Adam Lambert – The Ultimate Interview: Part Two

Here is the second part of Adam Lambert: The Ultimate Interview. I love the way Adam candidly reveals his feelings about his career progression, the offstage experiences, and makes us privy to the ins and outs of how things run. We don’t often hear anything but what the top brass wants us to know, and in this interview Adam gives us the dirt.

In Part Two of this four-part interview with Adam Lambert, the “Idol” runner-up discusses his early experiences in show business and the experience of hanging out with Val Kilmer when they appeared in “The Ten Commandments” together.

 Your first job was working on a cruise line when you were 19. Which cruise line?

Holland America. That was through Anita Mann Productions. Usually their leads were older guys, like leading men. And they had one guy they had to get rid of at the last minute. They needed somebody and I went in there and auditioned. I was so green. I had no idea what I was doing, but Anita really liked my voice. She said, “You can sing. You’re going to play the lead part.” Everybody else in the cast was looking at me like, “He’s going to be the lead? He’s 19.” So it was a tough situation. We were rehearsing and I didn’t know what was going on. It was totally over my head. She’s saying, “Just imagine that person will be there, that person will be there and that person will be there.” It was fast. It was overwhelming. It was the most information that I’d ever had to take in and I was not quite confident enough yet to own it. I felt a little intimidated by it. So I got out there on the ship and they weren’t very nice to me and they were really catty. Finally we did the first night’s performance and I kicked ass and they were like, “OK, we’ll leave you alone.” My career thus far has always been about proving myself in these weird moments, and then once I prove myself, people are like, “Oh, OK.” So that was my first job, and I went around the world. I was on the ship for 10 months.

What was it like being away for so long?

Incredible. I saw the world when I was 19 and 20. I was in Russia and Scandinavia and the Mediterranean and then we did the East Coast and we pulled into New York on Sept. 7, [2001], right before Sept. 11. We were doing the tourism thing and when [the attacks] happened, we were up near Nova Scotia and we had to stay out on the water for three days because of security. It was pretty wild, pretty scary. Did that, then did the Caribbean, then went across the Pacific. Hawaii, down into Australia and New Zealand. It was amazing.



You were working at night, so your days were free?

Yes, I got to do a lot of sightseeing and tourist type activities. I really wanted to go live the culture. I wanted the nightlife. I wanted to be able to go and meet young people and go drink.

After 10 months, did you leave the ship?

I came back home and started auditioning again. Did some Civic Light Opera shows in Orange County and here.

And home was Los Angeles at this point?

I came back to L.A. and I was just auditioning for things. A couple Broadway auditions came through. I signed with a manager and she hooked me up with some jobs and then I was cast in a European production of “Hair.” And so I was in Germany for six months, and that was a great experience because I was longing to go back to Europe and really live there. That was a huge turning point for me personally, because I finally got comfortable in my own skin – or started to.

You were also at the right age to become your own person.

Yes, I was about 21, 22, and it was a big eye opener for me. I think anyone who does “Hair” gets really invested in the meaning and the message and the whole community feel of it. I was really close with everybody and there was a lot of discovery and a lot of free-love mentality. I was discovering a lot about myself. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, a lot of it.

How long were you in Germany?

Six months, and it was Berlin, mostly, but then Hamburg and Munich. We went to Italy for a week and performed there. I went to Amsterdam for a week.

Were you performing “Hair” in English?

Most of the time, and then midway through the production, the producer decided that he wanted us to do all the dialogue in German. No one spoke German, so they had a dialogue coach come in and teach us phonetically. No one knew what they were saying and so if someone dropped a line, we’d have to switch to English. It was an absolute disaster, but again, what an experience. I look back on it now and think, “That was crazy.”

Did you have to re-establish yourself every time you came back to California?

I did. I was out of the loop, but it was good for me. I really liked traveling and I don’t like routines. I’m not into the same-old. I like novelty, so I think it was really good for me and it helped me grow.

So up to this point, you hadn’t sung rock, just theatrical songs?

