Most of these questions are the ones that you and I could answer in our sleep, but fun to read nonetheless. I never get tired of reading anything about him so I figured most of you are the same way, lol!!
Interview with Adam Lambert
Image credit: Warwick Saint, courtesy of Sony Music
Adam Lambert: Living the Idol Dream
BY Viola Chen – Port Moody Secondary, Port Moody BC | May 10, 2010
Most of American Idol’s biggest stars aren’t, well, Idols. Sure, superstars Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood lived up to their Idol titles, but the careers of top 10-ers like Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken and Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson have inarguably outshone the winners of their respective seasons. In fact, you may not even remember who won the last season of American Idol – but someone you won’t forget is runner-up Adam Lambert.
Unpredictable, flamboyant and vocally gifted, Adam Lambert’s over-the-top performances consistently impressed judges and viewers alike in season eight of the hit television show. With his debut album For Your Entertainment taking the music industry by storm and his post-Idol career skyrocketing, there is no better time to be Adam Lambert.
I recently got the opportunity to meet up with the glamorous star before one of his two sold-out shows in Vancouver. Unlike other products of modern Hollywood, the humble musician answered questions with astounding honesty and integrity. Self-admittedly “so freaking open about everything,” Lambert’s sincerity is evident and every one of his answers was followed by a modest shrug or charming grin. Lambert opened up about his experience on Idol, his musical aspirations and his rising superstardom.
Following his childhood dream of being a star from high-school theatre to Broadway to the big time, this is one Idol performer who’s got it figured out.
YT: You released For Your Entertainment in November 2009 and it debuted at No. 3. How does its success compare to your expectations for it?
AL: When it debuted at No. 3, I was pretty shocked. I didn’t expect it at all. I think that the pre-sales really were a big part of that because a lot of people were anticipating what I was going to do and they wanted to get a copy. I was thrilled. It was very validating.
YT: You worked with so many distinguished artists and songwriters on your album. What was it like working with them?
AL: It was amazing. I would pinch myself all the time. It was like, “I cannot believe I’m doing a track right now written by Pink.” I would’ve never seen this a year ago… sitting in a studio with Lady Gaga was a trip; I was beside myself. I mean, these people are the best at what they do and I get to make music with them. This was my dream; this was why I auditioned for American Idol. It was for these chances.
YT: What do you think differentiated you from your other competitors on Idol?
AL: I wasn’t afraid to be over-the-top. When I have the adrenaline, it’s easier for me to go crazy than it is for me to be subtle. I think my style differentiated me, I think my range differentiated me… I was just different from people who were normally on the show.
YT: What was it like to go back to Idol as a mentor?
AL: It was amazing, I mean, it was an honour. Obviously, I’m just at the start of my recording career. I’m not an expert on how to be a recording expert, but I do know how to perform. I think I can provide the sort of insight as in, “Oh, I was doing this too. I’ve been where you are,” kind of thing.
YT: What do you think of Ellen DeGeneres as a judge?
AL: She’s great. I mean, I think what’s so great about her is that she brings an everyman perspective. She’s like the average viewer who is not a music industry person. I think that’s important, to have that view on the judging panel.
YT: On one of this season’s episodes, Simon referred to Idol as a “shortcut to success.” Do you think that’s accurate?
AL: I think that can be true to a certain extent. It’s pretty quick… the flip I mean. When I think about it, I have really strong doubts that I would be signed onto a major record label if it wasn’t for American Idol. I mean, I’m different. I’m openly gay and I dress differently. I was trying to go about doing a different type of sound and I have strong feelings that if I had submitted something in front of a producer, they probably would’ve been like, “Eh, I don’t know about this.” The good news about Idol was that it got me out there and it built me a fan base. It also showed that I could perform live, which is something that a lot of performers don’t do. It’s something that’s coming back – thank God – live performance. That really helped me; it put me on the map. If it hadn’t been for Idol, I don’t think it would’ve happened.
YT: How do you deal with the negative stuff in the media?
AL: I’m pretty good at letting a lot of it roll off my back. You can’t take these things personally; you can’t let it bug you. But there are times when I’m like, “Oh God, that was mean!” Then I get frustrated. I just try to ignore it as much as I can; it’s really hard though. I try to bring as much love and positivity that I experience from my fans. There’s also a lot of opposition, because I’m different. A lot of people are scared of something that’s different and you know… it is what it is.
YT: On Twitter, you recently tweeted that you will be “beyond family-friendly.” What were you referring to?
