He’s only at the very beginning of his career, but glam rocker Adam Lambert has already conquered one of the biggest televised talent shows on the planet and has performed with some of the most legendary names in the music industry. He talks to Same Same about life after American Idol, sex on the road and rumours that he’ll be in town for Mardi Gras.
Adam Lambert walked into his first American Idol audition sporting a wickedly edgy lesbian haircut, dyed black of course, coupled with black nail polish and heavy eyeliner. Right from the beginning Adam Lambert was ‘out there.’ If you didn’t know his sexuality, then it’s fair to say you might have had an inkling at least.
Then, at a crucial point in the Idol competition, around the time Lambert was in the final four, pictures surfaced of him passionately kissing his ex-boyfriend. Suddenly the media focus shifted from his talent to his sexuality. When Lambert came runner up in the contest, there was speculation that it was because his sexuality had become public.
“You know, I did have moments of panic and fear. But when ever I got that way I just stopped myself,” says a charming, composed Lambert. “So much of it was out of my control. When those pictures came out I just gave the situation up to the universe. I focused on being myself, and on the things that I could control.”
When the photos surfaced Lambert was criticised for not making an official statement. He says that most people don’t understand how limiting the Idol experience can be.
”[It] isn’t like being a solo artist. There are controls on what you can and can’t talk about, and who you can talk to… and there are no real one-on-one interviews where you can say what you need to and set records straight. When the pictures came out I wasn’t initially in a position to discuss them. But luckily, within weeks, Idol was over and my opportunity with Rolling Stone magazine came up. I wasted no time setting the record straight so to speak.”
Lambert says that he would have officially come out regardless of whether or not the pictures had been made public.
“I’m very proud of who I am, and I’ve never shyed away or tried to hide who I am. Hello! Make up and eyeliner! Black nail polish! There were more than a few clues,” he laughs. “I’m just more focused on being a good performer than I am about clarifying my sexuality for everyone.”
And why wouldn’t he be comfortable and proud? Lambert used to get into his mum’s make-up at a young age. Finally, tired of him going through her collection, she bought him his own theatre make-up kit, so he could continue to do what he obviously loved. Later, when he got busted watching gay porn by his dad, his father simply took him aside and said to him “That’s your own business, it’s perfectly natural and I still love you.” These are just some of the stories from what is obviously a unique family.
“I do just have the most extraordinary, wonderful parents. They just loved me and let me be who I was, even when I was at my weirdest… raiding mom’s make-up and lipsticks and stuff… I’m sure they would have been looking at each other wondering ‘what is he going to turn out like?’ But they never made me feel that way. I always felt I could turn to them if I needed to. I know I’m lucky, because from what I often hear, that is a rarity.”
Still, Lambert does admit that he is feeling the pressures of being openly gay, and he feels it from both sides. It’s a sentiment he’s tried to capture in the track Whataya Want From Me? from his debut album, penned by fellow gay icon Pink.
“I get criticised by the media for being too out there or too gay in my performances… or my choices. But I also get criticised by the gay media for doing too much or not doing enough. There is so much pressure from the gay media! They feel they need to constantly remind me that I’m the only out gay Idol and that I have an important role and so forth. I’m well aware of all that.”
One of the biggest backlashes against Lambert actually came from the gay community after he posed provocatively with a woman for Details magazine [pictured].
“It was a cool shoot, and I had never done [a fashion shoot with a girl]. I wanted to do it, and I liked that it played with expectation… but apparently that meant that I was trying to hide my sexuality… um hello! Did anyone bother to read the article that clearly talks about being gay and coming out? That kind of stuff is really frustrating… especially when it’s from the people you think would understand and support you.”
Lambert also came under fire after ‘that’ performance at the American Music Awards during which he kissed his keyboard player and simulated sex with some of his dancers. Britney and Madonna pashed and it was an international sensation. Lambert puts on a racy performance and it was heavily criticised. Was it a case of double standards?
“Who really knows,” shrugs Lambert. “I think it might have been a bit too real for most people maybe? It’s fine if you’re faking it, but the moment a real gay dude is up on stage and kissing a guy everyone is like ‘hell no!’ I learned a while ago that you can’t please everyone. There are so many opposing and contradictory views, and everything I do seems to potentially offend someone… If I listened to everything being thrown at me my head would explode.”
Lambert says that he tries to stop such matters from getting him down. “Instead I just focus on the things that I can control, and that is my performance on stage… I try to be true to myself. Those who love me, do. And those that don’t, don’t. I’m alright with that.”
Lambert has also channeled his energies into his debut album For Your Entertainment, which features collaborations with some of the industry’s hottest producers and songs penned by Pink and Lady Gaga. So who else is he keen to work with?
“I would love to work with Christina – she’s a great performer and that girl can sing. I’d also really love to work with David Bowie… I’d love to write a whole album with him… that would be amazing. He’s awesome and so inspiring to me. Of course I’d love to do more with Lady Gaga and Katy Perry too.”
With his professional life soaring to new heights, how does Lambert feel about his private life right now?
“Well, there just isn’t really any room in my life for long term relationships at the moment. But the other stuff is more than fine with me,” he laughs. “Yeah! I’m totally into that, it’s fun, and yes it does happen more than occasionally. The truth is my real focus now is staying around in this industry… longevity… I’m working hard on that. I’m an artist and I’m only in the initial stages of [that] journey. I’ve created my first album and I’m busy performing and promoting that… Boys and relationships can kind of get in the way… at the moment anyway.”
While Lambert’s album has already been released internationally, the Australian release date is not until March 5, the day before Mardi Gras party, which has sparked rumours that he’ll be launching it with a live performance at Party.
“At this stage there is nothing planned… but I’d love to perform at something like Sydney Mardi Gras! It looks like a lot of fun. My management is definitely in talks about coming to Australia but we don’t have any dates confirmed yet. Australia is definitely on the cards though, I’d love to come down under.”
Adam Lambert’s debut album For Your Entertainment is released in Australia March 5. His next single Whataya Want From Me? is out now through Sony Music.