It was mostly theater music at this point. There was one little thing — there was a girl involved with the theater company and I knew her family. Her parents and my parents got along really well. They had similar views. They were really liberal and just wanted to have a good time. They would have parties and we would hang out and everybody would jam and it was all like our parents’ music. That’s how I got into the ’60s and ’70s stuff. Her dad was a classical guitarist and my dad plays the keyboard a little bit. So we would sing the Stones and Dylan and Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix and all that stuff. They really loved the Doors. So I was exposed to all that music. And then, it wasn’t anything serious but we decided to form a band. It was like a little garage band with her dad and her and me and my dad and we wrote some original stuff together and recorded it on a six-track tape deck. We were called the Gutter Rats. Or Vicarious Lives.

How far did you take it?

We never performed. We just did it for ourselves, but it was cool because it was definitely not musical theater. It was definitely very ’70s feeling because of our parents and they were showing us what to do. We had fun.

What other work did you do before you were cast in “Wicked”?

I auditioned for more TV and film projects. I was never fond of the auditioning process. I’d never really considered myself the strongest actor, so I never really went for it. I did a couple more theater things. Did something at Reprise over at UCLA.

What was the Reprise production?

“On the Twentieth Century” with David Lee as the director. He was great. I did a production of “Brigadoon” in Texas at Theatre Under the Stars, so I had my Equity card finally, which felt like I had arrived. I was a professional now. I was getting paid enough money to live on, to really pay my bills, and it was going to lead to more work. I did a production of “110 in the Shade” at the Pasadena Playhouse and then I got cast in “The Ten Commandments” at the Kodak Theatre with Val Kilmer and that was a big turning point for me professionally because I had my own song and I was a character.


Who did you play in “The Ten Commandments”?

Joshua. Everything was copacetic by the end, but in the beginning, I was doing all this promotion for them to get interest built for the show and singing the song everywhere. I was on the Chabad Telethon and I was in love with being a rock star and I was going to rehearsal with nail polish on and eyeliner from the night before, and the director came up to me and said, “Could you take all that off?” and I asked, “Why?” He told me, “The producers are a little uncomfortable with it. They don’t really get it,” and I said, “But we’re not in costume yet. Why does it matter?” He said, “They feel like you’re supposed to be the leader of the Hebrew army by the end of this and they’re really uncomfortable with the way it looks.” And I told him, “This is theater. This is a pop musical. What … is your problem?”

So I faced more opposition, like I did on the cruise ship. It was that same type of thing repeating itself where I felt like they just didn’t believe in me, which was really hard for me. I found out later they had been seeing other people trying to replace me. When the show opened, I was one of the only people that got good reviews, so it was the best victory ever. You were worried about my nail polish and I’m getting better reviews than [others], so that was a big moment for me.

It was interesting hanging out with Val Kilmer because he took a liking to me and a couple other people and we would always go and eat together and we would go hang out at his house and he just really wanted to have a group of friends during this experience. I’ve lost touch with him, but he’s very cool. Eccentric but cool, and it was interesting being in the shadows with him in public. It was my first taste of what it must be like to be a celebrity and have people want your autograph and having people take pictures of you. It was a good eye opener for me, what it must be like to be a celebrity and to be famous.

Fame has its positives and its negatives.

It taught me a lot. I realized Val had to really watch what he said. Then I was kicking around Hollywood … and going to clubs like Hyde and seeing famous people and getting photographed here and there. Right after “Ten Commandments,” I did the Zodiac show, the first one at the Music Box, and I sang “A Change Is Gonna Come” in a full glam-feathered outfit.

The same Sam Cooke song that Simon Fuller chose for you to sing on “American Idol.” Did Simon know that you had performed the song earlier in your career?

I don’t know. We never talked about that, but what was interesting about that was I changed a lyric in it. Instead of “I’m afraid to die,” I sang, “I don’t see what’s wrong with a little glitter around my eyes,” because I wanted the song to be about what I was dealing with on “The Ten Commandments,” this weird, ignorant, “Why are you wearing nail polish?” Like this weird discrimination because I was expressing myself and having people feel uncomfortable with that and then everything tying into my sexuality and just being alternative in any way and wanting the song to be about that. It’s interesting that that came full circle with “Idol.” Really weird and the same issues. Maybe more far-reaching this time and less personal.

