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Adam Lambert

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Not to be confused with Adam Lamberg.
Adam Lambert
AdamLambert-Queen-Houston 7-9-14.jpg
Lambert performing at Queen + Adam Lambert concert 2014
Background information
Birth name Adam Mitchel Lambert
Born (1982-01-29) January 29, 1982 (age 33)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Origin San Diego, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2009–present
Associated acts Queen + Adam Lambert

Adam Mitchel Lambert (born January 29, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter and stage actor. Since 2009, he has sold over 2.5 million albums and 5 million singles worldwide.[4]

Lambert rose to fame in 2009 after finishing as runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol.[5] Later that year, he released his debut album, For Your Entertainment, which debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200.[6] The album spawned several hit singles, including "Whataya Want from Me", for which he received a Grammy nomination for "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance."

In 2012, Lambert released his second studio album, Trespassing. The album premiered at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, making him the first openly gay artist to top the album charts. In 2015, Lambert released his third album, The Original High, which debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200.

Alongside his solo career, Lambert has collaborated with rock band Queen as lead vocalist since 2011, culminating in a successful world-wide tour from 2014 to 2016.


Early life

Lambert was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on January 29, 1982,[7] to mother Leila, a dental hygienist; and father Eber Lambert, a program manager for Novatel Wireless. He has a younger brother, Neil.[8] His father is of mostly Norwegian descent and his mother is Jewish. Lambert was raised in his mother's religion.[9] Shortly after his birth, his family moved to San Diego, California.[10] Lambert began performing with Metropolitan Educational Theatre network (now MET2) from the age of nine.[10] A few years later, he began more intense acting and vocal coaching, continuing to perform with both MET2 and what was to become the Broadway Bound Youth Theatre Foundation, as he moved through Mesa Verde Middle School and then Mount Carmel High School.[8] There, he became heavily involved with theater and choir, performed vocals with the school's jazz band, and competed in the local Air Bands competitions.[10] He also appeared in local professional productions such as Hello, Dolly!, Camelot, The Music Man, Grease, Chess and Peter Pan, at venues such as The Starlight, The Lyceum and others.[10][11] After graduating in 2000, he attended California State University, Fullerton, but left after five weeks to move to Los Angeles: "I just decided that what I really wanted to do was try to work in the real entertainment world. Life is all about taking risks to get what you want."[11]

2001–08: Career beginnings

At 19, Lambert landed his first professional job, performing on a cruise ship for ten months with Anita Mann Productions. Afterwards, he performed in light opera in Orange County, California. By 21, he was signed with a manager and cast in a European tour of Hair.[12] In 2004, he appeared in the Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) production of Brigadoon[13] and a Pasadena Playhouse production of 110 in the Shade,[10] before being cast in the role of Joshua in The Ten Commandments: The Musical at the Kodak Theatre alongside Val Kilmer.[14] He came to the attention of the casting director for Wicked, and was hired as the understudy for the role of Fiyero and an ensemble member in the first national touring production of the musical from 2005; and the Los Angeles production from 2007. He finished performances with the musical in 2008.[10]

During this same period, Lambert briefly fronted underground rock band The Citizen Vein with Steve Sidelnyk, Tommy Victor and Monte Pittman.[15] He also worked as a demo singer and a session musician; a compilation of his 2005 recordings were released in 2009 on the album Take One[16] by Hi Fi Recordings and Wilshire Records.

2009: American Idol

Lambert singing the national anthem during his visit to MCAS Miramar (2009)

Lambert auditioned for the eighth season of American Idol in San Francisco, California by singing "Rock with You" and "Bohemian Rhapsody."[15] Advancing to Hollywood week, he performed "What's Up" and "Believe" solo, and "Some Kind of Wonderful" in the group effort.[17] Simon Cowell voiced some concern about his theatricality, but Randy Jackson found it "current."[15] He advanced easily to the top 36 performing "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction",[17] after which he was voted into the top 13.

