How Ryan Adams' Mandy Moore Breakup Inspired His Taylor Swift '1989' Cover Album

by Sophie Schillaci 3:45 PM PDT, September 21, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

It’s true, what they say: tragedy does inspire incredible art.

While Ryan Adams' and Mandy Moore's marriage crumbled, the iconic singer-songwriter apparently began channeling his heartbreak into what would eventually become his acclaimed cover version of Taylor Swift's 1989.

NEWS: Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore Split

In a new interview with Beats 1 radio host Zane Lowe, Adams recalls the project's catalyst.

"This idea had existed since sometime around my birthday last year," he said (Adams turned 40 last November). "I was going through a difficult time in my life and by the time Christmas was rolling around, it was the first real time I was gonna be back in Los Angeles during the holidays, basically alone, on my own."

While not delving deeper into specifics, Adams and his wife of nearly six years, Moore, would just weeks later announce that they had filed for divorce. In a joint statement to ET, reps for the former couple said: "It is a respectful, amicable parting of ways. Both Ryan and Mandy ask that the media respect their privacy at this time."

In his latest interview, Ryan recalled purchasing a four-track cassette recorder and teaching himself to play covers of several 1989 tracks. "I was totally bummed out," he said of that time period.

WATCH: Everyone Is Freaking Out About Ryan Adams' Amazing '1989' Cover Album

Adams seemed to be feeling downright jovial on Monday, and why shouldn't he? Fans and critics alike can't stop raving about the record -- and even Ms. Swift herself is promoting it like crazy. The 25-year-old called in to surprise Adams during his interview and revealed that her favorite tracks are "Blank Space" and "How You Get the Girl."

"The album is absolutely gorgeous and you can tell it was something that was well thought out. You can tell it was something that was conceptualized, it was not thrown together," she said.

"They're not cover songs. They're re-imaginings of my songs, and you can tell that he was in a very different place emotionally when he put his spin on them than I was when I wrote them," Swift continued. "There's this beautiful aching sadness and longing in this album that doesn't exist in the original."

Swift admitted that certain aspects from Adams' versions have begun creeping into her own performances on the 1989 Tour, and that the pair had once joined forces on a past writing session. But could we see another collaboration between Swift and Adams in the future?

"I'm open to anything, honestly," Swift said. "I've been such a huge fan of Ryan and what he stands for and his music, it's kinda been mile markers on my life, his music. I'm open to anything collaborative."

NEWS: Ryan Adams Finally Succumbed to Covering Bryan Adams 

For his part, Adams couldn't say enough good things about his muse. Listen to the full interview here.

Interestingly, Adams also revealed that he's already completed his next album -- a two-part LP -- which was recorded blocks from his old apartment in New York just before he began work on covering 1989. The emotion he poured into the latter, he explained, was left over from the intensity he felt while making his not-yet-released record.

"It's probably, I think the most fragile thing I ever did," he confessed. "I think it will replace Love Is Hell for a deep fan as, like, this is the stuff."

Adams did not reveal a release date for his next album but in the meantime, get a taste of 1989 in the player below.