Adam Lambert’s Emotional RescuePuhtaaksikirjoitus täältä.
The ‘Idol’ star cleans up his act, scores a boyfriend and aims for the charts
By Jonah Weiner
Adam Lambert’s Hollywood home sits atop a long driveway so steep that you could mistake it for a concrete wall. When Lambert began renting the midcentury modern with stunning city views, he thought the driveway was a pain. “To get up, you’ve got to overshoot it, turn around, come back and then turn in really fast at, like, a 90-degree angle, or else you scrape the whole bottom of your car,” he says. But after photographers caught wind of the American Idol star’s address, Lambert came to appreciate the driveway: “They’re not coming up that thing!”
Lambert in his kitchen, making a pot of Throat Coat tea. His jet-black bangs, tipped with blond, soar high above his forehead. His eyes are ringed with black makeup. There’s a dirty wok on the brushed-metal stove - Lambert and his boyfriend, a Finnish reality-TV star named Sauli Koskinen, have been “getting pretty domestic” lately. They’ve decorated the living room in haute-goth style: skulls in bell jars, a steer skull painted black and white on one wall. A security monitor displays video feeds from a half-dozen camera mounted around the house. “My mom insisted I put them in,” Lambert says. She was like, ‘Did you hear what happened to Lindsay Lohan? Robbers stole her jewelry!’ I was like, ‘Mom, it’s Lindsay Lohan. She probably stole something from them first.’”
Lambert, 30, moved from his native San Diego to L.A. a decade ago. He dropped out of college after five weeks and spent the next few years singing on cruise ships and in a production of Wicked before deciding to audition for Idol in 2009. Lambert was a phenomenon out of the box: His siren-wail high notes won standing ovations from Simon Cowell, while his ambiguous sexuality prompted titillated chatter. Lambert had lived uncloseted since just after high school, but he didn’t come out publicly - in Rolling Stone - until after the Idol finale, because he didn’t want to distract from his singing. “He’s a real artist, very comfortable doing difficult stuff,” says Chic mastermind Nile Rodgers, who collaborated with Lambert on a new song. “He reminded me of when I was working with David Bowie - it was so natural, this laser-focused jam.”
Looking out past his pool, Lambert can gesture down at the city and point out various crappy apartments he has called home. The funny thing, though, is that despite all his success - the Idol triumph; the fact that Justin Timberlake once compared him to Freddie Mercury and then Queen actually hired him to fill in for Mercury at several shows; the “low-five-figures” rent he can afford; the gleaming BMW 650i coupe parked in his garage - Lambert still feels like an impostor. “It’s still kind of nuts to me that I’m standing here,” he says.
That feeling animates Trespassing, Lambert’s new album. “It’s the Idol stigma,” he says. “On red carpets at awards shows, other musicians are either really open to embracing and being friendly and being associated with me, or they just don’t want to.” The feeling is also a function of his 2009 debut, For Your Entertainment, which didn’t ignite the way it could have. And, of course, it’s partially about Lambert’s sexuality. “A lot of times it’s in my own head, but it feels like a political move to be friends with someone like me,” he says. Elton John invited him to an Oscar party in February, and he’s chummy with Katy Perry, but he says he has no real famous friends: “Everyone I’m friends with now, I knew before.”
”This guy sang his heart out and expressed himself, and still he felt he wasn’t garnering the respect he deserved,” says Pharrell Williams, who worked on Trespassing. “And he felt his sexual orientation was always at the helm of any conversation about him.” With Trespassing, rather than shying away from the confrontation, he doubles down, as on “Outlaws Of Love,” a wounded ballad about gay persecution. “I wanted to be careful it wasn’t too much about the empowerment stuff,” he says. “With the title track it’s not like, ‘You can do it.’ It’s more like, ‘Fuck that shit.’
”I still feel like I’m not welcome,” Lambert adds. ” I went to the Grammys this year and felt really weird, like an outsider. Pop music feels like high school again - like, there’s the really cool kids, and I’m not one of those.”
You can’t talk about Lambert without talking about the blow job. He inaugurated his post-Idol career with the most scandalous display of fake felatio in pop history. It was November 2009, and Lambert was performing at the American Music Awards. At one point, he grabbed a male backup dancer’s head and thrust it toward his crotch. “It just kind of happened,” Lambert says. He says it wasn’t intended as a statement, it was just rock & roll spontaneity. Ditto his decision to kiss his male keyboardist. “The network people got upset, because there were complaints from a parent religious group - like, 1,500 complaints out of however many millions watched the show,” Lambert says.
The broadcast’s West Coast feed edited out the blow job and while it kept in the kiss, it switched to a faraway shot. Lambert says the controversy killed his single at radio. “My biggest confession afterward was, I felt like it was a double standard,” he says, “Female performers get away with anything they want, practically, and even straight male performers get away with a lot more than that.”
