Adam Lambert Talks Life and Love with SFGN
Glam rocker and American Idol Season 8 runner up Adam Lambert will be headlining the fifth annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Sunday, April 14 on the Main Stage in Lummus Park just off Ocean Drive between 11th and 12th Streets. His performance is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.
Lambert talked to SFGN about everything from his thoughts on being a role model in the gay community and building a fan base in China, to his upcoming album and his recent split from his boyfriend, Finnish reality star Sauli Koskinen.
Can you give us hint of what to expect at PrideFest this weekend?
I’m going to do some songs, mostly from my latest album. They’re real dancey, and high energy. I have two dancers with me who are my good friends and we’re going to throw one helluva party. I hope. That’s the plan.
I know you’re receiving GLAAD’s Davidson/Valentini Award at the San Francisco ceremony on May 11.
That’s really cool. I’m excited to go there. I like what GLAAD does. It’s obviously a very important time right now for the gay and lesbian community. GLAAD is opening up their umbrella, making some changes and really expanding.
Speaking of GLAAD shortly after American Idol you told media outlets you were uncomfortable with the idea of being a gay role model and/or gay activist. But in a way that’s what you’ve become.
I’m totally comfortable with it now [laughs]. You know it’s weird, I was just being honest. It’s a bit daunting. You’re a role model or icon or you’re supposed to try to be one so I was intimated by it at first. I didn’t realize that was going to come with everything. I was jus trying to sing.
I’m really, really thrilled to be as connected to the community as I can be.
My big goal is always to represent the diversity of the community because I think there’s so many different types of gay and lesbian people and I think it’s important to represent all of us.
One of the thing that drives me the most is when I was younger I didn’t really have a lot of gay role models who were proud and gay and open and were who they were.
I’ve gotten letters and met younger people in the LGBT community who have said “wow I really appreciate the fact that you don’t make any apologies and you’re just this wacky guy.” And that alone gives me a lot of confidence.
If I can help a young person feel more comfortable in their own skin or be the person they want to be it’s fucking awesome.
Can you name a surprising twist to your career since Idol?
I was really thrilled to have the success that I had with my last two albums. I think the international part of my career has been really exciting and unexpected. I didn’t think I’d be traveling outside of the states as much as I have.
Any favorites places you’ve visited?
I just saw South Africa for the first time and that was really cool. The people down there are awesome. I like Australia a lot as well. I like Scandinavia a lot. I’ve been going to Asia a lot and I’ve been building a big fan base there. There are so many people in Asia, it’s such a densely populated area.
I got to perform on the Voice of China earlier this year, and over 4 hundred million people watched the telecast for the finale. I was like, no pressure. It’s been really exciting meeting fans and building a following in Asia.
Grammy nomination was pretty fucking amazing and unexpected. And getting to perform with Queen this last year was such an honor and totally surreal. To sing lead for Queen and a whole concert of their music was like “WHAT?”
You said before you went on tour with Queen you were nervous.
I was totally intimidated and excited all at the same time. The first show we did was in the Ukraine and there were 250,000 people in the audience. That’s the biggest live audience that I ever performed in front of so lots of butterflies in my tummy.
Any more plans to tour or sing with them?
I don’t know. We left it kind of open. We had such a good time and really connected. And it felt really good to all of us. I’m sure in the future there will be something. But I don’t know what or when.
And a lowlight?
There are lots of challenges. It’s not necessarily like a really foolproof formula being a gay mainstream pop singer. As far as mainstream goes, the music industry is a bit more black and white on how they categorize everybody. In many ways I think popular music has become sort of like a high school popularity contest. So it’s not always easy to be different.
There’s a lot of conformity in the pop music world. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t. But at the end of the day people do recognize good music and that’s really exciting. I think the music industry is shifting right now and changing and it feels like its getting more organic again. And getting back to valuing real music and emotional songs. It’s exciting.
Some people think that being on a reality TV show everything is handed to you. And it’s not a lot of work.
The reality show is the easy part [laughs]. That was fucking so easy compared to the career. I don’t think people realize how much goes into it. I’m happy to do because it is what I love. It’s my livelihood. It’s a full time job. The Traveling. Promotions. It’s tireless. You have to really commit to it and love it, to get through some of the schedule.
Traveling here and there, doing a show, not getting any sleep. But if you love it you love it. It’s definitely a lot of work.
Being on the show, your tasks and goals are a little more immediate. It’s week to week. You sing a song and it’s a minute and a half long. You either get voted in or out. In the industry it’s not as defined. It’s a lot grayer. You make an album and it takes a couple of months, a year. And then you have to pick a single and there’s all of these things that go on behind the scenes that I didn’t know about before I got into it. It’s complicated.
What’s up with all the Straight girls that love you?
I think I notice more female fans than male fans in general, which is great. I love it. But I would love a little more of a mix at my concerts. But I think Miami will give us a little more of that. But I really like performing for people that connect with the music and that’s the bottom line. So I don’t discriminate. I love women, straight women, gay women, straight and gay men. I love anybody in the audience that wants to have a good time.