In the first week of live shows, his rendition of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" was praised by all four judges.[18] For Country week, he sang a sitar-infused version of "Ring of Fire". His Motown night acoustic version of The Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears" drew praise from judges and a standing ovation from Smokey Robinson, the week's mentor. Advancing to the top 8, he sang the 2001 Michael Andrews and Gary Jules arrangement of "Mad World". Because the show had exceeded its time slot, only Cowell gave a critique, which he did by giving Lambert a standing ovation, the only one he bestowed during his decade-long run as an American Idol judge. After Lambert sang "If I Can't Have You", delivering what DioGuardi called his "most memorable performance", Cowell described his vocals as "immaculate." For the top 3 show, he performed "One" before Cowell declared, "If you are not in the final next week, it will be one of the biggest upsets"; and continued with "Cryin'" before Abdul affirmed, "we'll be seeing you next week and many years after that".[18]

Lambert performed three solos in the finale, a reprise of "Mad World", followed by the 1960s civil rights anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come", to tremendously positive judge reaction. After his performance of the mandatory winner's single, "No Boundaries" Cowell summed up Lambert's journey: "Over the entire season, you've been one of the best, most original contestants we've ever had on the show. The hope and whole idea of a show like this is to find a worldwide star, and I truly believe we've found that in you".[18] Lambert was announced as the runner-up for the eighth season of American Idol. Upon winning, Allen stated: "Adam deserved this", later explaining he thought Lambert deserved to win as much as he did, and that Lambert "was the most consistent person all year. He was seriously one of the most gifted performers that I've ever met".[19] Lambert's version of the winner's single was released alongside Allen's. The LA Times later ranked Lambert fifth in its list of the top 120 American Idol contestants, selected from the first nine seasons of the show, above Allen.[20]

Photos of Lambert kissing another man surfaced during the American Idol competition. Highlighted as controversial, they were displayed by conservative commentators on The O'Reilly Factor, who called them "embarrassing," but did not agree that the images would impact the competition.[21] Lambert confirmed that the photos were of him, stating he had nothing to hide and had always been open about his life.[22] Mainstream media speculated on his sexuality and the readiness of American Idol voters for an openly gay winner.[23] He confirmed that he was gay in a Rolling Stone cover interview shortly thereafter.[24]

  • Note Due to the judges using their one save to save Matt Giraud, the Top 7 remained intact for another week.

Lambert performed "Mad World" on The Early Show,[25] and Live with Regis and Kelly.[26] He began the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2009 in July and that summer was also the recipient of two awards: the Young Hollywood Award for Artist of the Year and the Teen Choice Award for Male Reality/Variety Star.[27][28]

2009–11: For Your Entertainment and touring

Lambert at the 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards (2010)

For Your Entertainment, Lambert's first studio album, was released on November 23, 2009. Debuting at number three on the Billboard 200 and selling 198,000 copies in the US its first week,[6] the album saw Lambert in collaboration with producers such as Rob Cavallo, Dr. Luke and Max Martin; and writers who included Matthew Bellamy, Ryan Tedder, Rivers Cuomo, Justin Hawkins, P!nk, Linda Perry and Lady Gaga.[29] At Metacritic, the album received a score of 71, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Spin said the album is "perhaps the strongest, most flavorful batch of tunes to reach an AI vet, and Lambert's polymorphous vocal skills unite dancefloor strut and hard-rock pomp in a convincing glam package". Rolling Stone, however, gave it a more mixed review: "The songs sound great but feel strangely stuffy -- [it] seems like a disc that was overthought. Next time, the hugely talented Lambert should make sure he's going straight for the gut."[30] Its Claude Kelly and Dr. Luke-produced lead single "For Your Entertainment" preceded the album's release but was not as successful as its second single "Whataya Want from Me" which impacted on charts worldwide, became his highest-peaking single (at number 10) on the Billboard Hot 100, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 53rd awards ceremony. Another notable single was "Time for Miracles", the ending theme for the disaster movie 2012. As of April 2012, For Your Entertainment had sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide[31] and was certified gold in the US in June 2010.[32]

On November 22, Lambert performed "For Your Entertainment" at the American Music Awards of 2009. The controversial performance, which was the night's finale, showed Lambert kissing a male bassist and grabbing the crotch of another.[33] In response, the Parents Television Council, a conservative decency group, urged viewers to complain to the FCC,[34] though the performance aired "outside the FCC's usual 6am-10pm time frame prohibiting the broadcast of indecent material".[35] ABC received about 1,500 telephoned complaints and cancelled Lambert's November 25 performance on Good Morning America.[36] Discussing the incident in a Rolling Stone interview, Lambert stated: "Female performers have been doing this for years—pushing the envelope about sexuality—and the minute a man does it, everybody freaks out. We're in 2009—it's time to take risks, be a little more brave, time to open people's eyes and if it offends them, then maybe I'm not for them. My goal was not to piss people off, it was to promote freedom of expression and artistic freedom."[33]

