Adam Lambert: I went on American Idol because I couldn't get signed
American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert talks to Metro about why he auditioned for the hit US show, his pride at being labelled a gay role model and his new album Trespassing.
What can people expect from the new album Trespassing?
A lot of booty-shaking, funky, electro-dance jams. The first half is fun, upbeat dance stuff; the second half is darker and gets quite moody, exploring the harder-to-talk-about things in life. We all have light and dark in us and I wanted to reflect that
What are the darker topics?
There’s stuff about self-image and self-worth. There’s been times in the past couple of years I haven’t been completely sure of myself but have had to act as if I was. There’s a song about a relationship where you’re involved with someone who isn’t right but you keep coming back and Outlaws Of Love is about the struggle faced by the LGBT community. That one’s very important to me.
Do you feel obliged to be some sort of gay figurehead?
If someone wants to look at me and say: ‘He’s a gay role model,’ I’m proud to wear that label. A lot of what I sing about is universal. The broader statement is it doesn’t really matter, we all want the same things.
Has being a pop star lived up to your expectations?
It’s been interesting. There have been fantastic, glamorous moments but then some that are quite trying. But I guess that’s life in general. Everything’s magnified. It’s like regular life but exaggerated.
What have been the disappointments?
There have been times where I’ve longed for anonymity again but everything comes with a price. If I have to give up my anonymity for this dream career then I’m OK with it.
What lessons has the industry taught you so far?
Nothing’s logical – it’s all down to chance. It’s a game. There are moments when I take everything very seriously, then others when I laugh at it. You have to be able to toggle between both perspectives. On the one hand, it’s not brain surgery; on the other I want to sing about emotionally resonant subject matter.
Do you ever Google yourself?
My mom sometimes sends me stuff. She’ll ask about stories that aren’t true. You have to take it all with a punch of salt. Every once in a while, I’ll get an abusive tweet but the positive ones outweigh the negative. The internet is great for people who want to anonymously spew venom. It’s extremes – either ‘I love you and want to have your babies’ or ‘die faggot’.
You’ve built up a devoted, cult following. Why is that?
I keep it as real as possible. I’m an honest person. Fans said they appreciate that.
Do they take it a bit too far?
All the time but I’ve learned to enjoy it. It’s charming. They’ll geek out and ask me to sign body parts. Fans have made dolls of me. Every now and then I’ll meet a fan who can’t keep it together and trembles and cries but it’s coming from a place of admiration.
Are there so many talent shows now it’s difficult for people to stand out?
It’s what you make of it. I auditioned for Idol because I wanted bigger opportunities in my career. I realised I’d have a hard time getting signed to a label, so I did what I had to do to get myself out there. I just tried to make my performances on the show interesting. It was helpful I’d done a lot of professional theatre for ten years. I learned how to keep people’s attention, which I used to my advantage.
What’s the worst gig you’ve done?
A topless production of Debbie Does Dallas The Musical. I kept my clothes on but there were naked girls on stage. I needed a job at that point.
Have you worn anything you now regret?
All the time. Even things from three months ago make me wonder what the hell I was thinking. The last one was a leather poncho thing. I’m too fashion-forward for my own good.
Your boyfriend’s Finnish – has he taught you any Finnish?
I can say: ‘F*** that s***.’
Would you go back to musical theatre?
I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I’ve always loved Jesus Christ Superstar but I’ve never performed it. I’d love to sing that score someday.
What misconceptions do people have of you?
People think I’m a diva, but I’m not. I’m pretty easy going. I just try to put on a good show. I’ve never asked for my dressing room to be repainted or for people to sort my M&Ms bycolour. I’m happy with a cup of tea.Andrew Williams
www.metro.co.uk: Adam Lambert: I went on American Idol because I couldn't get signedTrespassing is out on June 10.