And then “Wicked” happened right after the Zodiac show. Toward the end of our run on “Ten Commandments,’ there was an audition for the first national company and the casting director had heard of me because of the reviews for “Ten Commandments.” That really set me up for that. I don’t think I would have gotten hired if it hadn’t been for that. I was hired as an understudy for Fiyero on the national tour and we rehearsed in New York and that was a blast. It was a great moment for me because I felt like I’d finally arrived. Even though it was the tour, it was a Broadway production. It was the highest caliber thing that I had been a part of. “Ten Commandments” wanted to be that and had all this money behind it, but it was a disaster. So this was a successful hit show that I was now a part of and it felt validating to get that job.


You were in the ensemble, so you were on stage every night, even if you didn’t go on as Fiyero.

Oh, yeah. I was an onstage cover. And we rehearsed it in Toronto for about a month before we opened and we ran there for about 2½ months. So I spent time in Toronto and then we went to Chicago. Spent a couple of months there and then here in L.A. a couple months and then San Francisco. And at that point, it was about six months into it and I felt, “I think I’m done,” and I got to this point where I thought, “This is what I’ve been working toward my whole high school career and my early 20s. This has been the goal, Broadway,” and I knew that I could probably go into the New York production the minute a track opened up but I wasn’t satisfied. Probably because I was in the ensemble. I’m not going to lie. It was probably a step down from “The Ten Commandments” situation. Bigger show but not as featured, not as much attention. Not doing what I felt I was supposed to be doing.

How often did you get to play Fiyero?

I went on as Fiyero a couple times and it was really fun. I thought I did well, but it was only a couple times. The guy hardly ever missed. So I dropped out. I thought, “I want to be a rock star.” During “Ten Commandments,” I had a friend who encouraged me to play around with Garage Band and come up with my own stuff, so it all happened at once. I started messing around with the idea of recording. I got really interested in that while I was on the road with “Wicked.”

— Fred Bronson



About Carol

I started writing on this site back in May 2009, not knowing what I was in for or where it would take me. I had no idea of the joy and personal satisfaction I'd find here. I never dreamed that I'd get to meet Adam, but that dream came true! The bonus of becoming such great friends with Lila and the other fans is what keeps me going. Music gets me though every day. In addition to Adam, I love Muse, Linkin Park, 80s and finding newer bands and supporting them by attending everything that's within 350 miles. With Adam, the boundaries are farther! Thanks for joining us on this ride! :)


  1. adamtastic1877 says:

    aww i wish i got to hear adam say the names Hamburg and Munich for some strange reason. probably because they’re sortof strange words, and i think adam would say them really adorably… YAY! 1STPOST!

  2. It is rather breathtaking to see Adam as a boy in the photograph above, still with his strawberry-blonde brush of hair, photographed before the City of New York skyline, the date of the fall of the Twin Towers only 4 short days in the future, and Adam’s future not yet realized….a young man who in only 8 short years from that day would be an icon of that same city and the whole world..

  3. AdamAddict says:

    OMG,Adam in red vest!! First red shoes now red vest!! TOO HOT!! Why he always wear black while red look really good on him!!

    Admfan1, I already follow you in twitter.I’m Emili0603! I’m so happy because my new friends start to follow me in twitter. All my friends don’t want open twitter account because they said they already have facebook so…! So, my twitter was like my diary!Talking to myself and twat Adam ,of course! No need to be ashame there because I know all you guys are same like me! lol! 😀

    • AdamAddict, check out the Wicked performances on you tube. He is such a doll and looks so
      much younger, even though it wasnt that long ago.

      • AdamAddict says:

        I already did loooooong time ago! I was hoping for his DVD! Adam looks so gorgeous there! Cute as hell!! He always look younger without make up! Have you seen the photo where he’s wearing blue tshirt written “Love Drug” with his bag pack. Signing autograph for his fans! No jewellery on him at all not even watch!He looks like he’s coming home from college! Too adorable!! I wish I can give him piggyback ride! Too cute!! 😀

        • Helen/Canada says:

          I saw that pic too AdamAddict. He does look adorable there, doesn’t he. So young and innocent…..then when he’s on stage he transforms into this SEX GOD. OMG, I’m going to faint just thinking about it!


    • My personal pre idol fave song is the one from Brigadoon… his voice is positively angelic and he is so cute trying that Scottish accent! There are utube vids of it but no actual video footage.

