Up Close and Personal: Adam Lambert
Known for his flamboyant showmanship, Adam Lambert gets back to basics with his latest offering, Trespassing. Ahead of his Sydney showcase, he speaks with Daniel Chamberlain.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Adam Lambert and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Both are acclaimed for their eccentric stage theatrics, both are known for their definitive style and both are controversial gay figures of their respective generations. But unlike Mercury, Lambert didn’t exactly have a conventional rise to the top – he shot into the public eye auditioning as a contestant on the eighth season of American Idol.
“I knew that someone like me was going to have a tough time at having a shot at this unless I had an audience behind me but I had a feeling that the judges wouldn’t quite understand what I was all about,” he tells SX.
It was at that point Lambert decided he needed to belt out a tune, which would make him stand out from the crowd at the audition rounds. Naturally, Queen's epic rock-opera ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ stuck out as an obvious winner.
“I felt like I had a kinship with someone like Freddie who was very rock and roll but also very theatrical, grand and flamboyant with his costumes, and figured that was the best way to convince the judges to give me a shot.”
It seems almost serendipitous that three years after Lambert was named runner-up of the hit reality series, he was asked to step in for Mercury alongside Brian May and Roger Taylor for a Queen tribute tour earlier this year.
“I love the idea of bringing together great music, great visuals and the personality of a true individual,” he says.
Once describing himself as just a ‘gay guy in make-up and heels’, Lambert’s own theatrics and take on life have seen him move away from the rest of the reality TV heap.
He has been recognised by the LGBT community for gay rights advocacy for gay rights. Fellow out musician Sam Sparro presented Lambert with an award recognizing his activism work at last year’s Equality Awards.
To top it off, his latest album Trespassing recently debuted at number one on the American Billboard Charts, the first album by an openly gay male to do so.
“I definitely march to my own drum,” he says. “I feel like I have this amazing opportunity to be visible as myself and make no apologies for it. I think showing diversity within the gay community is very important as we move forward."
Lambert is returning to Sydney this month to appear in an exclusive show at the Take-40 Live Lounge.
This time around, Lambert will be taking a “stripped back” approach to his performance, as he showcases tracks from his new album which, he says, is quite a departure from the glam-rock roots of his multi platinum record For Your Entertainment.
Trespassing combines buoyant dance-pop with a funk-rock sensibility mixed over dashes of electronica. The record features collaborations with producers such as Dr. Luke, Pharrell Williams and Benny Blanco as well as songwriters Bruno Mars, Claude Kelly, Bonnie McKee and Sam Sparro.
Lambert says while his debut album was written to keep people entertained, he wants his fans to be able to both dance and cry while listening to his new music. Trespassing, Lambert says, is the perfect opportunity to reveal all sides to him.
"Trespassing is more honest and self-aware [than For Your Entertainment]. I think it paints a clearer picture of who I am and what I want out of life.”
Adam Lambert performs at the Take 40 Live Lounge on August 22. Sold out.