Adam Lambert Talks Original High Tour, American Idol, and Family Ties to Atlantic City SoJO 104.9
Published on Mar 1, 2016 Midday host Heather DeLuca recently caught up with Adam Lambert backstage at Caesars in Atlantic City before his recent concert. Hear what he has to say about getting back out on the road on his own, his family ties to Atlantic City, and returning to American Idol.
warnerbrospromo Last night @adamlambert sat down w/ @heatherdeluca from @sojo1049 for some hard hitting questions in Atlantic City! #glamberts #theoriginalhigh #theoriginalhightour #atlanticcity #ac #radio #interview
Flashy. Theatrical. Glam rocker. These are just a few of the descriptions people placed on Adam Lambert in 2007, when he became something of a household name appearing on the eighth season of “American Idol,” finishing as runner-up to Kris Allen.
In the seven years since, Lambert has released three acclaimed albums, and sold about 2.5 million records and more than 5 million singles worldwide. He’s also served as lead singer for Queen the past few years and did a stint on “Glee,” combining his acting and musical chops.
Lambert’s latest release, “The Original High,” debuted at no. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and the artist is currently on tour to support the album, stopping at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday, March 5.
The singer has never been shy about his sexual orientation, and has long been active in LGBT rights. Recently, Lambert took time to talk with the Blade about his music, sexual orientation and what it’s like to replace a legend.
WASHINGTON BLADE: What can those coming out to the Lincoln Theatre on March 5 expect from you that night? What defines an Adam Lambert concert?
ADAM LAMBERT: This show is definitely kind of a product of my evolution. I’m exploring new ideas and new sounds. It’s been seven years since “Idol” and I’ve definitely grown up a bit. I approach things in different ways now and have learned a lot about my fans and myself as an artist, and musically, I’ve grown and broadened my palate, so to speak.
BLADE: Looking at your latest recording, “The Original High,” what inspired your songwriting?
LAMBERT: With this third album, which I feel is my strongest so far, I sort of have found a song for everything that I want to talk about. Some of the songs on this album are reflections of where I think we are at as a society, both good and bad. The lead single, “Ghost Town” is sort of saying, “Hey, we’re all sitting here trying to figure out who and what we want to be but it’s difficult.” The way in which we communicate has become sort of disconnected and disenchanted and sometimes I am left with that feeling of hopelessness of numbness for a period of time. But then again, we set that song to a crazy, sexy house beat and it makes you want to dance, and maybe that’s part of the medicine we should be looking for — getting together and dancing.
BLADE: You just turned 34, pretty much at the edge of being a Millennial, which probably helps you appeal to generations young and old. Do you think about how to appeal to different generations when coming up with new music and designing your show?
LAMBERT: I don’t think it’s that premeditated. I have a very diverse circle of friends as far as age goes and background. I think the people who I know inspire me a lot and kind of inform what I do. I have thought about it at times. If you’re 22, this is where you’re at in life, vs. what are the 37-year-olds feeling? It’s a part of it.
BLADE: When you first started in the business, were there boxes you wanted to check off? If so, what boxes remain unchecked?
LAMBERT: You can’t really control it. I sort of take it one day at a time. I got my sales up and I’m on the ride. I have an amazing team of people I work with. There are definitely things I want to try — some more acting opportunities would be cool — and I want to keep putting out music. I love the idea of putting out a song that connects with people worldwide.
BLADE: Speaking of acting, you’re slated to appear as Eddie in Fox’s upcoming revival of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” this fall.
LAMBERT: I love it. I think it’s going to be a pretty amazing production. They’ve been doing these musicals on TV, but this is the first one that’s going to be filmed, it’s not a live presentation. It will have a lot of integrity to the original because they have Lou Adler on board (the original producer) and his son is producing the music. Kenny Ortega (the director) is no stranger to musicals on film and the cast they put together, I am honored to be a part of. I’m very excited.
BLADE: I know David Bowie was a big influence on you and your music and it was a sad loss for the music industry when he passed away. Tell me a little about what he meant to you.
LAMBERT: He was ahead of his time and not afraid to be an outsider and push ideas that weren’t necessarily popular, and I love that. I think he was willing to be weird, which I also admire. Sonically, physically, I think he was an icon. David Bowie’s voice sounds like no one else, he looks like no one else. He was one of a kind.
BLADE: Is that what you set out to do? How would you define your philosophy of who you want Adam Lambert to be?
LAMBERT: It’s interesting, because if you look at (Bowie’s) career over 30 years, what he did was reinvented and evolved and as an artist, it looks like he was trying on new colors when he felt like it. I am inspired by that. In today’s media and music world, it’s very easy to become a brand and to get trapped in that brand. I think it’s exciting to be creative and explore new sounds and new looks and new colors and new ideas, and that’s what I want to continue to do — keep it fresh and continue to evolve.
