The Music and Life So Far of Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert burst onto the musical radar in 2009 in the eighth season of the American reality TV show American Idol. From his audition in front of judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi combining theatrical vocals with edge on the classic Queen track “Bohemian Rhapsody” we all knew what to expect in his career. And he hasn’t disappointed his legion of fans dubbed “Glamberts” since becoming the runner-up of that year’s contest and signing with 19  Entertainment in a joint deal with RCA Records. But of course his story started long before. 

On January 29th 1982, Lambert was born to parents Leila and Eber Lambert in Indianapolis in the state of Indiana. His mother was an interior designer. She spent numerous years in her interior design business as well as been a sales leader with William Sonoma Home before going into real estate. His father worked as a program manager for Novatel Wireless. Novatel Wireless Inc. is a business offering wireless broadband for computers, mobiles and handheld computing. He has a younger brother Neil who is three years younger and likes to read Science Fiction books. Lambert was brought up Jewish as his mother is Jewish. He has sang songs in Hebrew, like “Shir LaShalom” and “The Prayer” at a tribute concert in 2005 to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated. He also sang at the San Diego Temple of the Arts. His father was mainly from Scandinavian descent. Norway to be precise. Not long after Adam was born, the family set off to live in San Diego in California. They ended up setting up home in Rancho Peñasquitos. When he was nine, Lambert started to take part in shows for the Metropolitan Educational Theatre network. The theatre network is now known as MET2. The MET2 teaches “improvisation, pantomime, voice projection, stage movement, acting, singing, dancing, and audition techniques.” He was in productions which were performed locally of Fiddler on the Roof and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown as well as other loved theatre shows. A couple of years later he started further singing training and acting. He kept performing with MET2 and also what was later going to become known as the Broadway Bound Youth Theatre Foundation while he attended Mesa Verde Middle School followed by Mount Carmel High School (MCHS). He always loved theatre and singing and did choir singing as well as taking part in the Air Bands competitions that were held locally. Now he made the transition from amateur productions to their professional alternative and starred in local pieces such as Grease, Chess and Peter Pan in places such as The Lyceum.   

When Lambert finished his studies in High School, he went to the California State University in Fullerton very briefly. Five weeks to be precise. He has said that he left because he wanted to work in “the real entertainment world” and this gives us an insight into how fearless and driven he was at such a young age. He was only nineteen when he landed his very first job. He worked with Anita Mann Productions showing his skills on cruise ships and he did this for ten months. Following this he did some opera in Orange County. When he twenty-one, he signed a management contract. He was also given a part in a tour of Hair which was a European tour for half a year. He has said of this time, “That was a huge turning point for me personally, because I finally got comfortable in my own skin. I was discovering a lot about myself. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, a lot of it”. 

He was picked to star with Val Kilmer as Joshua in The Ten Commandments: The Musical which took place in the Kodak Theatre. Through this role he was noticed by the casting director of Wicked. Consequently he was took on as the understudy for the part of Fiyero as well as an ensemble member from 2005 in the very first national touring version of Wicked from 2007 in the Los Angeles version. In the book version by Gregory Maguire, Fiyero is married to Sarima and they have three children called Irji, Manek, and Nor. He is unhappy in his marriage and starts an affair with Elphaba. However in the musical version he says he will marry Glinda but he doesn’t and he leaves Oz with Elphaba. He continued his parts with Wicked until 2008. Music was also always a major factor in his life. For a short amount of time he was the frontman in underground rock band The Citizen Vein alongside Steve Sidelnyk, Monte Pittman and Tommy Victor. The band did gigs and some “rough recordings” but alas, it didn’t work out and the band disbanded. He worked as well as a session player and did demo vocals.  