AL: (laughs) I was kind of taking the piss… I was just being sarcastic. Honestly, it’s all about the song Whataya Want From Me. The song is about vulnerability. It’s definitely a song of more honest emotion. It’s not really flashy; it’s not controversial in any way. It’s more of a broadly appealing concept. The performance [on Idol], on the other hand, was why I made the joke. (laughs) A lot of people were like, “Oh, I can’t have my children watch this!”
YT: What’s one thing that fans don’t know about you?
AL: I don’t think there’s anything! I’m so freaking open about everything that I think everything’s out there. I have no secrets!
YT: Where would you like to see yourself in a few years?
AL: I hope that I have another album out. I hope that I have toured. Maybe even tried a movie musical of some sort… I don’t know, hopefully, I’ll just continue to entertain.
Image credit: Alexandra Barrow | Viola Chen interviews Adam Lambert in Vancouver, BC
Adam Lambert Outtakes
BY Viola Chen – Port Moody Secondary, Port Moody BC | May 11, 2010
YT: What do you think about the reviews so far of For Your Entertainment?
AL: I think they were pretty accurate. I mean, I didn’t read all of them because I think they’re all pretty subjective. Everyone has a different opinion. I’ve read reviews of music and films before which made me go, “Uh, I totally disagree,” (does the “uh no you didn’t” finger waving) so that doesn’t really take much precedence in my life.
But there were a couple of them that were on the line of saying, “Well, it just feels like the album is wearing him and he’s not wearing the album. There are so many styles on here that it’s kind of hard to wrap your head around.” I think that was valid, but in a way, I think that was also intentional. I wanted people to be like, “Wait, is that Adam?” I like that. I like albums that show different colours and sides and genres. I didn’t want to do something that was in one box. I mean, I would get bored…
YT: How would you describe your live show?
AL: I just give it my all. I give it a ton of energy and I try to sing the… heck out of everything. There are fans that have expressed, “Oh you know, we like it when you do a little more rock.” The live shows have a little more weight to them. The live instrumentation kind of gives the show a more rock feel, but all the songs on the album are kind of in the middle anyway. They’re all kind of stuck between the electro-land and the rock-land.
YT: Which mentor gave you the most influential or helpful feedback while you were on Idol?
AL: Smokey Robinson was pretty amazing. Slash was pretty amazing. I don’t know; it’s hard to say. One of the two of them probably; those were the two I remember distinctly.
YT: Was there a sort of moment or epiphany you remember when you decided that you wanted to make music for a living?
AL: Well, I’ve been doing musical theatre all throughout my childhood, and it had always been a hobby and a social group kind of thing. I was still involved in it into high school and I realized that that was what I wanted to do with my life. I’m an entertainer, that’s what I do. It just comes naturally to me.
I thought that I was going to go to college, get a musical theatre degree, go to New York and be on Broadway. That’s what I thought was going to happen for me. And then I got bored of college, dropped out after five weeks and I realized that I’m not a classroom person. I’m a working-on-the-job learner. So, I started auditioning and doing plays.
Slowly but surely, I built up my level of professionalism, got better jobs and got hired for Wicked, the national tour. That was the highest level of profession that I had gotten into at that point. It was a Broadway production. I was like, “Finally!” This has been my goal and now I’m pretty much where I had always wanted to be. I was around 24 or 25 at the time.
After about three months, I realized that it was a great job but I wasn’t fulfilled artistically. It just wasn’t for me, so I started making music and exploring other options. I was really infatuated with the idea of being a rock star. (laughs) I had a band and I started writing some music. I started listening to a lot more pop music; I loved both rock and pop. Right around there, around the time I was 25, I decided to try to make it as a recording artist. I didn’t want to do theatre; I just wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be me, not somebody else.
YT: Who did you consider as your musical influences when you were growing up?
AL: I listened to a lot of Broadway soundtracks, like show tunes. I was obviously a huge fan of Michael Jackson and Madonna. When I got into high school, I started listening to more and more pop music. There was Christina Aguilera, Destiny’s Child, Timbaland, Missy Elliot and No Doubt. There was even some rock music that I was listening to. I liked Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. I had a Pearl Jam CD. (guffaws) There was so much stuff from that era. When I got older, I discovered the music of the late ’60s, ’70s. I really got into music from the past like Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Beatles, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. That’s when I started making music.
YT: If you could model your career after anyone’s in the music industry, whose would it be?
AL: I don’t know. I mean, Michael [Jackson] was definitely amazing, the way that he would make amazing music and accompany it with epic visuals. Madonna was great because of her reinvention. These are artists that have long reigns. But I don’t think there’s anybody I can compare myself to, because I’m kind of my own thing.