BLADE: One of the things that impressed me about you is you’re not defined by your sexuality, you’re just you. Has this come easier to you as the years go by?
LAMBERT: Yeah. I think society is coming around as years go by. Seven years ago is not that long ago, but things were in a much different place. The exciting thing about being out in today’s entertainment world is that it’s less of a surprise, less of an issue and no longer a scary, unknown thing for the public. Acceptance, tolerance and visibility have made their way into the arts — as they always should have — and things are better now, focused on what they should be focused on, which is the arts themselves.
BLADE: You’ve done a great deal for the LGBT community, and I know it’s something that remains important to you.
LAMBERT: Of course. I spent years in L.A. going to gay bars and gay clubs, and that’s where I socialized and listened to music, and that’s where I fell in love with dance music. That’s part of my culture. Obviously, I have had a lot of other opportunities that mixed me with other types of people as well. I like the idea of saying, “Let’s not segregate ourselves, let’s throw it all together.” My involvement with the theater was great for that because you have every race and religion and gender — that’s the utopian fantasy I’ve always had.
BLADE: You’ve been performing with Queen for the past few years, which you’ve said is something of a dream for you.
LAMBERT: It’s been incredible and I’m still doing more with them this summer. It’s such an honor to sing lead for one of the greatest rock bands of all time, although it’s intimidating to be compared to Freddie Mercury because I think he was amazing. I don’t think I can in any way compete with him, but for me it’s not about that. It’s about bringing these songs to life for fans of the music and the band and help everyone remember what made the band so great in the first place. These songs have been a part of people’s lives for years and years, so getting to perform those songs, the collective joy you feel in the audience, there’s something very rewarding about that.
BLADE: Any last message for those coming out to the concert?
LAMBERT: Come and be prepared to go on a roller coaster with me. There are some songs from the last two albums as well and for fans of this new album, I’m finally getting to present them. It’s going to be a great time.
Adam Lambert’s on an ‘original high’ Shannon Hames March 3, 2016 12:22 pm Culture, Music, Nightlife, Today in Gay Atlanta
From cruise ship singer to Broadway performer to “American Idol” runner up, Adam Lambert has certainly had a steady climb up his musical career ladder. In fact, Billboard magazine recently reported that of all of the “American Idol” alumni from the previous 14 seasons, Lambert was the top earner for 2015, raking in close to $10 million. Adam spoke with Georgia Voice about his new album, his role in touring as the frontman for Queen and his upcoming Atlanta performance at the Tabernacle.
Georgia Voice: You just released a new album, “The Original High” – tell me about that.
The album was executive produced by Max Martin and Shellback. It is definitely pop music, but the subject matter is a little more melancholy and more bittersweet than the stuff I’ve done in the past. It’s hard to sum it up, but I think it kind of explores the exploring. No matter who we are, we’re looking for certain things in our lives. We all hit walls where all of a sudden we feel unsatisfied, or we long for something but sometimes we don’t even know what it is we’re longing for. It just kind of talks about that search -that chase – of desire and longing and how we deal with it and how we push it forward. I think, deep down, everybody just wants companionship and love.
What’s your personal favorite song on the album and why?
I’m bad at favorites … I can’t choose a favorite song! They’re all so different. There’s no way to pick just one.
One of my favorite voices of all time was that of the late, great Freddie Mercury. He had the voice of an angel. When Queen asked you to tour with them, what did it feel like for you to step into his shoes?
It was an honor to be asked to sing with them. I first met Brian and Roger at the “American Idol” finale and they were so sweet and so supportive. It’s great to be still touring with them—we are doing some European festivals this summer.
Sometimes, having large-scale success can turn people into something they aren’t. Have you ever felt you were losing yourself or do you feel, instead, like you’re evolving as a person?
I wouldn’t call it evolution; I’d call it adaptation. You need to adapt to things changing constantly, or else you’ll get lost.
What do you do to stay grounded?
I have the same friends that I’ve had for years. After getting off of a long tour, just getting together and having dinner with that group of friends seems to ground me.
Who are you listening to musically?
I listen to everything – I’ve got music constantly playing. That new Zayn Malik song (“Pillowtalk”) is really pretty. “Drive” by Pretty Sister is a great driving jam and I love that new song from AlunaGeorge “I’m In Control.”
There seems to be a movement in Hollywood from LGBT actors to expose the difficulties that they have finding work in that industry. Do you feel it’s the same type of environment for LGBT singers and musicians in the music industry?
