Here is yet another interview that I have come across. This one has included a couple of videos for your viewing pleasure…
Interview: Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert’s debut interview is released on May 3rd
Wednesday, 28, Apr 2010 03:32
American Idol might be one of the biggest television shows on the planet but, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks aside, the majority of its most famous contestants have made little impression on the charts this side of the Atlantic.
All that’s set to change with the arrival of Adam Lambert, one of the most talented – and certainly the most flamboyant – singers to ever grace the Idol stage. Having wowed Simon Cowell and the judges with his renditions of songs by the likes of Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, Lambert may have finished second to Kris Allen on season eight of the talent show, but it’s his glam poprock style that abides.
After a headline-grabbing performance at the American Music Awards and an order to “swish it up” from Glee’s terrifying cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, Lambert arrives in the UK for our entertainment, with an album featuring writers as diverse as Lady GaGa, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and the Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins.
Ahead of the release of his debut album, Lambert tells Lewis Bazley about US conservatives, visions of Simon Cowell and being single and ready to mingle.
~You’d done a lot of musical theatre before American Idol, working as an understudy on Wicked, for example. Had you not signed up for the biggest show in America, would you have stayed on the stage?
Most likely, that’s probably what I’d be doing to pay the bills. That’s what it had turned into by the time I was 25. I love the art of entertaining, this is what I’ve grown up doing and what I know, and I’d started a career in that business, I joined the union, got the health benefits… but when I was about 25, I was starting to get more and more interested in making own music as an artist. I think I would have continued to make more of my own original music while still doing theatre.
~Is it true that your decision to join the show was influenced by taking some illicit substances at the Burning Man festival?
Yeah, Rolling Stone took a little poetic licence with the timeline there! [laughs] It wasn’t like I was tripping and thinking about Simon Cowell! It was more that I was at Burning Man and had an epiphany where I knew what I was supposed to be doing with my life, that I needed to create my own opportunities, to go after my dreams as opposed to waiting for them to come to me. When I got back, I started putting my eggs in different baskets, working on more music and American Idol just came up in conversation so I thought I should audition.
~What do you think about those kinds of shows as a whole? Do they just create copycat singers or are they a really good platform?
I think it depends on the artist going into it, how you utilise the situation. I’m really thankful for it because I think it’s a platform – I don’t think I would have got signed onto a label without American Idol, I can almost guarantee you I wouldn’t. I’ve been told I’m the first openly gay singer on a major American label and that’s proof right there – being as comfortable with my sexuality as I am, as left of centre, I can guarantee that a major label, probably run by a middle-aged man, wouldn’t have seen me as someone they’d want to put a ton of money into.
~So were you surprised by how well you did on the show?
Yeah! I was completely surprised. I don’t think they knew whether or not I was openly gay, I don’t think it was ever confirmed. Which is funny to me, because I’m like… I didn’t do anything to hide it, or lie, I just didn’t talk about it because it didn’t come up and it’s irrelevant, it’s a singing competition. It wasn’t like I was going to sing Whole Lotta Love and then during judges’ comments say “Oh, by the way, I’m gay!” [laughs]
~Do you care that you didn’t win American Idol?
No, I don’t think it would’ve made much of a difference to where I’m at right now. It’s an opportunity, and it depends on what you do with it, and winning first or second place has no bearing on the fact that you’re on this major platform.
~You’ve got your debut album coming out here in a couple of weeks, with some frankly amazing pop songwriters on it, including Lady GaGa, Pink, Dr Luke.. but there are some really surprising writers on there too, such as Matt Bellamy from Muse. That must be incredible for you, such a high calibre of collaborators for a new artist?
It really blew my mind the first time I looked at the roster, I’m just flattered and humbled. I can’t believe these people have the faith in me to sing their music, and that gave me a great deal of validation for the project.
~Were you aware of the Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, another writer on the album?
Yeah! I think the thing about the Darkness and Justin is that they were total kitsch, total camp. And camp is something that can be very misinterpreted or missed in general, sometimes people just don’t get that what you’re doing is intentional. And I’ve learnt that the hard way…
~We’re talking about the controversy of your performance at the American Music Awards, during which you kissed one of your male band members. I’d say British viewers weren’t that surprised at the US reaction, knowing of the conservative views in much of the country. But was it frustrating because you kissed the females on stage too?
There was just as much groping of women! [laughs] I just felt frustrated because I’ve seen women and straight guys do raunchy stuff on stage for year and then I was scapegoated because I was the gay guy doing it. Just to make it even potent [for viewers], I’m the guy from American Idol that you guys all thought one thing of, so there was an element of surprise as well.
~You must have expected some kind of response…
I didn’t expect it to be as big of a deal as it was but in hindsight I’m glad it went down the way it did because it facilitated a conversation about the double standards.
~Did it show there are backwards attitudes in the US?
Yeah, there a lot of backwards attitudes. I’m fortunate to have grown up in southern California where it’s a little more liberal. But I have a lot of friends that are from areas in the US – middle America, the south, some areas in the north – that are really conservative and really just not ready for that kind of stuff. [laughs] It’s a slow and steady battle to progress.
~Talking of your sexuality, camp – have you seen the ‘Sneaky Gays’ promotional clip for Glee, that referenced you?
I loved it, it was so funny! I actually saw Jane Lynch (Glee’s Sue Sylvester) recently and told her ‘thank you so much, I really enjoyed it’.
~Is it a show you’d like to be involved with?
Possibly, yeah! If it were the right role or project, yeah.
~While you’re very well known in the US, how do you think the single will do with your lower profile in the UK?
I hope it does well! [laughs] In some ways, I think that the fact that I’m not as well known here might help because the American Idol thing breeds a certain kind of expectation of a certain time of artistry and marketing. Coming over here, to the other side of the pond, we don’t have to follow the same formula, it’s like starting afresh. And that’s exciting!
~You must be delighted with the level you’ve reached and your success but I’m guessing you’re so busy you have no time for personal life?
[Sadly] No! How would I date somebody right now though? I don’t know how it would be done! But I’m definitely single and I… have been known to mingle [laughs]. So I’m not dead! I don’t think it’d be fair to the other person or myself.
By Lewis Bazley.