In the months leading to his album release, Lambert appeared on the cover of magazines such as Entertainment Weekly in May 2009,[37] Rolling Stone in June 2009[38] and Details in November 2009.[39] His Rolling Stone cover story became the magazine's best selling issue of the year.[40] He appeared on the cover of Out magazine in their 2009 "Out 100" issue, sparking controversy as Out's publisher issued him an open letter questioning the "gayness" of his image.[41] In April, he became one of People Magazine's Most Beautiful People 2010.[42] He was chosen for Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009, and interviewed on the December 10 show.[43] In late 2009, he performed on the Late Show with David Letterman,[44] The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien,[45] the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance,[46] The Jay Leno Show[47] and The Oprah Winfrey Show.[48] He performed his first official solo concert, which sold-out, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.[49]

In April 2010, Lambert returned to American Idol as the first former contestant to mentor during an Elvis Presley themed week, where he also performed.[50] In June, he appeared on Canada's MuchMusic Video Awards to receive the UR Fav International Video award for "Whataya Want from Me."[51]

In early June 2010, Lambert embarked on his debut headlining Glam Nation Tour, playing in the United States, Europe and Asia for 113 shows, nearly all of them sold out.[52] The Indianapolis show was filmed for Lambert's first video release Glam Nation Live, a 13-track CD with DVD.[53] The concert, which MTV called "out of this world", and his subsequent video release, were well-received, with Entertainment Weekly saying it "sizzles" with the energy that Lambert's vocals bring in a live concert setting.[54] Glam Nation Live debuted at number one on the SoundScan Music Video chart[55] and landed at number 12 on Billboard's 2011 year-end music video sales chart.[56] This followed the release of his first extended play, Acoustic Live!, consisting of acoustic versions of songs recorded live in various countries. The EP garnered excellent reviews and was called "electrifying" by the New York Daily News.[57][58]

In August, he was profiled in an hour-long documentary for VH1's Behind the Music series;[59] and later in the year mentored for a second time on The Hub TV Network's Majors & Minors, coaching singing contestants who were children.[60] In November 2011, Lambert joined Queen as lead singer at the MTV Europe Music Awards, where the band was honored with the Global Icon Award and they performed a medley of classic hits.[61]

2012–13: Trespassing

Lambert performing on tour in Kiev, Ukraine March 2013

Lambert changed management from 19 Entertainment to Direct Management Group in August 2011.[62] The title track of his second studio album, Trespassing, was co-written with Pharrell Williams; while the album's lead single, "Better Than I Know Myself", a collaboration with Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly, was released digitally on December 20, 2011.

Trespassing was released on May 15, 2012 to positive reviews.[3][63][64] On May 23, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 77,000 copies.[65] and at number three in United Kingdom's midweek chart.[66]

His second single "Never Close Our Eyes", written by Bruno Mars and produced by Dr. Luke, was released digitally on April 17, to positive reviews.[67][68] Lambert returned to American Idol for his third consecutive year on the results show that preceded Idol's final week. The May 17 performance of "Never Close Our Eyes" was touted for its vibrant energy and dazzle, as well as for the powerhouse vocals that had become his signature.[69][70]

Throughout the spring and summer of 2012, Lambert performed across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, appearing in festivals, on radio and television, and in concert, including one of several headlining spots at Summer Sonic Festival 2012.[71] In September, he appeared on the finale of The Voice of China, the country's most popular program.[72]

Lambert joined Queen for a six concert date collaboration, kicking off with a two-hour extravaganza under the auspices of the UEFA in Kiev on June 30, the eve of the Euro 2012 Football Championship. Viewed live by hundreds of thousands in Ukraine's main square,[73] the performance was touted for the strength of Lambert's showmanship, vocal excellence and interpretative skill, which confidently balanced old and new.[74] Almost uniformly, reviews noted Lambert's vocals, his "sizzle" and "electrifying" presence; along with the synergy of the collaboration, which Brian May called "organic".[75]

Lambert's third single, "Trespassing", was released as part of an eight track EP of remixes that included a radio edit of the original song. Entitled Trespassing Remixes, it became available to radio and digital outlets in October, with hard copies sold from his official website only.[76] "Trespassing" debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales chart, giving Lambert his tenth number one Billboard entry.[2]

