Sufjan Stevens marked the release of his new album Friday with a rare moment of insight into his private life.
In an emotional Instagram post, the Grammy- and Oscar-nominated musician dedicated “Javelin,” his 10th studio album, to his late partner, Evans Richardson IV.
“He was an absolute gem of a person, full of life, love, laughter, curiosity, integrity, and joy,” Stevens wrote of Richardson, who died in April at age 43. “He was one of those rare and beautiful ones you find only once in a lifetime —precious, impeccable, and absolutely exceptional in every way.”
He continued: “I know relationships can be very difficult sometimes, but it’s always worth it to put in the hard work and care for the ones you love, especially the beautiful ones, who are few and far between. If you happen to find that kind of love, hold it close, hold it tight, savor it, tend to it, and give it everything you’ve got, especially in times of trouble.”
Richardson was chief of staff at New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem.
The Michigan native’s sexuality has been the subject of fan speculation for some time. In 2017, three of his songs were featured on the soundtrack of the gay-themed romantic drama “Call Me by Your Name,” starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.
Roughly two years after that, he unveiled a pair of songs, “Love Yourself” and “With My Whole Heart,” in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month. Proceeds from the sales of those songs ― along with accompanying merchandise including a Pride-themed T-shirt ― benefited the Ali Forney Center, a New York-based advocacy group for homeless LGBTQ youth.
The release of “Javelin” comes at a challenging time for Stevens. Last month, he revealed that he’d been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological condition that landed him in the hospital for several weeks and had affected his ability to walk. Fortunately, he said, a full recovery was expected.
Early reviews of “Javelin” have been near-unanimous raves.