“I had a psychedelic experience where I looked up at the clouds and went, ‘Oh!’ I realized that we all have our own power, and that whatever I wanted to do, I had to make happen”. This was how he described his reason for trying out for American Idol. During the show he was consistently amazing with his performances such as his slowed down version of Cher’s “Believe” at boot camp, his unique take on Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” , his stripped back version of Smoky Robinson’s “Tracks of my Tears” and his truly spellbinding performance of the Michael Andrews feat. Gary Jules version of “Mad World”. In the end he came second to his best friend on the show who he shared a room with during the competition, country singer Kris Allen, a singer-songwriter and musician from Conway, Arkansas. Photographs of Adam smooching another man became public while he was in the competition. Lambert said that the photographs were of him, saying he had never been secretive about his life. In a Rolling Stone interview which he was on the cover of he told that he was gay two days after the announcement that he was the runner-up. “I don’t think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear that I’m gay. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for eight years as a gay man.”, he said. He also said in the interview “I’m proud of my sexuality. I embrace it. It’s just another part of me.” In the same interview, creator of American Idol Simon Fuller, said: “He’s like Marc Bolan meets Bowie, with a touch of Freddie Mercury and the sexiness of Prince”. With each of these artists been incredibly talented in their own right it gave an indication of how highly people in the music industry thought of his talent. But now it was up to the public to decide if they thought as highly of Mr. Lambert’s talents. 

Lambert’s first album was called For Your Entertainment after his debut single taken from the album. It was put in shops on November 23rd in 2009. Lambert worked with producers like Dr. Luke. Writers which came onboard included Ryan Tedder, Justin Hawkins, P!nk, and Lady Gaga. It went in at at number three in the Billboard 200. It also sold 198,000 copies in the US its first week.  The album has sold almost 2 million copies around the world and in the US it was certified gold. This was in June 2010. Lambert was given the honour of been the very first ex-contestant to be a guest mentor on American Idol in 2010. His mentoring skills were commended favourably. For someone who had considerably less experience of the music industry than many of the other guest mentors he managed to hold his own with aplomb. He also sang on the results show that week with lasers as a graphic in the background. 

In early June 2010, Lambert started his first tour entitled “Glam Nation”. He performed all around America before going onto Europe and Asia. The support acts were fellow American Idol contestant Allison Iraheta who finished fourth the year Adam was in the contest and who did a duet with him in the semi-finals of the competition and Australian artist Orianthi.  

Lambert came together with the surviving members of Queen in 2011 as the lead singer for the MTV Europe Music Awards which took place in Belfast. Queen was given the Global Icon Award. They ended the awards with a medley of “The Show Must Go On”, “We Will Rock You”, and “We Are the Champions”.  Roger Taylor said soon after they were trying to get Lambert to front further live shows for Queen, saying he was “a really great performer with an astonishing voice”. The first time he performed with Queen was on the American Idol final with Kris Allen. He performed with Queen as headline act for the UK’s Sonisphere Festival. The place where the performance was due to happen  was very moving because it was at Knebworth Park which was where Freddie Mercury last performed in 1986. Talking about the collaboration, Brian May said that he thought Adam was a “great interpreter” of Freddie Mercury’s songs. However, the gig was cancelled. Lambert later performed with Queen in Moscow, London and Wroclaw.  

He transferred from 19 Entertainment to Direct Management Group in 2011. He said of his second album, Trespassing, that he was going to be executive producer on the record. The song Trespassing that the album was called after was co-written with Pharrell Williams. Trespassing was put in shops on May 15, 2012. It reached the top of the U.S. iTunes album chart and on May 23rd, the album went in at number one in the Billboard 200 chart. It sold close to 78,000 copies. Lambert went on twitter to say that it was first time in history that an openly gay artist reached this amount of sales, and thanked his fans. The album was in the iTunes’s list of the “Best Pop Albums of 2012”. It was number nine in the chart. 

Lambert started the “We Are Glamily Tour”, in Seoul. His version of Rihanna’s “Stay” was a standout moment. It can viewed on YouTube and it is just stunning. The amount of emotion and depth he puts into the song is outstandingly beautiful. It’s a perfect version.  