There are a lot of parallels between the two industries. There are different expectations because in music, it’s personal, whereas in film/TV, it’s playing a part.
What hurdles (if any) have you faced because of your sexuality?
Being a social minority always comes with its challenges.
If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
I’d love to have dinner with Freddie Mercury. I’ve heard so many great stories from the Queen guys over the years, and they say that we would have gotten along great.
Oh, he would be in my top 5 list, too. You are coming to Atlanta next week – do you have anything you want to say to your fans in the ATL?
I can’t wait to see all of your faces at the Tabernacle on Tuesday night! I’m very proud of “The Original High” tour. I worked very hard to put together a show that takes the audience on a journey with me…from the dark, to the heart, and then to the club for a big dance party! I hope everyone will come out and see me.
Details: Adam Lambert ‘The Original High Tour’ March 8, 8 p.m. The Tabernacle 152 Luckie St NW Atlanta, GA 30303 Tickets: $35-$70 www.tabernacleatl.com
Adam Lambert is aware of fans who say he has “toned down” his solo tour this round, which is coming to the Tabernacle in Atlanta March 8. But he questions that description.
“It’s just taken a different direction,” Lambert said in an interview last month. “It’s still me. I’m still the same guy. I have my instincts. They’re never going to change. Some of the references and inspirations have shifted. Six years ago, I was really in love with glam rock from the 1970s with really outrageous outfits. I had sort of a campy delivery.”
But nowadays, his look is more refined. “As an artist,” he said, “I’ve evolved. I’m more based in reality than fantasy now. In terms of production and visuals, this is the biggest show I’ve done on my own. We’ve worked hard to put together great lighting and video with a strong sense of fashion. It’s pulling from different areas. It’s contemporary.”
As for his fashion sense, he said making more money makes a difference. “I don’t have to shop on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles for wannabe rock star clothes. I can actually buy rock star clothing that rock stars are making. I’ve always loved fashion, I’ve always loved clothing. Before, I felt like I was sort of in costume. Now, it’s about actual streetwear.”
Forbes recently said Lambert made more money last year than any other “Idol” alum, even more than Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson. The magazine estimates he pulled in a career high $10 million. Lambert didn’t dispute the dollar amount. “I may have generated that number but I didn’t walk home with it. There’s a whole lot of overhead involved.”
For the past four years, Lambert has also been the primary substitute lead singer for the late great Freddie Mercury of Queen. He splits time between touring as a solo artist and as part of Queen. At the Tabernacle, expect one Queen cover. “I think at this point, not doing one would be robbing the audience. I’ve been doing ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ Who knows? Maybe I’ll change it up. Queen has so many hits.”
He said it’s been a huge honor to work with the classic rock band. “At first, I was intimidated. I didn’t know if the fans would accept me or if I’d be capable of pulling it off. Once I got in and rehearsed and got in front of a few audiences, we realized it was working. People liked it. This has been an amazing opportunity. It pushes me. Modern pop music is very different form what pop was 30-40 years ago stylistically.”
Lambert said his latest album “The Original High” was purposely different from Queen musically but he said Queen helped inform his own music. “My goal with my music is to move forward,” he said. “I did have [Queen guitarist] Roger May play on ‘Lucy.’ He lays down a scorching solo. With Queen, I also got to tap into real truth and find that Freddie was writing about things that were quite deep even if they came off as playful and campy. They were real issues. So I made sure my album talked about real stuff, real personal moments.”
Lambert is clearly influenced by David Bowie, who passed in January. He performed a cover of “Let’s Dance” at a Clive Davis Grammy party soon after Bowie’s death.
“My father was a big Bowie fan,” he said. “I remember pulling out ‘Diamond Dogs.’ That first track ‘Future Legend’ scared the hell out of me and my brother. It was so spooky. As a kid, I was dressing up, make believe. I was big about Halloween… I was very very intrigued by Bowie. Through the years growing up and falling in love with classic rock and doing my music research of the past, I was blown away by all the stuff he did and the messages he sent out and his artistry and visually the stuff he did. And he’s such an icon fashion wise. He was very much ahead of his time. That’s why there was such an outpouring of love from contemporary artists. He was a provocateur and the guy who shook things up for a whole generation ahead of him.”
Given Lambert’s international following, he has lost count how many countries he’s visited. “It’s funny,” he said. “I’ve not been to Spain. I’m going there this summer with Queen. I want to go to Egypt and see the Pyramids. I want to go to Mykonos Greece. Those are the top of my list.”
Lambert said he will appear on “Idol” by the time the series ends in five weeks.