  4. Thank you Jeanette for posting the second interview, it is fascinating to know how this young man’s career evolved, and now we know how he became stronger as a person, and why he puts so much emotion into his performances. Well done Adam, I love who you are.

    • Lisette here..bonmatin..thenks agan Jeanette for detaile biographie’ of Adam an wondreful detail interview regarde being on cruiseline as entertaineur..even al younge age,blonde in photo with view of majestique twintowers before 9/11,chills to thinq of still,interternational tour (Hair),an opposite ValKilmer in musiqual 10 commandments,seein on utube vocals sont superbe/passione,emotione
      from his hearte,then ballads seen in “Wicked”,to Brigadoon..velvet an angelique…An sans makup I hed seen on Chabadtelethon felt Adam can singe any genre,from glamrock/zodiac to outdoor theatre soft ballad dust in wind,kiss from a rose,many more..Talented from early age..blessing monamie tresbeau.An enjoie reading above details of thes journey before day of American Idol.An so many credites before auditione for thes venue..Now thenks to satellite,AItours an tv..thinq Adam is legend of millenium as I av mentione many temes,an othre glambs too.An can be trendsettre an inspiratione for new artistes in future generatione too! Hugs an luv to all glambs,Jeanette an beau Adam ..angel d’chansons an heartes evrywhere! Angels garde ovre too!xoxoxo

    • Thank you a lot Jeanette.
      Now I’m dying for the 3rd and 4th Parts.


  5. Thanks, i really enjoy reading about adams past and how he got to now.

  6. adam is so together all the time and very truthful.i just love him!!! thanks for sharing the interview.

  7. Hola a todos,a pesar de leer cada dia lo que ustedes escriben (y disfrutar sus ocurrencias!),yo no soy de hacerlo (tal vez porque mi ingles es horrible…),pero les queria contar que pude comprar el DVD de The 10 commandments a pesar de que no se editó en mi pais (Argentina).
    Para mi sorpresa me encontré con una edición nueva que presenta en la esquina superior derecha de su portada, un gran cartel que anuncia: ” featuring Adam Lambert, AI finalist”… ya sabemos,negocios son negocios, pero después de enterarme que Adam fué discriminado por un productor idiota de ese musical admito que me enojó un poco…
    Disculpen por escribir en español pero quería compartirlo con ustedes, besos a todos ( y a nuestro Adam!).

    • Bienvenido Marisa, yo no entiendo sus palabras, pero bienvenida a nuestra sitio!!

      (Thanks to the net) ha ha

    • Marisa, hola tambien, y la bienvenida a nuestro lugar! Estoy seguro de que usted sabe se llaman ‘Glambs’ en este website. Aunque puede que no sepa mucho Inglés, es OK,
      no sabemos que mucho bien español! Tomé clases de español en la escuela primaria, en las escuela media, y en la escuela secundaria, pero todavía el uso de internet ayuda de traducción. A pesar de que perdió el concurso, Adam sigue siendo el ganador, y será una superestrella…Me alegra que haya encontrado una DVD, y espero que haya muchos más por venir….También espero que se acercan lo suficiente para que pueda verlo un día! Mucho amor, y esperamos que usted volverá y estará con nosotros! Lorrin Glamb #102

      (Marisa, una traduccion para los ‘Glambs’: A translation for the Glambs – Marisa, ‘hello’ also, and welcome to our site! I am sure that you already know we are called ‘Glambs’ on this website. Even though you don’t know much English, that’s OK, we don’t know much Spanish! I took Spanish in primary school, in middle school, and in high school, but I still use the internet to aid in translation. Even though Adam lost the contest, he is still the winner, and will be a superstar….I am very happy that you found one DVD (of Adam’s), and I hope many more will be coming your way…I also hope that he will be coming close enough for you to see him one day! Much love, and I hope you will come back and be with us! Lorrin Glamb #102)

      This was in direct answer to all that she said on her post, so we don’t need to worry about translating that out. The one thing she did mention that I didn’t answer back to her is that she thought the AI producers were ‘idiots’ for not choosing Adam as THE American Idol, but she said, we all know ‘business is business’.