On October 23, Lambert acted and performed two songs from Trespassing in the Halloween special of the television series Pretty Little Liars.[77]

Lambert appeared for the first time in South Africa in November, headlining arena concerts in Cape Town and Johannesburg.[78] South Africa's The Sunday Times called Lambert's Johannesburg performance "epic" and "electrifying," stating: "His voice is stunning and his entertainment factor is through the roof."[79] Later that month he was in Hong Kong delivering a "powerful performance" at the 2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards (2012 MAMA.)[80]

The album Trespassing was rewarded in year end lists and polls, among them best album of the year at Rolling Stone,[81] number three at Billboard for "Favorite 200 No.1" albums,[82] and number eight on People magazine's list of "Top Ten Music" in its year end issue.[83] Queen + Adam Lambert was named best live act of 2012 at Gigwise,[84] and one of Classic Rock magazine's top events of the year.[85]

Lambert left 19 Recordings, when his contract expired, but remained with RCA Records.[86] On February 17, the newly dubbed "We Are Glamily Tour" kicked off in Seoul, with seventeen stops throughout Asia and Europe.[87] His first solo concert in Hong Kong on March 5 was noted for the live debut of two songs, "Time for Miracles" and a cover of "Shout", called "stunning" and vocally impressive.[88]

Lambert won the "Favorite International Artist" category at the STAR TV 17th Chinese Music Awards held in Macau in April, also performing two songs from Trespassing.[89] Lambert also appeared as a guest judge during auditions on Chinese Idol.[90]

On May 11, Lambert for his album Trespassing along with Frank Ocean for Channel Orange were co-recipients of the award for Outstanding Music Artist at the 24th GLAAD Media Awards.[91] He returned to American Idol on May 16 for the fourth consecutive year, performing a duet with Angie Miller on the twelfth season finale of American Idol, where Miller was a finalist in the top three. The pair tackled the song "Titanium."[92]

In a letter sent to The Hollywood Reporter on July 12, Lambert revealed that he would be leaving RCA due to "creative differences" centering most directly on his next release. With RCA "pushing" for a covers album, Lambert stated: "my heart is simply not in doing a covers album . . . I am already deep into writing new material with some very talented colleagues for a brand new album, and I can't tell you how excited I am to share this new sound and direction. This music is where my heart is".[93]

Lambert unveiled a collaboration with Nile Rodgers and DJ-producer Avicii when the three appeared onstage together for the track's US debut at an August benefit concert on Long Island.[94] The song, entitled "Lay Me Down", released on Avicii's debut album TRUE on September 17 in the US, though it had already begun climbing charts worldwide.[95] It received wide acclaim in previews, and landed at number one on a compilation of Rolling Stone's favorite songs, albums and videos.[96]

Lambert and Queen made their first live concert appearance in the United States, closing the night on September 20, at the 2013 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Arena. Reviews for the performance were stellar, with Rolling Stone stating that they dominated night one, also calling them most anticipated act of the evening, with Lambert "astound[ing] the audience".[97] Billboard was equally laudatory, remarking on the "magnetic power" of the vocals, adding that Lambert "oozed charisma".[98]

Lambert made his debut on the fifth season of Glee on November 7, playing the role of Elliot "Starchild" Gilbert in what became a multi-episode arc. His rendition of Lady Gaga's "Marry the Night" was released prior to air date, garnering publicity and positive reviews. Accolades for Lambert's debut spotlighted his powerful vocals and dynamic presence. His remake of "Marry the Night" impacted Billboard the following week, debuting at number 39 on the Pop Digital Songs chart.[99]

Lambert was in attendance to receive two awards at China's Huading Music Awards, Best International Male Vocalist and the Fan Choice Award, on December 18 in Shanghai.[100] Lambert tied at number three on Forbes annual list of top earning American Idols, due to his live performances and other endeavors.[101]

2014–present: The Original High and Queen + Adam Lambert

Main article: Queen + Adam Lambert
Lambert and May on Queen + Adam Lambert tour 2014

In February 2014, Lambert returned to American Idol, where he was a guest mentor during Randy Jackson's two-night "Boot Camp" workshop.[102] He was a guest judge on the season 6 premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race the following week.[103] Glee returned on February 25 with the episode Frenemies featuring Lambert in an "epic" performance of The Darkness's "I Believe in a Thing Called Love".[104] He also featured in the episodes Trio and New New York.

