the Times piece that on the first day of tour, Adams asked her to bring something to him in his hotel room, and when she arrived, he was completely nude.
In the Times story, Adams' ex-wife Mandy Moore, singer-songwriter Courtney Jay and two anonymous singer-songwriters also accused Adams of manipulative and controlling behaviour, especially when it came to their musical careers.
Another woman, known simply as Ava, alleged that Adams engaged in sexually explicit text messages and Skype videos with her when she was 15 and 16. They never met in person.
Adams has denied all allegations made in the New York Times piece.