Q&A with American Idol's Adam Lambert
By Stephanie Snipes
From the very first note, there was no doubt Adam Lambert was bringing something new to the Idol stage. He is by far one of the most original and talented performers in the music industry today—and he has the Rolling Stone cover to prove it!
Screening Room chatted with the American Idol runner-up about life in the fast lane. Stephanie Snipes: We simply must start by talking about the Rolling Stone cover. How amazing is that?
Adam Lambert: Wild, right? I was so honored when they asked me. It's surreal. Every time I see it on a newsstand or on someone's coffee table I'm like, "Whoa! That's me! Oh my gosh!" It's wild. It's such an honor. SS: It's an amazing cover.
AL: Thank you! I like it too. Matthew Rolston is a genius photographer. Not only technically skilled but conceptually he brings so much amazing creativity to the table. He's the best at what he does. SS: Okay, Adam, there are a lot of Lambert fans out here that need a little consoling after the finale. Any words to make us feel better?
AL: I don't think it really matters. I still get to put out an album. I still got signed to a major label. I got signed to RCA in a partnership with 19 Entertainment. I still get to do what I want to do. Nothing changes that. My whole goal of being on the show was to get some exposure and have a career in the recording industry. My immediate goal was to stay on the show as long as possible, and I did that. I stayed on as long as the show went on. I don't think it's about the title. I think it's about the experience and it's about the connection that I've gotten to make with all the people at home.
I'm so touched by everyone's passion and dedication to voting and supporting me. And, I'm still going to make a really kick ass album. SS: Let's talk about that album. It's coming out in the fall, right?
AL: Yes, that's what I've been working on. We started right away with meetings about the sound and the vibe. They asked me, "Do you know of any producers that you would really want to work with?" and I have short list of producers, and fortunately we connected with all the ones I wanted to connect with. We started writing, and I've been able to co-write on a handful of tracks and there's more to come. SS: Do you enjoy the writing process?
AL: I love it! I really love it. And I love the recording process as well. Coming up with something new and original is so exciting. That's the art of it all. And then the performance is another level. American Idol lets you explore yourself as a performer. … Being able to create the actual material you're writing takes it to a whole new level because I'm getting to write lyrics that are from my perspective and messages I want to get out there and feelings and ideas I want to share. SS: We're always trying to help people find their passion in life. Seems like you are a great example of someone who is doing exactly what they were put on the planet to do.
AL: I do feel that way. It's funny because I think timing's everything. I think sometimes we're meant to do something but things aren't lined up correctly. This year, things were all in the right place, all in the right time. I was really fortunate to have all the experiences that I've had up until now that have prepared me for this in an indirect way. It's kind of like Slumdog Millionaire—everything he's been through is what allows him to win the competition he's on. That movie really resonated with me in such a way like, "Yeah, I kind of feel like that could be the case with me too." There's been so many full-circle moments, you know, people I've met or songs that I've already performed or loved that came back for the show for me. SS: What's the best piece of advice you've received?
AL: There's been a lot of advice, and I listen to all of it. Katy Perry gave me a really interesting piece of advice. It's something I kind of already knew but having it reinforced by someone who's been a huge star this year and really exploded on the scene, she said to me, "Make sure you keep your family and your close friends you had before this whole experience at your side. They're the ones who are going to keep it grounded. They're the ones that are going to keep it real." SS: How are you handling the spotlight? It seems like everyone from Gene Simmons to Rob Zombie has an opinion about you.
AL: Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I have my opinions and they're very strong, so I understand that. I think its funny everyone has a different take on it. It's bound to happen; it comes with the territory. I'm just trying to stay grounded and stay objective and keep the music and the creative at the center of it and not get too wrapped up in all the gossip and b.s., you know what I mean? SS: Can we talk about working with Kiss and Queen?
AL: Amazing. SS: I mean, really. Very cool. Who else would you like to work with?
AL: I would love to perform with Madonna because she's an incredible performer and a creative genius. I would love to perform with Queen again anytime. They were class acts. They were so genuine and positive. I would love to perform with Lady Gaga. She's like the freshest, newest, sickest thing. She's got some amazing ideas. I'd love to perform with Michael Jackson someday. That would be amazing. I'd love to sing with Muse the band someday. I have so many that I would like to perform with because to me performing is like playing. "Can Michael Jackson come out to play? Can Madonna come over to play?" It's like being a big kid. SS: Seems to me you could take over as the lead singer of Queen.
AL: Freddie Mercury is an idol of mine. The quality and the attack and passion in which he'd sing is totally inspirational to me. And, his story. He was living in a time when you couldn't be as honest and open about your lifestyle. I'm very fortunate to be in 2009, and I kind of feel like in some weird way this is for him and all the other artists who haven't been able to be real. SS: Speaking of which, there have been lots of rumors about you floating around in the tabloids. One tidbit that came up in my research I'd like to hit head on... are you really a fan of Gossip Girl?
AL: I love Gossip Girl! I was at the Young Hollywood Awards and Ed Westwick was sitting right by me, and I was like, "Oh my god, it's Chuck Bass!" SS: Nice. Okay, back to business. You have the American Idol tour coming up. Excited?
AL: I'm super excited. I just left rehearsal a few minutes ago. A little sneak preview: We're doing a David Bowie medley as a closing part of my set. It's so fresh. Three different songs. We're kind of adding very modern touches to them so that they feel relevant, like 2009 interpretations of Bowie. I think people are really going to enjoy that. I'm excited. I'm singing ["Slow Ride"], the duet with Allison on the tour every night. She is awesome, and I love sharing the stage with her. I'm excited to connect with the audiences that didn't get to come see the show live. There's something lost in translation between you and the audiences at home through the camera. I'm glad we were able to connect how we did, but nothing compares to how it is live. Live is a whole different world. SS: Can you tell us where you get your creative inspiration?
AL: I'm very inspired by past music. I'm inspired by history, different periods. Obviously, I love the whole glam rock thing…both in the sound and in the look and in the tone and what they were talking about. I love the sociological view of history too. The late '60s, for example, was a time of the summer of love and kind of the whole hippie movement—exploration of social norm and what was normal and expected and what rebellious and fresh and new. I think history always repeats itself, like we all know, and I think hopefully we're entering a time where we can kind of reflect that same sentiment of hope and love and peace.