  8. cheryl norman says:

    Wow! This is how he became an ‘overnight success’! What a wonderful experience traveling the world and living on the ship for nearly a year. After reading this, it makes me think that Adam has been so involved with getting his career off the ground, he really hasn’t had that much ‘down time’ as most people do after high school with either college or whatever. He was immediately thrust into a ‘show’ and trying to learn wht he needed to in order to keep the money coming in trying to support himself. Really an unusual start for anyone! All things seem ‘unique’ in his life up to the idol show. And for Adam not to ‘win’ idol was obviously the best thing that could have happened there! To come in ‘second’, but in actuality winning! I totally understand Adam’s feelings. He wanted ‘exposure’ in hoping to get a recording contract with someone, and ended up being a ‘rock star’ before the show ended. What a truly incredible story! That is just part 1 on his long journey to continue to do things in his own ‘unique’ style and continue to surprise the world!! I love Adam.

    • Lisette here, Bonjour Cheryl! plasir to see here..I av lefte yu note on passe thread to enjoie concert,imagaine yu’re counte heures an moments now!Ah if only can see,non possible as having healthtest/fibro etc..unable to see our beau Adam.Pray he’ll have soloconcerts in ner future..althout may be a reve,given such eshauting tour with AItour,recorde CDs an othre ventures.An see othre thread thinq yu’ll smile abit..mor details.!Agree too thet Adam’s talentes commence at very younge age,an musique was in his soul!Adore all thos theatre videos (onutube) thet people share(bestarts)
      local Calif.theatres,Caberet/Zodiac club,TenCommandments..Wicked,many more.Indeed a magnificente journey even seein world on HollandAmerica cruise made him worldly in very younge age.As have say beliv in his dreame ..thet being musique as an artiste par escellance from first auditiones with Simon,Randy,Paula..ther I beliv a star’s rays commence to now illuminate evrytime on stage inconcert..An his lovli ethereal voix in “Starlight” so befits his journey al way to etoile(stars).Blessings always Luv Lisettexoxoxo

    • Cheryl, from his interviews it seems it was Adam’s choice to kind of take off. He went into college for a mere three weeks after high school, took fine arts, and found he already knew what they were teaching. It was then that he left home for NY etc..

      • cheryl norman says:

        THERESA, HEY!! I don’t disagree w/you. I’m not sure what you’re saying, I guess.? I agree totally with what you say. -?

  9. Hi
    I would like to share with everyone about the new article I just found about Brian May comment about Adam’s new song for the movie, 2012, which will released on Nove. 13.


    • Iyleneidol09 says:

      Sophie, I read that too and also in Hispanic Magazine by Joshua Monila 8/21 He wrote: ” Talking about the buzz around AI Adam Lambert– Adam Lambert has been dazzling crowds and critics on AI summer tours. But the adoration doesn’t stop there….” then he talk about the movie 2012 and how Brian May made a great comment about Adam Lambert…” Brian May didn’t realize that the simple comment that he made about Adam will take off like that and spread around the world of entertainment in US and in different countries. Cheers to Adam!!



  11. leilani aloha says:

    Great interview!!!
    We get to know Adam more everday, he’s intellegient, hard working & a really good hearted person.
    We wish Adam all the best & he deserves all the sucess & great wonders coming his way:)
    Adam Lambert U Rock:)
    Looking forward to get your debut albums!!!


  13. Way cool! Cant wait for parts 3 & 4=)

  14. AdamAdmirer says:

    After reading everything Adam has been through in the biz, he really paid his dues and deserves the admiration and attention he is getting now – I’ll bet no other Idol contestant worked as hard as he did. So happy for him and for us to finally get to know and enjoy him.

    All the best to Adam, always!

    PS I saw the rerun today on Mike & Juliet show of him singing Mad World, it was so great to see him again and how poised he was just barely a week after the big finale – he should be so proud of himself, but he continues to show his beautiful, humble self which I just adore!

  15. Thank you so much for this candid interview. It is nice to know about Adam’s history and his musical development up to this point in his life. Adam’s natural vocal gift, as well as the energy and animation that is projected on stage is nothing short of pure magic. Even though I’ve heard Adam doesn’t prefer Brigadoon, that song he did in Texas under the stars took my breath away. I have never heard a tenor sing like that with such purity, power, and dynamism. I was swept off my feet. Believe me, I am usually bored by that type of song, but Adam made me love it!


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