As well as his music, Lambert does a lot for LGBT organisations and charities. He was given the “Equality Idol Award” by singer Sam Sparro at the Equality California Los Angeles Equality Awards in 2011. Lambert was honored with his mother the next month at the PFLAG National Los Angeles event for his “authentic” voice. They were both given awards which together combined to make the PFLAG logo to symbolize support both by and for families and friends of LGBT people. Lambert was given a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Music Artist in the year of 2010. Also in 2010, he spoke on a one-and-a-half minute video message for YouTube for the It Gets Better campaign which is a project by columnist Dan Savage in response to school bullying and the amount of suicides by young LGBT people. Other stars who spoke included Glee star Chris Colfer and former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. Lambert sang an acoustic version of a song from his first album called “Aftermath” on an American Idol results show in 2011. Following this, a dance remix twist was put on the song and it was put out, with money going to The Trevor Project which is the organisation at the forefront in America giving crisis intervention and prevention of suicide services to young LGBT people. He also got funds of $43,500 in aid of The Trevor Project when he worked with The Pennyroyal Studio to create his own Peace pendant. In 2011, donations from the Adam Lambert Glambert Fan Army for the MTV Dance Party Marathon made money to fight bullying in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month. The funding was split between the LGBT charities It Gets Better, The Trevor Project, GLAAD, GLSEN, GSA and HRC. Lambert also took part in Spirit Day which is a movement that started in 2010 to honor LGBT lives which have been cut short by suicide.  Lambert also was the headline artist at a fundraising benefit for Marylanders for Marriage Equality which was the organisation at the forefront of the campaign for a November 2012 ballot measure to uphold gay marriage. Lambert sees this issue as a non-partisan, human rights issue. Elton John and Queen + Adam Lambert joined with the Olena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation for a concert in aid of the fight against HIV/AIDS. The concert had the backing of UEFA and happened in Independence Square in Kiev on the eve of the Euro 2012 football final. The event was televised live. He was also one of many acts who took part in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012 in aid of the Rays Of Sunshine Children’s Charity. This charity ensures that wishes are given to children who are seriously ill. In 2009, he asked his fans to give to DonorsChoose.org which is a charity online that people give directly towards public school plans instead of sending him presents for his 28th birthday. Support centred on the music and arts programs. 2,435 fans gave $322,700. In 2010, Lambert joined with the charity once more for his “Glam A Classroom” campaign. This made funds of $208,590 via the support and generosity of 3,020 fans. In the same year, he worked on his second Signature Collection design alongside The Pennyroyal Studio. The collection all sold and a fund of $43,092 was raised for DonorsChoose. 

Lambert’s boyfriend for a long time was interior designer Drake LaBry who is now an artist. LaBry was born in Louisiana and was there until he was twelve when he and his family left for New Orleans. An example of his work is Blue Fish and his work is in the private art collections of many well known people. The pair split  Lambert was in a relationship with Sauli Koskinen from November 2010 when the pair met after one of Adam’s concerts at the Cable Factory in a bar in Helsinki, Finland where Sauli is originally from. He’s from Hyvinkää in Finland. “It was an instant connection.”, Adam said of their first meeting. He also said, “I approached him. There was physical attraction but also a great energy, like a glow. There was something very connected about the eye contact, the communication just flowed very easily.” Sauli likes travel, good food, sports, exercising by jogging around Töölö Bay, tattoos and film. Koskinen won the Finnish version of Big Brother when he was twenty-two back in 2007. It was the third season of the Finnish version. Since then he has craved out a career as a reporter in the entertainment realm. On their one year anniversary, Lambert tweeted Koskinen,  “Happy Anniversary Sauli!! One year ago tonight we met in Helsinki!!! I love you! http://pic.twitter.com/9q2esciR.” Sauli replied,“Happy Anniversary Adam!! I love u! :)”  Lambert and Koskinen started living together in L.A. But in April 2013, they announced that they had broke up but that the break-up had been on good terms and that they were still friends. “It’s been kind of on its way out in the last couple of months,” Lambert said. He also said, “Sauli and I remain really good friends, and I know it’s a cliché thing to say. But it’s 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. Things have just run their course.” Sauli said of the split, “Adam is a wonderful person and he’s always going to be a big part of my life. We’ve experienced great things together. I’m not sad or disappointed. Everything has a purpose. I’m feeling great and I’m looking forward to the future. My life in Los Angeles continues.” 

I think it is safe to say that there will be plenty more fantastic music and interesting and honest interviews from Adam Mitchel Lambert in the foreseeable future which is good news for all his Glamberts out there. Including me.

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