Some of the best songs are written during turbulent times. In Bryan Adam's case, the fear of losing his parents to illness inspired album Shine A Light.
"I’ve been in New York City for the past couple of years, on and off, co-writing Pretty Woman: The Musical and then flying off around the world to tour," the Canadian singer-songwriter tells Weekender.
"During that time I had parked a few ideas for an album and reflected on some of my older songs. However last year was a most difficult time for me, personally. I thought I was going to lose my parents last summer and I did indeed lose my Dad. My Mum is still going strong at 91. So the idea of Shine A Light was written as a tribute to them."
I wish I could have them on the road with me all the time, but it’s tough when school is involved.Bryan Adams
Shine A Light was released on March 1 through Polydor Records. A single of the same name, released in January, was co-written with Ed Sheeran and is the first track on the album.
"I met Ed last year in Dublin we kept in touch. Then one day I played him my idea for the song and he helped me finish it. We wrote it over email and FaceTime," Adams says.
"I also enlisted JLo [Jennifer Lopez] to sing on That’s How Strong Our Love Is. Working with Jennifer was a dream; our voices sound amazing together."
Adams is proud of the 12-track album (his 14th to date) and reckons it has "a good blend of rock and pop and R'n'B". His hit singles are too numerous to mention but include Summer of ’69, (Everything I Do), I Do It For You, Heaven, The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me, Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven, When You're Gone, Run To You and his Rod Stewart and Sting collaboration All For Love.
Unsurprisingly, Adams has sold more than 65 million records worldwide and a string of awards. His songs have a timeless quality and typically pull at the heart strings. Is this something he sets out to do or does it just come naturally?
"There is no formula - I wish there was," Adams replies. "I come from the school of rock music - that you need to mean it if you say it - so I’ve always tried to do just that with the production of the music."
After 40 years in the game he enjoys a challenge - and Adams met his match by writing scores for musicals and films.
"It’s easier than writing for yourself in some ways as you have a narrative to work from, so it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle - you just need to find the right pieces to move the story forward. As a songwriter, though, it’s been my greatest challenge, next to writing for films."
Touring remains a priority, even with his two young daughters to partner Alicia Grimaldi to consider. The notoriously private Adams became a first-time father at the age of 51.
"I wish I could have them on the road with me all the time, but it’s tough when school is involved," he says.
"But yes, touring is a buzz, especially the way I do it - we travel the world 10 days a month, work straight through, and then go home. One day my family will travel with me."
Adams last performed at Bimbadgen in the Hunter Valley in 2016. He is bringing the same band with him on his Shine A Light tour - with the addition of Sol Walker on bass, who "used to play with Morrissey".
"The show is all the songs you know and love plus a few new ones from the new album," Adams says.
As for fellow Canadian up-and-coming talent, Adams has this to say: "There seems to be a cascade of music coming from Canada since Drake kicked open the R'n'B door in Toronto, but also for artists like Alessia Cara or bands like The Sheepdogs. We’re rocking it at the moment."