‘American Idol’ bits: Adam Lambert interview (Tabernacle, March 8), my Power top 10
By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Thursday, March 3, 2016
Adam Lambert is aware of fans who say he has “toned down” his solo tour this round, which is coming to the Tabernacle in Atlanta March 8. But he questions that description.
“It’s just taken a different direction,” Lambert said in an interview last month. “It’s still me. I’m still the same guy. I have my instincts. They’re never going to change. Some of the references and inspirations have shifted. Six years ago, I was really in love with glam rock from the 1970s with really outrageous outfits. I had sort of a campy delivery.”
But nowadays, his look is more refined. “As an artist,” he said, “I’ve evolved. I’m more based in reality than fantasy now. In terms of production and visuals, this is the biggest show I’ve done on my own. We’ve worked hard to put together great lighting and video with a strong sense of fashion. It’s pulling from different areas. It’s contemporary.”
As for his fashion sense, he said making more money makes a difference. “I don’t have to shop on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles for wannabe rock star clothes. I can actually buy rock star clothing that rock stars are making. I’ve always loved fashion, I’ve always loved clothing. Before, I felt like I was sort of in costume. Now, it’s about actual streetwear.”
Forbes recently said Lambert made more money last year than any other “Idol” alum, even more than Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson. The magazine estimates he pulled in a career high $10 million. Lambert didn’t dispute the dollar amount. “I may have generated that number but I didn’t walk home with it. There’s a whole lot of overhead involved.”
For the past four years, Lambert has also been the primary substitute lead singer for the late great Freddy Mercury of Queen. He splits time between touring as a solo artist and as part of Queen. At the Tabernacle, expect one Queen cover. “I think at this point, not doing one would be robbing the audience. I’ve been doing ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ Who knows? Maybe I’ll change it up. Queen has so many hits.”
He said it’s been a huge honor to work with the classic rock band. “At first, I was intimidated. I didn’t know if the fans would accept me or if I’d be capable of pulling it off. Once I got in and rehearsed and got in front of a few audiences, we realized it was working. People liked it. This has been an amazing opportunity. It pushes me. Modern pop music is very different form what pop was 30-40 years ago stylistically.”
Lambert said his latest album “The Original High” was purposely different from Queen musically but he said Queen helped inform his own music. “My goal with my music is to move forward,” he said. “I did have [Queen guitarist] Roger May play on ‘Lucy.’ He lays down a scorching solo. With Queen, I also got to tap into real truth and find that Freddy was writing about things that were quite deep even if they came off as playful and campy. They were real issues. So I made sure my album talked about real stuff, real personal moments.”
Lambert is clearly influenced by David Bowie, who passed in January. He performed a cover of “Let’s Dance” at a Clive Davis Grammy party soon after Bowie’s death.
“My father was a big Bowie fan,” he said. “I remember pulling out ‘Diamond Dogs.’ That first track ‘Future Legend’ scared the hell out of me and my brother. It was so spooky. As a kid, I was dressing up, make believe. I was big about Halloween… I was very very intrigued by Bowie. Through the years growing up and falling in love with classic rock and doing my music research of the past, I was blown away by all the stuff he did and the messages he sent out and his artistry and visually the stuff he did. And he’s such an icon fashion wise. He was very much ahead of his time. That’s why there was such an outpouring of love from contemporary artists. He was a provocateur and the guy who shook things up for a whole generation ahead of him.”
Given Lambert’s international following, he has lost count how many countries he’s visited. “It’s funny,” he said. “I’ve not been to Spain. I’m going there this summer with Queen. I want to go to Egypt and see the Pyramids. I want to go to Mykonos Greece. Those are the top of my list.”
Lambert said he will appear on “Idol” by the time the series ends in five weeks.
“Obviously, that show was a huge game changer for me. I’d been doing theater until then. Professionally, I was itching to make a cross over to being a recording artist and a pop star. I didn’t think it would happen so I tried out for ‘Idol.’ If I didn’t, I’d be kicking myself. I couldn’t believe it worked!”
He still feels lucky he came in second season eight. “I’m not typical of what the music industry seeks out. I’m not the typical artist they look for. Getting on TV and sharing what I do and what I’m capable with to the public was sort of my way of getting in.”
8 p.m. Tuesday, March 8
$36.50-$70 before fees