I would like to begin this post with a question…
WHO IS READY FOR ADAM TO ROCK OUT AMERICAN IDOL TONITE AND TOMORROW???
Ok, re-group and pay attention. This article is from Beatweek Magazine, written by Bill Palmer, and is a great read. It may just be my personal fascination with the song, but I love when he talks about If I Had You…
Adam Lambert: the Beatweek interview:
Who says you can’t go home again? Back from traveling around the world to promote his debut album For Your Entertainment, Adam Lambert is revisiting his old stomping grounds this week as he gears up for the role of contestant mentor on tonight’s episode of American Idol. In our Beatweek cover story interview, Adam talks about why he’s chosen to release the singles that he has, why he’s never turned his back on Idol, what went into his Remixes EP and VH1 Unplugged performance which both surfaced this week, what we can learn from his friendly relationship with Kris Allen, and what he’s got on tap for that U.S. summer tour that his fans have been clamoring for in our cover story interview for Beatweek Magazine’s 69th issue, released today.
You’ve been all over the world lately. You were in Japan, and now Canada?
~It’s non stop. It’s a rollercoaster [laughs]
And yet you were home just in time for the earthquake.
~That’s true, yes. I had that day off. I had a wonderful lunch that day. It was like two Mimosas in, and I thought “Is this a really strong Mimosa or am I tripping?”
When you were putting together the album, did you have a sense that Whataya Want From Me was going to be a big hit, or did that surprise you?
~No, actually it was kind of a consensus that it would be well received on radio and that people would like it. It’s real catchy. When I finally heard the first demo, I thought the production was, I was like ooh God, it sounds just beautiful, just the quality of the way that the vocals were mixed, and the beats and the keyboards and everything, and I knew it would be great. So yeah it was definitely something that we knew.
I think the reason that we went with the first single, For Your Entertainment, is I just wanted to do something a little unexpected, and Whataya Want From Me is a little bit more straight ahead, you know? In some respects it has a little bit more mass appeal, but [laughs] it has its positives and its negatives. But I’m kind of subversive and contrary by nature, so it’s like “I want to do what people don’t think I’m gonna do.” It’s more entertaining, you know?
~For Your Entertainment was something that I didn’t think anybody would expect, and it’s not your typical kind of Idol first single, so I wanted to just do something a little different.
When you listen to Whataya Want From Me it seems like there’s two ways the lyrics could be interpreted, you talking to someone you’re in a relationship with, or maybe you talking to your whole fanbase or the whole world. Is there validity to both those interpretations?
~You know, actually I think there is validity there. I think that when I first heard the song, I thought automatically, it’s just about a relationship, that’s usually what songs like that are written about. And I thought it was beautiful, because I thought the way in which it’s talking about it is so universal, like we’ve all felt, you know what I mean, at one time or another, in some way, and so I was really into it.
~And then the more and more I started thinking about it, right after the whole AMA debacle, and I was getting a lot of backlash for that, the first song that we wanted to perform was Whataya Want From Me, as almost a response. It was kind of unintentional, but when I realized that that’s what I was singing, after dealing with all that and having interviews about “Why, why did you do that, what were you thinking?” You know, I thought Whataya Want From Me, wow, that really fits. It really fits the tone of where I’m at right now. So I thought that was kind of cool. It plugged into me addressing the media and the public. And so with the video, we definitely tried to kind of show both angles of that.
For half the video you’re not wearing a lot of makeup, your hair is combed down. It seemed like you were trying to show a vulnerable side of yourself.
~It always comes down to the song for me. I think that was kind of evident on Idol. It’s like if the song was crazy and over the top and fun and playful, I dressed accordingly, you know what I mean? But if the song is more emotional and more vulnerable, obviously, having eight tons of eyeshadow on isn’t really the right fit [laughs].
You’ve got a remix album coming out. When people start remixing your songs, how hands-on are you with that?
~There were a couple of remixers that I actually really wanted to work with. Both Brad Walsh and Fonzarelli were people that I had been in touch with. So those were people that I kind of wanted to bring to the table, and then the label brought the other two guys, Bimbo Jones and Jason Nevins. And they’re both such great remixers, so I was really excited about the collection of DJs we had.
You also just did VH1 Unplugged. There’s such intricate production on so much of your album. How much of a challenge was it to rework and strip down your songs?
~It’s funny, because certain songs work really well acoustically, based on, like, the melody or the style of the song – and then certain songs on the album really just don’t work acoustically. Some songs on the album are very melodically driven and lyrically driven, and then there’s other ones that are more about a groove, they’re more about a style, a sound, and an energy. So the ones that I’m doing acoustically are the ones that I felt were stronger in that regard, melodically, and not necessarily like dance songs. You couldn’t really do For Your Entertainment acoustically. It didn’t quite translate. It’s more of a club song.
Why did you choose If I Had You for your next single?
~What I like about it is I think it’s really high energy, I think it’ll get people dancing, it’s really great for the summer. I love the blend of pop and rock on it. I definitely think the verses have this kind of great pop dance beat kind of feel, but then you hit the chorus, and even more so in the bridge, we have all these guitars and all this kind of indie guitar thing going on underneath it, so it’s kind of a blend of two different styles, which I love.
~And I like the sentiment. I like what it’s saying. I think it’s a positive message, and I think that we have a lot of music right now that’s really fierce and sexy and fun and dramatic, but I just thought I did that with For Your Entertainment, and then with Whataya Want From Me it’s a little bit emo, a little bit kind of emotive and reflective, and I thought for my third single, it would be good to do something joyful and positive. And basically the theme of the song, as I’m sure you could kind of find in the lyric, is that no matter how much my lifestyle is fabulous, no matter how much money I’m making, no matter how much I’m traveling, if I don’t have a connection with somebody, or with people in general, it’s worthless. I really think it’s a great message. I think that’s something that needs to be reinforced, is that in this age of pop escapism, love kind of still needs to remain at the center of everything.
A lot of people, once they’re done with Idol, they don’t want to ever go near it again because they just want to sink or swim on their own and be out of the shadow. But I guess you don’t feel that way, since you’re going back.
~I definitely don’t feel that way. I think Idol’s amazing. It’s a phenomenon. As an artist, that’s the reason why I wanted to audition is because of the type of exposure you could get and how you get to challenge yourself every week to try to make a song your own, and to show what you can do. And I think that if it weren’t for Idol, I have strong doubts that I would have ever been signed to a record label, first of all. I just think I was a little too left of center for a typical record executive to probably look at it and go, “Oh, that guy, let’s hire him, let’s sign him” [laughs].
~I think with Idol, I owe everything that’s happened thus far to Idol and to the audience that supported me on it. So I love the idea of going back and kind of getting to perform my hit single on there and giving everybody a show. And then when they asked me to be a mentor I thought ‘cool, that sounds great.’ When I watched the past couple of years before auditioning for it, I always had ideas, I always had my own kind of opinions about the contestants. My friends and I at Wicked would sit backstage and argue about which one was the best one and why. I’m a pretty opinionated guy, so I think it’ll be really fun. I also had some experience last year during the show helping some of the other contestants, just bouncing ideas. So I think it’s something that I want to do to try to just help, you know?
This whole country is so divided right now in so many different ways, and yet I looked at Idol last season and I see these two guys who were complete stereotypical opposites, the small town churchgoer, the homosexual from SoCal, and I always thought the way that you and Kris showed solidarity and unity was a model that the rest of us could learn something from. Am I reading too much into that?
~That’s a wonderful compliment, and I feel like I hope people could see that, and kind of be inspired by that, because it really shouldn’t frickin’ matter what your background is, what your religion is, what your sexuality is, what your color of your skin is. It’s like we should focus on our similarities as opposed to our differences and learn how to coexist. Kris and I were very different, but we get along great because we were both willing and wanted to and had the desire to get along.
I know it’s way too early to be talking about your next album in any kind of detail, but after going through the whole process of making this album and releasing it, have you had any general thoughts about things you’ll do the same or things you’ll do differently on future records?
~I kind of think it’s still a bit too early to tell, to be honest with you. I definitely have people that I want to work with still, and people that I would work with again. I don’t know, I think it’s too early to tell. And that’s something too, is that we’ve just come back from the month long international promo to get the album out around the world, and that’s gonna interpret a lot of what I do next too, you know, cause now the album now is an international album and it’s reaching beyond just our country. So I have to kind of keep all of it in mind.
Your Twitter bio says “prepping for North American summer tour” – are there any more details you can share on that yet?
~It’s still kind of all under wraps. I’m kind of coming up with ideas creatively, and the dates are all kind of tentative or being confirmed, that’s why I haven’t announced them yet. It’s gonna be pretty extensive though, as far as how many dates we’re going. And as far as I’m concerned, they aren’t necessarily arenas, but I’m gonna pull out all the stops for the production values as best I can. I think I’m gonna try to make it theatrical, environmental, and interactive, something that people who know the album will love, but then people who don’t know the album will really enjoy it as well. I think it’s gonna be something that’s really atmospheric