On May 27, 2014, a compilation album, The Very Best of Adam Lambert, was released by Sony Legacy's Playlist series, featuring hits and other recordings from Lambert's two studio albums along with studio recordings from American Idol and Glee.[105] It debuted on the Billboard Top Internet Albums chart at number 14.[106]

Lambert along with Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen had a 35 date tour, which was a critical and commercial success, as reviews highlighted the musical virtuosity of May and Taylor, alongside Lambert's impressive vocal dexterity, charisma and affinity with both the look and feel of Queen's repertoire – all augmented by the elaborate spectacle of the production.[107] In 2015, a second leg of eleven countries and 26 dates in Europe and the UK was performed.[108] On November 4, Queen + Adam Lambert was named Band of the Year at the 10th annual Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards.[109]

Following a much reviewed "soaring" performance on the UK's X Factor,[110] Lambert and Queen presented an exclusive New Year's Eve concert in London at Central Hall Westminster, "Queen + Adam Lambert Rock Big Ben Live." The praised concert was called "pitch-perfect."[111] In January, Queen + Adam Lambert appeared on the cover of Classic Rock magazine; he was applauded in the cover story by Taylor and May, who called him "a gift from god".[112] In September, Queen and Lambert headlined Rock in Rio's "30 Years Celebration" in Brazil, as part of a six date South American tour.[113] The tour was a critical success; and their Rock in Rio performance was the seven-day festival's most popular, based on ticket sales.[114]

On January 15, 2015, Lambert became the first former contestant to appear as a guest judge on American Idol at the fourteenth season's New York City auditions, filling in for Keith Urban.[115] That same day, Lambert revealed in a Billboard interview that he had signed to Warner Bros. Records within twenty-four hours after announcing his departure from RCA. He further stated that his upcoming studio release, scheduled for early summer with a single out in April, would be executive produced by the Swedish songwriter-producers Max Martin and Shellback.[116]

Promotion for the new album, The Original High, began with a series of magazine cover stories, television appearances and teasers of the lead single, "Ghost Town", prior to its release on April 21, 2015. Also notable was "Ghost Town"'s performance at the 2015 Logo Trailblazer Honors;[117] and its performance in early August on Australia's The Voice. Spin named it one of 2015's best songs so far; and The New York Times stated it "was perhaps his best single to date."[118][119] "Ghost Town" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 73,[120] and has been charting on the Billboard Adult Top 40.[121]

The Original High debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 selling 42,000 albums and moving 47,000 total units, including track and streaming equivalent albums.[122] Lambert garnered his first top ten album in the United Kingdom, with a number eight debut on the UK Albums Chart.[123] As with "Ghost Town", reviews were largely positive. In August, Lambert announced the The Original High Tour would commence in January 2016 with six dates in Australia and New Zealand, followed by the announcement of seven more dates in Japan.[124]

On August 29, Lambert received the award for Best Foreign Artist at the 2015 Eska Music Awards held in Szczecin, Poland.[125] On the 30th, he made his first UK festival appearance, performing a set at Fusion Festival 2015 in Birmingham.[126]

In early October, Lambert released "Another Lonely Night".[127] It debuted live as the new single at 538LIVE XXL at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, and a few days later on X Factor Australia.[128][129] Shortly thereafter, Lambert announced the addition of twenty dates to "The Original High Tour" to include thirteen European countries; "RedFest DXB", a two-day music festival, in Dubai; and two dates in China.[130] The tour will officially commence at #Celebrate2016 in The Float at Marina Bay, Singapore on 31 December 2015; with North American dates forthcoming.[131]

Queen + Adam Lambert revealed in early November that they would headline Rock in Rio Lisboa, Sweden Rock Festival and Isle of Wight Festival in May and June, 2016; after which announcing an outdoor arena concert in Italy, also in June.[132][133]



Critics, celebrities and colleagues have been outspoken in their praise for Lambert's vocal command. Kathie Bretches-Urban, co-founder of Metropolitan Educational Theatre Network (now MET2)[134] where Lambert performed as a youth, said "He has invested his entire life in music and performing . . . He'd just come out onstage, and it popped".[135] Record producer Rob Cavallo once described Lambert as having an unlimited range, and able to sing every note on a guitar from the lowest to the highest.[136] In a March 2012 interview, rock artist Meat Loaf rated Lambert's voice in the company of only two others, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin, based on "that jet pack quality to their voice that just lets it take off."[137] Lambert's total recorded vocal range spans from bass E to B flat above tenor high C (E – B♭5), giving him three octaves and six semitones.[138]

