ROCK IDOL Who is Adam Lambert? Queen singer, American Idol runner-up and LGBT activist
The singing superstar is one of the music industry’s most celebrated vocalists – here’s what you need to know
WITH millions of album sales to his name and a voice that is the envy of the industry, Adam Lambert is one of the hottest musical talents on the planet.
The former American Idol runner-up will be touring again soon with legendary Queen. But what do we know about the singing superstar?
Who is Adam Lambert?
Adam was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of a Leila, a dental hygienist, and Eber Lambert, a program manager of Norwegian descent.
The 36-year-old was raised as Jewish, the religion of his mother, and has a younger brother called Neil – the family moved to San Diego, California shortly after he was born.
He showed early signs of being destined for a life of stardom, starring in local professional productions of Grease, Peter Pan and Hello Dolly! while still at high school.
Adam lasted just five weeks after enrolling in California State University, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in showbiz.
How did Adam Lambert get his big break?
Adam spent several years striving for his big break, fronting an underground rock band The Citizen Vein while performing in musical theatre productions.
He was an understudy for the role of Fiyero in the hit musical Wicked, and toured as an ensemble member with the show from 2005 to 2008.
His big break came when he auditioned for the eighth season of American Idol in 2009, wowing the judges with performances of classic tracks “Rock with You” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Simon Cowell was an early fan, giving Adam a standing ovation for a moving performance of the Tears and Fears and Gary Jules hit “Mad World” – the only time the notoriously harsh judge ever delivered such an accolade on the show.
Adam eventually finished runner-up behind fellow singer Kris Allen, and later placed fifth on a list of the 120 best contestants in American Idol’s history.
Is Adam Lambert involved in LGBT activism?
Photos of Adam kissing another man surfaced during his time on the reality show, and he confirmed that he was gay shortly after, stating that he had nothing to hide.
In 2009, he attracted both praise and controversy for a performance on the 2009 American Music Awards that saw him kiss a male bassist.
Speaking of the conservative backlash against his performance, Adam said: “Female performers have been doing this for years—pushing the envelope about sexuality—and the minute a man does it, everybody freaks out.”
A committed social rights activist, he has been praised as an exemplary role model for the LGBT community and was honoured with an “Equality Idol Award” in 2011.
He has appeared in campaigns aiming to tackle the bullying of young gay people, and released charity singles to raise money for the prevention of suicides among LGBT youth.
Adam’s charity work and work promoting equality in the industry led to him being awarded the “Music Icon” award at the 2015 British LGBT Awards.
He was in a relationship with Finnish TV star Sauli Koskinen from 2010 until 2013, but last year revealed he had been single for two years and was looking for love.
How successful has Adam Lambert been as a solo artist?
American Idol catapulted Adam to international attention, and laid the foundations for a solo career that has seen him sell over three million albums and five million singles across the world.
His three albums, For Your Entertainment (2009), Trespassing (2012) and The Original High (2015) all reached the top three in the US charts, with Trespassing giving him his first number one record.
Adam’s superb vocal command and extreme range have seen him widely praised for his vocal prowess, and the star reportedly had his voice insured for $48 million in 2012.
He is also known for his theatrical performance style and ability to showcase his individuality with flamboyant stage shows – his tours have sold out across the world to critical acclaim.
How did Adam Lambert and Queen first meet?
Queen first performed alongside Adam on American Idol, and since 2011 the rock legends and singing star have collaborated as Queen + Adam Lambert.
The supergroup initially only made occasional appearances, such as a special show at the 2011 MTV Europe Awards and three London dates in 2012.
However, in 2014 they embarked on a successful 66-date world tour, and earlier this year performed across festivals across Europe and Asia to great critical acclaim.
Guitarist Brian May has praised the “awesome range and power” of the singing star’s voice, while drummer Roger Taylor said he had “the best range I’ve ever heard”.
When is the Queen and Adam Lambert Tour 2018?
The guys are heading to Germany and Italy in June, before landing in the UK the following month.