In a rare comment on his personal life, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens posted a lengthy message on social media dedicating his new album. Speartoday to his late partner Evans Richardson, chief of staff of the Studio Museum in Harlem who died on April 30 at the age of 43.
“This album is dedicated to the light of my life, my beloved partner and best friend Evans Richardson, who passed away in April,” Stevens wrote (see Instagram post below). “He was an absolute gem of a person, full of life, love, laughter, curiosity, integrity and joy. He was one of those rare, beautiful people you only find once in a lifetime – precious, flawless, and absolutely exceptional in every way.”
Stevens’ new album chronicles the loss of a romantic relationship, with the single “So You Are Tired” alluding to a long-term relationship (“You’re tired of us / So lay your head down / Go back fourteen years / Of what I did and said”).
The social media dedication represents a rare, and perhaps unique, declaration by the intensely private Stevens about the subject of his romantic life, a shift from reticence that has led to significant speculation over the years by fans and music reviewers alike. Stevens, who first gained attention on the indie music circuit in the 1990s and had a hit with 2005’s “Chicago,” has typically declined to discuss his personal life in interviews, though he spoke candidly about his strained relationship with his mother after his engagement. Her death in the 2015 album Carrie and Lowell.
“I know relationships can be very difficult sometimes, but it’s always worth putting in the hard work and caring for the people you love, especially the beautiful ones, who are few and far between,” he wrote in his blog today. “If you find that kind of love, keep it close to you,” he wrote in his blog today. And hold on tight to it, savor it, care for it, and give it everything you have, especially in times of trouble. Be kind, be strong, be patient, be tolerant, be strong, be wise, and be yourself. Live each day as if it were your last, with fullness and grace “With reverence and love, with gratitude and joy. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and rejoice in it.”
Last month, Stevens revealed that he had been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and was learning to walk again after the neurological disorder left him unable to move. After being hospitalized for two weeks, he was transferred to the acute rehabilitation ward. He wrote in a blog post yesterday that he will be released from the facility today and will continue outpatient treatment.
Richardson’s cause of death has not been revealed.
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