In 2011, when he took the stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards alongside honoree Queen, where guitarist Brian May, noted that Lambert's voice has "sensitivity, depth, maturity, and awesome range and power which will make jaws drop";[139] while Roger Taylor added that Lambert had "the best range I've ever heard" in a BBC interview in 2012.[140] Pharrell Williams, after collaborating with Lambert on his Trespassing album, commented, "This kid has a voice like a siren – there's no guys singing in that Steve Winwood-Peter Cetera range."[141]

In October 2012, British tabloid the Sunday Mirror reported that Lambert had insured his voice for $48 million. A source told the newspaper: "Insurance for stars is a big deal in the US and Adam's voice is his bacon." [142]

Style and image

Lambert is best known for his theatrical performance style and meticulous attention to detail in all aspects of his personal presentation. He draws upon extensive stage experience in the ease with which he can refine and define his image through fashion and other imagery, which are essential to how he chooses to inhabit his songs, rivet his audiences and showcase his individuality.[143] While a contestant on American Idol, Lambert's precise yet varied stagings of himself kept audiences and judges glued as much to his presentation as to his vocal talent.[144] His signature flamboyance and glam rock styling was a break-out moment in men's fashion, duly noted by fashion publications and taste-makers, who compared him to Lady Gaga in terms of crossing style boundaries and being unabashedly individual.[145][146]

Lambert made three fashion related TV appearances at the close of 2010. He fused his passion for music and fashion on MTV's "Talk@Playground", appearing in discussion with Skingraft designer Jonny Cota.[147] He was a guest judge on Project Runway, in an episode that styled a rock band for their upcoming Rolling Stone cover.[148] He was the subject for whom the young designers of "All on the Line with Joe Zee" created a modern look, which he then critiqued along with the show's hosts.[149]

Lambert continued to grace the covers of magazines, moving more specifically into the fashion and culture space.[150][151] Reflecting the mood and concept behind his album Trespassing, the Fault Magazine fashion shoot exemplified Lambert's commitment to aligning the elements of his artistic vision so that a cohesive narrative emerges.[152] When Lambert appeared on the December 2012 cover of London-based high style magazine "Fiasco"'s "Obsession" issue, he again took the opportunity to manipulate and provoke with his image and style. Sporting a sophisticated, minimalist look that recalled old Hollywood, Lambert played with male stereotypes and representations; and in the interview, emphasized that his fashion and presentation are often disparate from gay as well as straight regimes: "For the general audience, they look at the way I style myself and they go, 'Errrr, that's gay,' but you ask a handful of gay guys and they're like, 'I would never wear that!'".[153][154] In August, 2015, he was one of four artists to appear on the cover of Billboard's "Music's Men of Style" issue. He discussed his natural shift towards a cleaner, more classic look; and reiterated that the intersection of music and fashion—the constant motion of trends—is a fascination and part of being a pop musician.[155]


Lambert was inspired when his father gave him access to his large record collection of 1970s music. He was attracted to theatrical rock from artists like Madonna, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Queen, Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin.[156] Lambert referred to Michael Jackson and Madonna as "King and Queen" because they creatively merged music with makeup, fashion and cinematic video.[157] Among his strongest influences are British singers such as Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Robert Plant: "Those are the people I really gravitate towards".[158]

In March 2013, Lambert wrote an article for Out magazine's tribute to David Bowie, who was about to release a new album. In it, he explained how Bowie helped inform the expression of his own sexuality and gender in his work: "A light bulb went off—I wasn't into drag, I didn't want to dress like a woman, but I wanted to express my gender and artistic identity differently than the mainstream. Bowie was a key inspiration. It was about the androgyny of mixing it up, and that was what was so incredible about his concepts -- he was one of the first rock stars to really push the idea that sexuality was not black and white but an exploration".[159]

Lambert's own music has been influenced by numerous genres including classic rock, pop, and electronic music; and his performance style draws heavily from his stage experience.[160] Lambert envisions himself as the type of artist "that creates from the ground up, not only an amazing song, but one with a beat, and a story, and a look, and a theme".[157] For his second album, he used inspiration from classic disco, 1990s electronica, funk and dubstep music.[141]