Defiant as this sounds, there probably won’t be any fake-blow-job headlines in Lambert’s near future. Since turning 30, he’s mellowed a bunch. “I have a very gluttonous, hedonist personality,” he says. “I love the idea of a wild night out, and if there could be an orgy in the corner and a hookah over there - I love the idea of that. But I’m moving out of that phase of my life.”
His romantic life has stabilized too. From 25 to 28, Lambert was single. “It was a brutal four-year period,” he says. “I was romantic, but life whittled that away. Gays don’t date. Most guys, you ask them out and they’re like, ‘What?’ I was hurt a lot.”
Not that he didn’t have fun. “I had some great nights - and some great mornings.” He reveals that he had sex with a woman for the first time. So how did he like straight sex? “I’m open, but it’s personal, so I’m not going to go into that,” he says. “I’m just a person that likes to try everything, so I’ve tried everything.”
At a Helsinki club in November 2010, while on tour in Europe, Lambert met Koskinen - a Finnish Big Brother winner with the carved cheekbones, chilly affect and overall undead hotness of a Blade villain. “I had a lollipop in my mouth, and he kind of smiled at me, so I took the lollipop out of my mouth and put it in his mouth,” Lambert says. “I was like, ‘He’s open-minded!’” A month later they rendezvoused in Paris and vacationed in Bora Bora.
Last December, Lambert awoke with a brutal hangover in a Helsinki jail cell. “I still had on leather pants and high-heel platforms from the night before,” he recalls, chagrined. He was in town to celebrate Christmas with Koskinen’s family; at a club, he’d been drinking peppermint vodka and blacked out (Lambert suspects someone spiked his drink). He got into a drunken brawl with Koskinen that spilled onto the street. “We were on the floor wrestling,” Lambert says, relaying what the police told him. “There were no charges, thankfully.” Lambert describes the night as “a wake-up call” - he hasn’t been drunk since, and he and Koskinen have taken to juicing and jogging together.
Lambert heads to a rehearsal studio, where he’s practicing with his band as they prepare to hit the road for a month. He steps to the microphone in a black T-shirt, fidgeting with his in-ear monitor, ironing out the kinks in the arrangement of “Outlaws Of Love.” “This feels too big, too loud,” he says. “Do the recorded backing vocals just come in at the end? Turn ‘em off.”
He gives the song another go, then flops at the edge of the stage, running his hand through his hair. “I have to stop singing,” he says. “My ears are getting tired. I have a headache.” Lambert is happier promoting this album than he was with For Your Entertainment, the making of which was rushed and somewhat haphazard. “The last one, we were guessing,” he says at lunch. “There was no time to let it settle and live with the music. It was ‘Get it out there before people forget about you.’” For Trespassing, he took his sweet time exploring a fun, hybrid sound. “I’m not borrowing so much from classic rock this time - more from disco, funk, house. Dance-oriented stuff. I want to make something that’s new, that feels like it’s mixing a bunch of things together.” You can hear that on the Pharrell-produced title track, where a house-music thud, screeching guitar, funk bass line, and “we will rock you” hand claps war with one another for space.
But he clearly isn’t overjoyed about the marathon of album-plugging, which starts the next day. Lambert used to sell makeup at Macy’s - “I learned a lot about being the professional ‘gay best friend;’” - and this aspect of the business reminds him of those days. “When I go to radio stations and meet fans, it’s retail in the most fucked-up way,” he says. “What I’m so grateful for this year is I didn’t have to do anything except work on the album.”
As Lambert pulls on his leather jacket, an assistant tells him to “pack for a month,” and he groans theatrically. He hugs everyone and heads out to the parking lot. Koskinen’s at home, and they’re going to spend their last night together greatly, cooking and watching TV. “It’s cool.” Lambert says. “Making the album was the art part. Now comes the work part.”
He climbs into his BMW and heads for the hills, where he will zigzag higher and higher up narrow streets, reach his house, and try his best not to scrape the car going up his driveway.
* * * * (4 Stars)
All the disco sleaze and cheddar bombs you can eat
So here’s the great pop album everybody was hoping Adam Lambert would make, ever since he ran wild on American Idol three years ago. It wasn’t just Glambert’s dynamite-with-a-laser-beam voice that got him into our national knickers: It was his warmth, humor, his burlesque bravado. His 2010 debut, For Your Entertainment, was a typical Idol quickie - decent, but it needed more personality. Trespassing delivers, with a mix of tinsel disco-club sleaze and leather-boy love ballads. While he excels in a radio cheddar bomb like “Naked Love,” he gets deeper in slow jams like “Underneath” and “Outlaws of Love.” But all over Trespassing, Glambert sings everything like Zeus in a thong.
Key Tracks: “Shady,” “Outlaws of Love”