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Adam Lambert - Glam Idol!

Tue 23 Feb 2010 In: Music View at Wayback View at NDHA

He may not have won American Idol 2009, but with his debut album For Your Entertainment soaring up the charts, Adam Lambert has well and truly proved he's a winner. For your entertainment: Adam Lambert He spoke to Paula Yeoman about being thrust into the spotlight and the struggles of being openly gay in the music business. Hi Adam, what a crazy year 2009 was for you. How are you feeling now that you've had a bit of time to reflect on it all? Adam Lambert: It literally turned by life upside down – it's amazing. Luckily I have been able to hold onto my dearest and closest friends. And my family are still around. I think if I didn't have those people, those constants in my life, I wouldn't know what was going on. Everything has changed – my living situation, my financial situation, and my work life. But it's all an adventure and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I asked for this – I wanted this. But there must be moments when you wish you were just Adam Lambert again – not Adam Lambert runner up of American Idol? Everyone once in a while I feel that way, but more often I feel so blessed to be in the position that I'm in right now. Your debut album For Your Entertainment has been doing really well on the charts. There's a lot going on there – from the big theatrical sounds of the title track to the infectious pop beats of Whaddya Want From Me. Yeah, I think the thing that makes the album so strong is that it's so diverse. It gives me a lot of room to experiment with my look, the types of videos I make, the sound that I want people to be aware of when the song is being played at radio. It's given me a lot of room for exploration. And you worked with two of the biggest names in the business on the album – Linda Perry and Ryan Tedder. What was it like working with them? They are amazing. Linda is like a legend and Ryan Tedder will soon be a legend. Both of them are real music lovers and they understand the business inside and out, so not only did I learn a lot about the actual song writing process from them, I learned a lot about the business. They both eat sleep and breathe it. You've not been far from controversy since winning American Idol – I'm mostly referring to your [pelvic-thrusting, male keyboard player-pashing] performance at the 2009 American Music Awards. Looking back what do you make of the backlash that followed? It was my first time back on national television after American Idol and I wasn't really looking at it from that point of view. I was just looking at it as another big step in my journey. You know, I'd toured all summer and it was the first single from my album, which is all about sexuality and I wanted to go out there and do a sexy number. I didn't really think much further into it than that. But the last impression many people had of me was on Idol and my performance at the awards was obviously a far departure from that. I figure it just took people by surprise. Afterwards, you defended your performance by saying it was OK for female artists to "push the envelope about sexuality" so why not guys. Do you still stand by that sentiment? Yeah, I do. I'm really not one to have many regrets in life. I like to do things and stand by them and take responsibility for them. In hindsight though, I think I bit off a bit more than I was ready to chew. Now that you've had a taste of success, how hard do you think it is going to be, being an openly gay artist in such a cutthroat industry? It has its challenges because there are not a lot of us. Being one of the few openly gay artists at this level of commercialism is a Catch 22 – on one hand you have people, especially here in America, that are conservative and automatically decide they are not going to give your album a listen because of your sexual preference. That type of discrimination does exist; that type of close-mindedness is rampant in the USA. From what I gather, in other parts of the world it's not as much of an issue and so I'm looking forward to seeing how the album does internationally. And you know, the other side of it, is that it's really exciting to be somebody who has this visibility. When I was growing up, I didn't see anybody in the music world or in celebrity culture who was openly gay. The closest thing I had to that was Elton John – luckily he had been around for a very long time and he had a reputation and so that helped balance it out. The only other person was George Michael and his scandal kind of killed it for him here in the US. So there was not a lot of strong positive reinforcement for me as a kid. And in order to create a movement, or in order to create comfort within society, somebody has to start it. Hopefully more people can get on board and it can become more of a trend. Have you had a lot of negativity directed at your because of your sexual orientation? I've seen an awful lot of negativity on the internet but it balances out with just as much positivity. I found on Idol that I was polarizing in the sense that I was hated or loved. I think that's kind of my thing and I've learned how to laugh it off when I read something negative. Most of the time it's made in an ignorant manner and you kind of think, 'This person is a probably a moron and this person probably hasn't been exposed to much in life.' If someone is discriminating against me just because of my sexual preference they're so ignorant I really don't want to give them my time. I'm sure there have been many highlights, but what's your most memorable so far? Singing We Are The Champions with Brian May and Roger Taylor at the Idol finale blew my mind - it was such a moment. I'm a huge Freddy Mercury and Queen fan and that really meant a lot to me. Where to from here for Adam Lambert? Well if I have my way, I want to continue to make more albums and more music. I really enjoy the art of making music videos and giving a visual expression to a song. I also look forward to touring with the possibly of putting on a real spectacle - I want dancers and costumes. I want to put on a real theatrical show. There has also been some talk and discussion in the movie and TV world. I would love to check that out. Adam Lambert's debut album For Your Entertainment is out now. Paula Yeoman - 23rd February 2010    

Credit: Paula Yeoman

First published: Tuesday, 23rd February 2010 - 8:30pm

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