Lambert performing at the opening of the Life Ball 2013 in Vienna, Austria

Since his appearance on American Idol, Lambert has lent considerable support and time to charitable causes. As of October 2011, financial donations had reached the $1,000,000 mark.[161]

In January 2010, in lieu of gifts for his 28th birthday, Lambert asked fans to donate to, as 2,435 fans donated $322,700.[162] In June 2010, Lambert teamed with the charity for his "Glam A Classroom" campaign, raising another $208,590, supported by 3,020 fans.[163] In October 2010, he collaborated on a second Signature Collection with The Pennyroyal Studio, which sold out after raising $43,092 for DonorsChoose.[164] Lambert contributed to the MusiCares charity when he and The Pennyroyal Studio collaborated on the design of an Eye of Horus pendant, whose sale raised $32,000 in 7 days.[165]

In January 2011, he began a campaign to raise $29,000 for charity: water to commemorate his 29th birthday and the campaign raised $323,803, which helped 16,190 people receive clean water.[166] He continued his efforts for his 30th birthday, in January 2012, this time asking fans to "give up" their birthdays in an ongoing drive that had raised $82,000 by May 2012.[167] In June 2013, an accounting by charity:water listed 55 projects thus far completed with funds raised by Lambert.[168]

Lambert returned to the American Idol stage for the March 10, 2011, results show, singing an acoustic version of his For Your Entertainment track "Aftermath". After the performance, a dance remix version was made available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting The Trevor Project.[169]

Lambert performed at a Royal Albert Hall concert on June 7, 2012 benefiting the Rays Of Sunshine Children's Charity.[170]

On June 30, Elton John and Queen + Adam Lambert coordinated with the Olena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation for a concert to benefit the fight against HIV/AIDS.[171] On September 25, 2012, Lambert headlined a fundraising benefit in Washington, D.C. on behalf of Marylanders for Marriage Equality.[172]

On January 31, 2013 he received the Unity Award, which honors artists whose music spreads "peaceful messages," from the We Are Family Foundation at their 2012 Celebration Gala 2.0.[173] Lambert "donated" his 31st birthday to the charity, raising more than $82,000 in just over a week.[174] For his 32nd birthday, he chose the charity again, coordinating with artist Chris Saunders on the creation of limited and open edition prints and posters whose sales benefited the foundation.[175]

On May 25, Lambert was a participant in the opening ceremony of 2013 Life Ball in Vienna.[176] Appearing as Ali Baba, he performed the gala's official song, "Love Wins Over Glamour", which he co-wrote with the Vienna-based production team Beat4Feet.[177]

On June 23, he sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" to open Broadway Bares to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.[178] Lambert was a featured performer at the August 19th Dance Party event in Riverhead, Long Island, benefiting All For The East End (AFTEE).[94] On November 2, he was the musical entertainer for South Florida's Make-A-Wish Foundation Ball.[179] The sold-out 2013 Ball raised a record breaking 2 million dollars.[180]

Lambert is featured in the video launch for UNICEF's #IMAGINE campaign.[181] In collaboration with Queen, he is a participant in Coca-Cola's [RED] campaign to help end mother-to-child HIV transmission.[182] In June, 2015 he performed at the Roundhouse for the "One for the Boys" Fashion Ball.[183] Earlier that month, he performed at the "Live Aid Uusi Lastensairaala" concert in Finland.[184]

LGBT advocacy and social activism

Lambert at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards (2010)

Lambert, one of the first artists to bring an uncensored gay perspective to American mainstream pop, has contributed to the advancement of equality and social acceptance in the LGBT community. He should also be seen as a contributor to social justice, a concept based upon egalitarian social principles and the propagation of equality via social activism.[185] Lambert stated, "I feel like with celebrity and visibility and fame, there's a responsibility to try to give back and try to use the visibility for the greater good. It's not all about me. It's about trying to raise awareness and getting people to take action."[186] His heavily provocative AMA performance, featuring a gay kiss on live television, served to push societal boundaries by highlighting a double standard of ethics in media regulation as well.[33][187]

Lambert was presented the "Equality Idol Award" by Sam Sparro at the Equality California Los Angeles Equality Awards in August 2011 for being an exemplary role model for the LGBT community.[188] He was honored with his mother the following month at the PFLAG National Los Angeles event for his "authentic" voice.[189]

