LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Adam Lambert knows how to shock, how to sing and how it feels to “lose” TV’s top singing competition.
But what the “American Idol” runner-up is not so sure about is how fans will take to his debut album now that he’s performing original material rather than wowing viewers each week with his unusual take on established classics.
And, yes, now that he’s gone public about being gay.
A little bit glam rock, some classic rock, touches of kitsch, commercial pop, ‘70s and ‘80s throwbacks, and a power ballad — Lambert says his new “For Your Entertainment”, released on Nov 23, has something for everyone.
“The album title sums it up. It’s not for me, it’s for the people who are listening to it,” Lambert told Reuters.
“We tried to nod to all that glam classic rock while creating a variety of different music. But at the same time I wanted to make music that was really modern and current and poppy too. I love commercial pop music,” he said.
Nicknamed “Glambert,” the 27 year-old Californian’s vocal powers and flair for showmanship led Entertainment Weekly to call him “most exciting ‘American Idol’ contestant in years”.
But the former musical theater performer, who brought male eyeliner and black nail polish into millions of American homes during the TV show six months ago, knows he has to prove himself all over again.
“On ‘Idol’ you are singing songs that people already like, so it allows them to really listen to your voice and your interpretation. But as an original recording artist, you are doing music that nobody knows yet and you have to convince them to like it.
“This is a huge step. This is the first big chance I am taking as far as the career I want to be in,” he said.
Lambert co-wrote four of the 14 tracks on the album and teamed up with some of the hottest artists and producers in the music industry, including Lady Gaga, Pink and “Idol” judge and songwriter Kara Dioguardi.
The title single “For Your Entertainment”, released three weeks ago, was No. 68 on the iTunes top 100 on November 17. The album also includes Lambert’s “Time For Miracles,” the theme song for the blockbuster disaster movie “2012”.
The album cover already has people talking. Lambert describes it as a striking, alien-like pose that chimed with his own attraction to the camp, androgynous vibe of singers like David Bowie in the 1980s.
It’s the kind of look that split America in half when viewers voted Kris Allen from Arkansas their “American Idol” in May over Lambert, who was widely considered the front runner.
“We had divided the country up a bit morally, and socially. I was the left of center wild child and Kris was the everyman who is really charming, appealing and accessible. So I knew we were total polar opposites,” Lambert recalled.
Lambert waited until after the end of the contest to state publicly that he was gay, and proud of his sexuality. “I wanted the focus to be my voice and my entertainment, not my (sexual) preference,” he explained.
“Eyeliner and nail polish isn’t gay. It’s just eyeliner and nail polish. In fact, most of the musicians I know who rock that look happen to be straight. People need to open their eyes up to what it all really is. So gay/straight — it’s really not about that. It’s about music and style. It’s not about preference,” he added.
Lambert launches his album with a string of U.S. media appearances and will perform live at the American Music Awards on Nov 22.
Next year he hopes to go on tour (“Something that is really exciting and theatrical and massively entertaining”) and said he would love to branch out beyond North America to tour in Europe, Japan and Australia.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte