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Adam Lambert On His New Album And Queer Visibility

"When I first came out there wasn’t really anybody that was out gay doing the pop music circuit."
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Ahead of the release of his new album, High Drama solo artist and collaborator with legendary band Queen, Adam Lambert sits down with marie claire to talk reinventing the classics, his favourite Aussie locations and the importance of Queer visibility in the music industry.

Marie Claire: The last time I saw you was just before the Queen concert at the end of February 2020, and just before Covid shut everything down.

Adam Lambert: That show was incredible. The energy in the audience was amazing, and their energy charged us up. It was one of my favourite tours that I’ve ever done with Queen. We were used to playing smaller arenas so to play in the big stadiums in Australia was a treat.

MC: Your next album, High Dramais where you do covers of some of your favourite songs. I have to say High Drama is the perfect name for this album.

AL: The funny thing about the name is it came out of a very simple conversation that I was having with the head of the label in London. We were talking about the plan and I told him, “I want to take these songs and reinvent them. I think they all need to just be high drama,” and we both looked at each other and said, “Well, that’s the album title.”

MC: I imagine it was difficult narrowing down the list of songs.

AL: It was hard because there were so many good ideas and so many songs that I love. I think what we managed to do was find this great mix of classics that are really well known, mixed with contemporary songs, some of which are very obscure. So there’s something for everybody on it.

MC: They’re so vastly different and yet work so well together as an album.

AL: Thank you. It was about making sure the sound had a rockstar sensibility. It has to feel like the guy that you saw on stage with Queen.

Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert. (Credit: Supplied.)

MC: Do you have a favourite?

AL: It changes daily. I remember when I got the final production back on “I Can’t Stand the Rain” and I was so excited by that because I wasn’t surewhere we were going to go with that one, but it took on a life of its own.

MC: I’m a massive Lana Del Rey fan, so I was very excited about “West Coast”.

AL: OK, humble-brag moment…I recorded that in one take.

MC: You’ve been to Australia quite a lot; what do you love about coming here?

AL: Last time I was lucky enough to stay on North Bondi Beach. The thing I love about Australia is you guys really know how to live the good life. Aussies appreciate and value their free time and the emphasis is on joy.

MC: You’ve been in music and the spotlight since American Idol in 2009. Looking back, in what ways has the industry changed?

AL: Personally, for me, when I first came out on the scene right after American Idol, as far as the US was concerned, there wasn’t really anybody that was out gay doing the pop music circuit.

I was fascinated by that fact and I was excited for the challenge. But it wasn’t always easy. There were definitely people on the radio, for example, who were scared of putting a gay artist on the airwaves.

Looking back now, I realise it was really exciting to be part of a wave of visibility. I do feel fortunate that I got into it when I was a little older, because I had gone through my twenties really getting to … be comfortable in my skin. And so by the time we did this, I felt secure enough to own it and talk about it. Now the music industry is so much more open … And queer people are a viable part of the music industry on a mainstream level.

High Drama is out February 24.

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