Lambert received a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Music Artist in 2010. The same year, he lent his voice to a one-and-a-half minute video message on YouTube for the It Gets Better campaign – a project created by columnist Dan Savage in response to school bullying and a rash of suicides among LGBT youth.[190]

The following March, he released a Billboard remix version of his For Your Entertainment song "Aftermath" with a portion of the proceeds going to support The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.[191] He raised an additional $43,500 for The Trevor Project after collaborating with The Pennyroyal Studio to make his own Peace pendant.[192] In October 2011, donations on behalf of the Adam Lambert Glambert Fan Army for the MTV Dance Party Marathon raised funds to combat bullying in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month.[193] Lambert was a participant in Spirit Day, a movement begun in 2010 to honor LGBT lives lost to suicide, "going purple" in the push to support LGBT youth in the fight against bullying.[194]

In December, he performed at the "Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays" benefit concert, which raised funds in support of the "True Colors Fund" and the organization's "Forty to None Project", targeting the epidemic of homelessness among LGBT youth.[195] In January 2012, in an exclusive interview with UK music news magazine Pressparty, Lambert noted that despite social progress in the US, there was still a long way to go, particularly in the music industry: "I still long for the LGBT community's diversity to be more broadly represented in the entertainment industry. I think larger strides have been made in film and TV but we still are just at the beginning with mainstream music. I consider myself a post-gay man working in a pre-gay industry."[196]

Lambert was the headline performer at the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade and Festival on April 14, 2013, and was also given the key to the city.[197] Lambert was presented with the prestigious GLAAD Davidson/Valentini Award on May 11 in San Francisco. The honorary award is bestowed yearly to out media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equal rights in the LGBT community.[198]

On May 30, he was honored with the "Hope of Los Angeles Award" as part of the city's 3rd Annual LGBT Heritage Month.[199] Lambert is featured in "The New F Word" campaign sponsored by the grassroots Friend Movement organization, which has launched a global effort aimed at self-empowerment and raising anti-bullying awareness through positive images in media and the arts.[200] On June 15, declared "Adam Lambert Day" by the City Council,[201] he headlined Pittsburgh's "Pride in the Street" concert.[202]

In honor of Pride season, Lambert partnered with AT&T and The Trevor Project for the "Live Proud Campaign", aiming to empower and raise awareness in the LGBTQ community.[203] The $50,000 goal was met and on July 3 a check presentation was made to The Trevor Project during the private finale show given by Lambert.[204]

At the October 15 Los Angeles premiere of the movie Bridegroom, Lambert revealed that he had donated a song to the score, and felt "humbled" to be connected to the project. The powerful documentary about the intersection of love and the politics of marriage equality, won the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival's Audience Award for Best Documentary.[205]

Lambert was one of the featured performers at the TrevorLIVE gala on December 8, at the Hollywood Palladium.[206] In February 2014 he performed for the Family Equality Council's 10th Annual Los Angeles Award's dinner.[207] In June 2014, he teamed up with AT&T for its second annual "Live Proud" campaign, again in support of LGBT Pride Month and Pride season.[208][209]

In April, 2015 he was the recipient of the "Music Icon" award at the 2015 British LGBT Awards, honoring those whose actions help promote equality.[210] In October, he received the "Music Award/ International Album" at the Attitude Pride Awards in London.[211]

Personal life

Lambert was in a relationship with Finnish entertainment reporter and reality TV personality Sauli Koskinen from November 2010[212] until April 2013, when Lambert announced that they had split up amicably and expected to remain friends.[213]


Concert tours


Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Ten Commandments: The Musical Joshua Film debut
2009–2010 American Idol Himself (contestant & mentor) Season 8, 2nd place; Season 9, Episode "Top 9 – Elvis Presley"
2011 Project Runway Himself (guest judge) Episode, "Image is Everything"
2011 Majors & Minors Himself (mentor) 2 episodes
2012 Pretty Little Liars Himself Episode, "This Is a Dark Ride"
2012 VH1 Divas Himself (host, performer) Live television benefit concert
2013–2014 Glee Elliot "Starchild" Gilbert 5 episodes
2014 American Idol Himself (mentor) Season 13, "Boot Camp"
2014 RuPaul's Drag Race Himself (Guest Mentor) Season 6, Premiere
2015 American Idol Himself (guest judge) Season 14 Long Island Auditions

See also


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External links