“Obviously, that show was a huge game changer for me. I’d been doing theater until then. Professionally, I was itching to make a cross over to being a recording artist and a pop star. I didn’t think it would happen so I tried out for ‘Idol.’ If I didn’t, I’d be kicking myself. I couldn’t believe it worked!”
He still feels lucky he came in second season eight. “I’m not typical of what the music industry seeks out. I’m not the typical artist they look for. Getting on TV and sharing what I do and what I’m capable with to the public was sort of my way of getting in.”
CONCERT PREVIEW Adam Lambert 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 $36.50-$70 before fees Tabernacle 152 Luckie Street NW, Atlanta www.livenation.com
Adam Lambert will appear in concert Saturday, March 12, at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. (David Roemer / Courtesy) Rod Stafford Hagwood Rod Stafford Hagwood Contact Reporter
Adam Lambert thinks he's found that original high with his new album, "The Original High."
"It means different things," Lambert says. "The title song means different things. Look, I've lived a very colorful life. I've had a lot of adventures. I've seen a lot of things. I've always been a lover of the nightlife, going to a lot of clubs, going to a lot of after-hours until the wee hours, in Hollywood and New York and in Europe. At some point, it starts to become redundant, and you're like, 'What am I going for?' I'm still chasing that first feeling of being 22 and being out, and it was so glamorous. And then, it's like you're always chasing that first big epiphany."
In support of his third studio album, the "American Idol" alum is bringing "The Original High Tour" Saturday, March 12, to Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
"This [album] is looking back over my life, the last 10 years or so … my personal life," Lambert says. "This is sort of what [the song] 'Ghost Town' talks about. I wanted to do something that reflected the state of things a little bit. With this album, I wanted to look at it, the ups and downs, the gray that are in between."
Lambert recently talked about the album from a tour stop in Nashville.
Is it true you recorded "The Original High" in the middle of your tour with Queen?
Sort of. When I would have a break from the world tour, I would record different parts instead of everything. I had two months in Stockholm before the Queen tour just working on this album with an amazing team of producers, you know, Max Martin and Shellback. It allowed me to just relax and be an artist.
You did a bit of acting on "Glee," and I read that you're going to be in the live TV broadcast of "The Rocky Horror Show."
When I heard about the project, I was so excited. They originally came to me to play Dr. Frankenfurter. I was flattered and [thought] that would be fun, but I thought for me, a white man, to play a transgender role feels like, in 2016, doesn't feel appropriate. It's been such an amazing time for the trans community and the liberation for that group. So I'm happy that they've cast Laverne Cox as Frankenfurter, because I think that is brilliant and brave casting. You can't really re-create Tim Curry. He's so iconic in that role and so funny and lovely. It's smart to go in a different way.
Are you watching the final season of "American Idol"?
I have not been able to watch. I've been on tour, and I was overseas. And I've not been by a TV during prime time.
Is that kind of phenomenon over with? How can a singer launch a career these days? It's so hard to get everyone's attention.
I think that is one of the reasons why things are packing up. Things have changed. It's not the same. I think Phillip Phillips was the last Idol to have any chart success since my season. I think YouTube has become a huge way for artists to build an audience. I think what you are seeing is a lot of this sort of DIY grow your audience.
After earning your chops in "Wicked," "Hair" and "The Ten Commandments: The Musical," do you have any interest to return to the musical-theater stage?
Right now, I'm getting to be myself onstage after so many years auditioning. And being part of that theater scene is one of the things that motivated me to go and audition for "Idol." I wanted more control creatively. The only time you can do that in theater is when you originate a role. Before "Idol," I was a chorus boy, essentially. But I wanted to change, to be an artist … and create my own show. But that background in theater makes me a great bit more aware of how to put on a great show and connect to a mass audience.
I am obsessed with your fashion sense. Is that you or stylists who make you "Glambert"?
[laughing] I certainly hire different stylists for different moments. But usually, I'm pretty sure of what I want. I've been known to have an opinion. [laughing] There was a point when it was all about a costume. I wanted some things referencing the '70s, Freddie [Mercury] and David Bowie or Marc Bolan. I took a lot of inspiration from what they wore back then. Over time, I grew more and more fond of what was happening in contemporary fashion. I've fallen in love with the research of it. Each season, I pick apart what I like and what trends are happening. I'm drawn more lately to avant-garde street fashion. I love pieces that are special and different. Mostly onstage, everything I'm wearing is a designer piece. It's all kind of based on look books, editorials or fashion shows I've seen.
You've been to South Florida a lot. What's your favorite hangout?
When I'm in Miami, I love SoHo Beach House. It's really chic.
Adam Lambert will perform 8 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Tickets cost $54, $64 and $74. To order, call 800-745-3000 or go to SeminoleHardRockHollywood.com
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