Who’dve thought that the descendant of a couple from Valletta would go on to write and perform some of the greatest rock anthems and love songs of the 80s and 90s. As he tours the world playing to audiences who know so well his distinct roaring vocals and killer guitar riffs, we had the privilege and honour of catching up with Bryan Adams, where we got to reminisce on the fantastic concert he had given us back in 2007.
Who is Bryan Adams in the eyes of Bryan Adams?
I’m kind of the guy that spins plates at a circus. At least, that’s how it feels sometimes with so much going on.
It all kicked off in 1983 with Cuts Like A Knife. How did the young musician from Canada take to fame at this early stage?
I was never interested in fame. Music was an escape from reality, and an escape from school. At the time, Canada was a good place to start from, because there were plenty of places to play as a young musician. That’s all changed now, but it’s still a place that strongly supports the arts. I’m proud of that.
You’ve made momentous waves as a recording artist, but your live performances are renowned for their crowd-rousing energy. As a performer, do you feel more at home onstage or at the studio?
Thanks very much! You need a balance of things in order to continue to be creative, so I divide my time as equally as I can between all the things I love to do.
Who’ve been your musical influences over the years?
Anything with loud guitars and killer vocals!
You’ve collaborated with some great musicians throughout your career – from Sting to Tina Turner to Pavarotti. If you could create a line up of artists for a concert, who would they be and why?
That would have to be The Village People and Metallica double bill, you could disco dance and headbang all in the same day.
You’ve also set the soundtracks to some iconic movies such as Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, Don Juan DeMarco and Spirit. How did the narration of these stories inspire the music?
The stories completely dictated the lyric. I’d read the script, knuckle down and come up with ideas that would make the story move along. I’m currently working with Jim Vallance on a musical based on Pretty Woman for Broadway in 2018. It’s the same process writing for that; the story dictates the direction of the songs.
You’re also an established photographer in your own right. Do your two mediums overlap or complement each other in your creative process?
They do, especially when it’s time for a new album. But this gets back to your first question, and about splitting time up equally so that one benefits the other. Music and photography are intrinsically intertwined, although it’s usually the music that inspires the picture, not the other way around.
Above: Get Up is the thirteenth studio album by Bryan Adams
What is the overall intention with your music and photography? What do you as an artist seek to capture or provoke?
I just love the idea of creating something from nothing. All it costs me is time…
Where do you think music is heading at the moment?
Can I quote Hunter S. Thompson? “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” I think that about sums it up!
Almost a decade ago, Malta had the pleasure of watching you live in concert at the Luxol Grounds. This is when we also got to find out about your Maltese heritage. Had this also been a surprise to you, or were you already aware of this?
Thanks, that was a wonderful experience. My whole family knows about Malta, as my grandparents used to live in Valletta. I’m really proud to have Maltese blood in me, and I loved my grandparents very much and I miss them everyday.
You’ve toured all over the world and back again. What could you tell from the Mediterranean audience that greeted you on the island?
It was an unexpected response. I had no idea what the reaction would be. I would like to say that Malta is a beautiful place. I hope it holds on to its charm forever. And as someone that values the environment very much, it’s disappointing to read stories about Malta’s bird killing escapades. Hopefully the government will put a stop to that barbarism one day.