What’s your favorite song you’ve released?
Whataya Want From Me from me is a great fucking song. And then there are songs that are really special because they’re talking about something real in my life. Aftermath. Outlaws of Love. Underneath. These songs address real issues that I’ve dealt with, that I think a lot of people deal with. Those songs are fan favorites because we’re connecting on an emotional level on those songs.
What’s something few people know about you?
A lot of people are surprised that I am tall [He’s 6’1”]. Almost half the people I meet go “oh you’re tall.” [laughs] And those same people say “oh and you’re nice.” Why does everybody think I’m short and an asshole. I’m tall and I’m friendly, I promise.
How’s your relationship going?
I’m actually not in a relationship anymore. You’re the first person I’ve actually told this too.
When did it end?
It’s been kind of on its way out in the last couple of months. Sauli and I remain really good friends, and I know it’s a cliché thing to say. But it’s totally, totally true. I just gave him a coffee and bagel earlier today. He’s a great person and we’ve had an amazing couple of years together. And honestly things have just run their course.
I’ve been getting really busy and traveling a lot and he’s been getting really busy because he has a show he’s filming for Finnish television. So we just decided to part ways.
Well there goes my next question, which was “any plans for marriage?”
[Laughs] I think everybody should be allowed to get married. Someday I’d like to.
Ten and 15 years ago that’s not even a question interviewers asked gay couples or people.
It’s interesting too because it’s a new concept for us. I’m 31. Once I realized I was gay I didn’t think marriage was ever going to be an option. It wasn’t a part of what I thought was the gay reality. So it’s really exciting and interesting that things have changed so much even in the past 10 years. My generation, people that graduated around the 2000 mark, were in this limbo with the next generation coming up with everything different, and the previous generation having their traditions. Interesting how generationally the gay community is shifting.
It wasn’t something we grew up with. It was so foreign. It’s crazy too, like the kids that are coming up now. In general they don’t have be as secret about being gay anymore. Gay is so much more out in the open. It’s much more accepted. It’s in the media. The generation before us, you and I, they had to hide stuff and be very private and it was taboo. I think that created a lot of shame. A lot of the bad habits of the gay community came out of that shame. It’s interesting to watch this next generation come up and I think they’re going to be a little bit more self-respecting in certain ways because they have the opportunity to be.
What’s a day off for Adam Lambert?
I’m pretty low key. I was on tour for six weeks. I just got back home. I’ve been trying to reconnect with friends. I know a lot of people here in LA. I’ve been here for 10 years. I moved into a new place a couple months ago that I was away from while I was on tour. So I might go shopping and look for a fucking pillow [laughs]. I bought some plants the other day for my balcony. I’m a normal person. I like to go out and meet people.
Any crazy fan stories?
I was in New York and I was doing a concert there with Cyndi Lauper. This was after the show. There were some fans waiting outside behind the barricades. I was walking out towards the car and the security was ushering me towards it and the doors open. Right before I get to the car this woman really stealthily creeps into the car and sits in the passenger seat. She doesn’t even look at me, she just looks ahead, like “if I don’t look at him he won’t see me” [laughs]. I get into the car and I’m like “wait, who are you?” [laughs] And security comes to the other side really quick and says ‘ma’am you have to get out of the car please.’ And she just sits there again staring straight ahead and not saying anything as if they’re not going to see her if she doesn’t say anything. It was hilarious [chuckles]. She was going for it.
If you perform a duet with anyone who would it be?
I could make a list of divas that would be fun to sing with. Everyone from Gaga to Beyonce to Cher to Christina. Any of the singers with big pipes would be really fun to do a duet with.
Besides music what else would you like do?
I do have a curiosity about doing something on film whether it be TV or a movie or something. I think it would be comedy but maybe drama. I have my whole future in front of me. So I’m not in a super rush. I definitely love music the most, and am going to focus on that. Maybe designing something. Maybe fashion. Or maybe at some point behind the scenes, producing or directing.
What can we expect on your next album? Will it be similar to the first two?
I hope not. I definitely see myself as somebody that wants to explore something new every time I do a new project. So I think the inspiration will probably be something different.
So country music then?
Totally that’s the plan. How did you know? [laughs]
We’ve actually started brainstorming what this next project is going to be. I can’t say anything more about it right now, but I’m excited.
I’m going to start working on new music soon. I don’t know when exactly. I don’t know how long that’s going to take to wrap up.
What else is new?
I’m doing a lot of little random gigs. I’m also playing Pittsburgh pride [Saturday, June 15]. I’m going to China right after Miami Pride to do an award show where I am getting some international award. I’m doing Life Ball in May in Vienna, which is an AIDS fundraiser. It’s huge. It’s the biggest one in Europe. I’ve been hearing about it for years. So I’m excited about performing in that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m excited to come to Miami to get some sun [laughs]. People should know I’m a friendly guy. I like to make conversation, especially if the first thing out of your mouth isn’t “oh my God can I have picture” [laughs]. Tell me what your name is and what you’re about first, let’s make it human and not just about your Facebook wallpaper? [Laughs]
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