Since his debut album, “For Your Entertainment,” dropped in 2009, the openly gay Lambert has sold nearly 2 million albums worldwide, earned a Grammy nomination and became the first “American Idol” alum to tour the world in support of a debut album immediately following an “Idol” season.
“Trespassing,” due out May 15, finds Lambert co-writing many of the songs and collaborating with an impressive list of artists, producers and songwriters, including Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers and Bruno Mars.
Lambert talked to PGN about his upcoming album and the wild ride his career has been since “American Idol” made him a household name.
PGN: How does your new album, “Trespassing,” compare to your debut album?
AL: I took more time with this album. The first album I did in about two months while I was on a nationwide tour with the rest of the American Idols. So there wasn’t quite enough time to think about anything or improve on anything. In some respects, it was kind of a cool creative experience. I’m a pretty analytical kind of guy and it forced me to be more impulsive creatively. On this one I got to write a lot of music. I got to spend time improving it and fine-tuning. I recorded 40 songs for this album and the final 12 are the best of the best of the best.
PGN: How did you end up getting the gig singing with Queen?
AL: They came on the “American Idol” finale and we did “We are the Champions” with them. It was so surreal and there was so much going on at the time that I don’t think I fully processed it. Recently, about three months ago, they asked me to perform with them on the European MTV Music Awards. It was such an honor to be up there with them. It felt very natural and just clicked. So they came to me and they asked me to do shows with them this summer and I said, “Yeah man, let’s do it.”
PGN: So, let’s say after the performances, Queen wants to do an album or a world tour. Would you consider putting your career on hold and being their singer?
AL: I don’t think I would. I’m a songwriter as well and, right now, my main priority is my album and my career. Secondly, I don’t think they are going to want to do a world tour. Those guys have been around. They are veterans. They are royalty. I don’t think they want to bust their ass on a world tour. I think these shows are going to be an amazing event and they are going to be incredible. They’re going to be the kind of thing you can’t replicate. It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime night. I think I’m going to learn a lot from it and I’m honored to share the stage with them, but I don’t think it’s going to be a permanent thing.
PGN: Most performers who break big from “American Idol” usually do a lot of performances in the U.S. When your first album came out, you did a lot of international touring. Why did you focus so much on foreign markets?
AL: When I first met with the record label when we were putting together the album, they felt I was the type of artist that would do well internationally as well as domestically. So they wanted to make sure that was part of the campaign. Other countries get “American Idol,” so some people knew about me. Regardless of that, the style of music itself had an international flavor. It was something I was excited about and the label had faith in me to do that. What’s funny is, it has almost been four years since that and music has become much more international, based on the way music is shared and sold. The European sound is very prevalent here on American radio now. So I’m glad they had the foresight.
PGN: There was a lot of controversy post-“American Idol” about your sexual orientation and how you came out. In hindsight, would you go about it the same way if you had to do it again?
AL: It’s so funny to me because one of the things you don’t realize when you’re all of a sudden in the middle of the public eye, no matter how well-adjusted you are, is it takes a while to go, “Oh, that’s how it works.” I’ve been out since I was 18 years old, living in Los Angeles very openly. When I went on “American Idol” I was out to everyone. Did they ask me about it on camera? No. They never asked me. Had it come up, I would have been candid about it. I had no reason not to be. When you’re on “American Idol,” we’re not allowed to do press. My first big interview I did after “American Idol” was Rolling Stone and they asked me the question and I said, “Yeah, always have been.” It’s interesting the way that it was perceived publicly because you forget the people at home watching “American Idol” — they don’t know me. So it takes a minute to adjust to being objective about how you’re being presented to the world.
PGN: You’re known as much for your fashion sense as your music. How do you stay ahead of the fashion curve?
AL: In my head, I don’t know if I am. I don’t know what level I’m at. I’m on a different planet. I just wear whatever the hell I want to wear, to be honest. I’ve always liked clothes and fashion and I love that form of expression. I like to stand out rather than blend in. I’ve always been like that.
PGN: So, do you get all dressed up when you’re just going out to run errands?
AL: No. That’s one of the things that has changed a little bit. I don’t like to stand out quite as much when I’m doing my everyday activities. I’ve been known to don a baseball hat, jeans, boots and a T-shirt.
PGN: What’s the best advice you’ve been given as an artist and what is the best advice you could give?
AL: This might sound a bit jaded but everybody has some advice to give and half the people really aren’t qualified. I take everything with a grain of salt and, if something resonates with me, I go, “OK, that’s a good point.” The best advice I can give is trust your own instincts. Everybody in the industry is trying to give you their opinion and, at some point, you’ve got to listen to you because at the end of the day, it’s your name on the CD and you’re the one people are interested in. People aren’t stupid. They know authenticity when they see it. They feel that. In trying to stay authentic, you have to follow your own instincts.
PGN: What are your tour plans and will we be seeing you in Philadelphia any time soon?
AL: I don’t know if I’m going to be touring yet. Hopefully the album will do well. I believe in it and I hope people will like it. I think that will determine what kind of touring I will do. I love Philadelphia so, when I tour, I’m sure I’ll come back.
“Trespassing” will be available May 15. For more information on Adam Lambert, visit www.adamofficial.com.