Adam Lambert interviewed in New York City by Kevan Kenney for the BUILD Series of programmes.
Adam Lambert chats about his Las Vegas Residency with Queen
After blowing everyone away on the eighth season of “American Idol,” Adam Lambert went on to release his debut album “For Your Entertainment” which included the international hit “Whatya Want From Me” and earned him a Grammy Award nomination. Adam followed this success with his second album “Trespassing” which became the first album to reach the number one spot in the US and Canada by an openly gay artist. His highly anticipated third album “The Original High” was his first for Warner Bros Records which was executive produced by Max Martin and Shellback and included the smash hit “Ghost Town.” Adam joined the cast of “Glee “for a six-episode story in 2013 and performed the role of Eddie in FOX’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” He went on to judge on “The X Factor Australia” where his artist, Isaiah, won the show. Adam has been touring as the lead singer of Queen (Queen + Adam Lambert) since 2012, including two huge world arena tours which sold out in minutes and gained critical acclaim. 2018 sees Adam continuing to tour the arenas of the world with Queen, alongside recording his fourth album coming soon.
Any apprehension stepping into Queen lead singer role as replacement for Freddie Mercury?:
ADAM LABERT: It was definitely something that crossed my mind and it was something that was discussed. I was, like, “Is that crazy for me to do it? Is it career suicide for me to even try this?” And we kind of looked at [Queen’s 2011 performance at the] EMAs [MTV Europe Music Awards] as sort of like testing the water a little bit. And truthfully, online it was a mixed reaction. Some people loved it, some people were like “How dare you?” which I took as a dare to keep doing it ‘cos I’m that kind of guy. I was like “Okay. I’ll do better next time.” And I think that pressure and that expectation from fans around the world of Queen and what they expected that pushed me to be even better and to grow.
On fine line between impersonating Mercury and channelling his spirit:
ADAM: That was one of the big things that intimidated me about this because Freddie was such a killer vocalist, so I had to figure it out. I’m like “Well, how do I do this without mimicking him?” Obviously, the reason why I know these songs and the reason why the entire audience knows these songs is because of the records that they put out. I decided really early to stop listening to the records, the originals, because then I would start imitating him. And I started trying to look at them as songs as opposed to recordings, if that makes sense. So I worked with the piano player, Spike [Edney]. I had him play some stuff for me. I put it on tape so that I could rehearse just with the instrumentation a little bit more and find my own kind of swag on it. And sometimes I definitely can’t avoid, because why should I? But then to a point, it’s also really important to kind of make sure I’m doing it from my own body and my own heart. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s weird, ‘cos it’s not something that was an immediate click for me. I kind of had to discover that – discover the balancing point.”
What is it about Las Vegas audience makes Queen’s forthcoming residency perfectly timed?:
ADAM: “Well, I think that the standard now in Vegas is really high. Look at all the Cirque [Du Soleil] shows. They are breathtaking to watch. A lot of artists are going 0 both heritage acts and current pop artists are doing residencies, are doing tours that go through there, so I think the bar is really high for quality there now. And I think for us as a collaboration, I think we’ve raised the bar on the visual side of things on this last tour and now it feels like we’re sort of in that wheelhouse that Vegas is going to expect.”
Will Adam approach Vegas residency differently to a tour show?
ADAM: Obviously, we’re in this space for three weeks. We’re doing ten shows over the three weeks – so it’s the first time we’ve ever done that many shows in one venue before. We’ve done maybe two, maybe three somewhere along the way there, but I think it’ll just give it a different energy for us to be really comfortable. When you’re on tour, you walk into a new venue and it sounds different, and you have a whole new audience there. You’re in a different city – there’s different flavor in the city or the weather or whatever. This will be consistent. So I think it’ll allow us to play more, I think it’ll allow us to experiment a little bit more ‘cos we’re gonna be really comfortable.”