Bryan Adams at 62: Charting the Canadian Rock Icon’s Post-Lockdown Return With a New Album, Tour and a Vegan Startup
In addition to his rock stardom, Adams is a celebrated photographer who's shot numerous Canadian icons and other global stars for Zoomer — a selection of which you can view by clicking "View Gallery" on his self-portrait above. Photo: Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams celebrates his 62nd birthday on Nov. 5 — less than a week after being forced to duck out of his performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony after testing positive for COVID-19. Via a Halloween Instagram post, Adams confirmed he was symptom free, thanked fans for the well wishes and assured them that he and his daughter Bunny, who also tested positive for the virus, were doing well.
Then, just three days later, he appeared in great spirits in a quick Instagram video, signing copies of his upcoming 2022 album So Happy It Hurts.
And, fortunately, the Canuck rocker will have plenty of opportunities to get back on stage and in front of fans in the near future.
On Nov. 10, Adams kicks off a six-show residency in Las Vegas before hitting the stage at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena for his Bryan Adams New Year’s Eve Party. That concert, which organizers have billed as “the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in Vancouver in decades,” will see him perform alongside bands 54-40 and Mother Mother.
From there, Adams heads out on a European tour at the end of January to promote So Happy it Hurts, which drops in March.
However, while Adams is hitting the road as the world opens up again, the stillness of pandemic lockdown offered an element of inspiration for his upcoming disc.
“The pandemic and lockdown really brought home the truth that spontaneity can be taken away,” said Adams in a statement about the new album. “Suddenly all touring stopped, no one could jump in the car and go. The title song “So Happy It Hurts” is about freedom, autonomy, spontaneity, and the thrill of the open road. The album of the same name touches on many of the ephemeral things in life that are really the secret to happiness, most importantly, human connection.”
Adams’ recently-released music video for the title track certainly captures that spontaneity and euphoric freedom, with the rocker belting out the tune in the driver’s seat of a convertible while joined by a variety of passengers — from a head banging rock band to drag queens — packed into his backseat. The “Summer of 69″ singer even sneaks in a nod to the pandemic lockdown that helped prompt the tune when he and a group of cheerleaders don face masks as he sings: ‘I’m so glad it’s outrageous, you know I think it’s contagious, this stupid grin on my face.”
Of course, the pandemic itself didn’t stop Adams from entertaining his fans. In the early going of the global crisis he took song requests from social media followers as part of a daily Instagram concert series and joined fellow Canadian musicians and entertainers as part of the nationwide Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble isolation concert in May 2020.
That same year, he used some of his newly-found free time to collect trash from the ocean, sharing a photo of himself holding bags full of rubbish with the caption: “Makin myself useful until the day musicians can go back to work.”
Beyond the Music
In addition, Adams, a celebrated photographer who’s shot numerous Canadian icons and other global stars for Zoomer — you can view a collection of them by clicking the photo at the top of this page — isn’t letting the pandemic put a cap on his lens either.
In August, he shot A-list musicians like Cher, Iggy Pop and Jennifer Hudson for the 2022 Pirelli calendar. In the absence of live performances and world tours, Adams photographed each subject as if they were on tour, placing them in different scenarios from waking up in a hotel room to travelling on a tour bus.
“What was apparent, because of COVID, was that nobody was working,” Adams told The Guardian of the concept. “All the musicians globally had basically come to a halt so I suggested to Pirelli that we do a feature ‘on the road’ because it was the one thing we couldn’t do.”
Meanwhile, Adams, a dedicated vegan for more than 30 years, hasn’t been shy about extolling the virtues of the lifestyle in interviews and on social media. And now, he’s taking a more business-oriented approach to spreading the vegan gospel. Recently, he partnered with bettermoo(d), a Vancouver startup that develops a gluten, lactose and dairy-free, plant-based milk alternative called Moodrink. They also plan on developing other dairy alternatives.
“Fostering responsible eating habits, such as choosing plant-based dairy alternatives, is something that we can all do to help lessen animal cruelty and help our environment,” Adams said in a statement announcing the partnership.
If that’s not enough to coax you to the vegan side, Adams is also convinced that both his good health and youthful appearance are owed to the plant-based diet.
“I’d love to see a comparison photo of me if I hadn’t taken this path. My guess is I’d be a lot heavier and perhaps I’d have gone grey,” he told the Mirror in a 2019 interview. “Oddly at 60, neither have happened, and I can only attribute that to what I’ve been ingesting.”
Of course, when it comes to finding the energy to perform over 60 live shows between now and the end of July 2022, there’s no replacement for the intense passion that fuels this Canadian icon.
“I don’t sit and think about how I’m going to make myself rock in my old age,” Adams told Zoomer in a 2014 cover story. “I’m grateful and I love singing and I’m going to carry on doing it as long as people like it and as long as I’m loving it, too.”
Click through the slideshow at the top of this post to see a selection of the luminaries that Adams has photographed for Zoomer.