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Adam Lambert 英国Attitude 杂志3月刊采访全文  

2012-03-04 21:05:10|  分类: 访问 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Let him entertain you
Stuart Brumfitt meets the out-and-proud American Idol winner Adam Lambert on his second attempt to crack the UK market. But will we Brits fall for his glam-rock charms?

For one of the highest-profile gay pop stars in the world, it's wonder that Adam Lambert's best UK single chart position is a lowly 37 with For Your Entertainment. After coming second on American Idol back in 2009, Lambert had the US reality-TV juggernaut behind him, then gained further momentum with a Rolling Stone cover (as big a deal as it gets in US music circles) and a headline-grabbing male kiss at the American Music Awards.

He's been on Oprah for chrissakes. He even tweeted her Happy Birthday recently. So quite how he's failed to make an impact in the UK is a mystery, especially since our pop cultural past is packed full of queer theatricality. Perhaps it's that 30-year-old Lambert's particular branch of camp is too earnest for us Brits, whose love affair with men in make-up includes sillier figures such as Adam Ant and Pete Burns.

This might explain why Attitude finds itself in a room full of Britney fragrances, listening to Adam Lambert's latest tracks to help him pick his second album's lead single (and hopefully his big British breakout hit). We're only meant to hear a few options, but other journalists are made to wait outside as he plays upwards of eight tracks. He wants to know what Attitude thinks, above all, we're told, but when we find out he's chosen Better Than I Know Myself, we realize he doesn't trust our taste at all! BTIKM is an emo ballad in his familiar mould, but we wanted the new Lambert sound - the album tracks produced by Pharrell, the genius behind the best Britney, Beyonce and Justin joints of the early Noughties. Surely these would work better here than a Pink/Nickelback hybrid, but what do we know? Anyhoo, we hope Lambo does break through in Britain - he's bright, dry-funny and talks eloquently about gay issues.

Pharrell co-wrote and produced the title track Trespassing (among others), and the work they've done together has that crisp, fresh, relevant quality that the N*E*R*D* frontman can conjure up in a quickie.

'Pharrell's really, really a genius,' he says in homage. 'For the first couple of minutes I was in the studio with him I just felt completely unworthy. I was like, “I'm such a dork, why am I here?” But we started talking and he was so down to earth and cool. He's incredibly intelligent and he's got great taste and amazing instincts. We found some common ground on some more abstract, philosophical, existential topics, too,' he teases, without saying any more.

So you know, Trespassing is not an angry riposte to the Ramblers Association and its right to roam. 'It's about the feeling of being an outsider and saying “Fuck it” and going for it anyway. Saying “I don't care that you say I'm not welcome here, I'm coming in”. In all ways: a spiritual way, a societal way, a personal way.' And just as Britney has bottled her music, Lambo has bottled his outsider status, selling it to make him a mainstream superstar. Not to say that there's anything particularly cynical about his connection to 'outsiders'. He's always felt connected to self-styles freaks and has been an avowed gay rights supporter in the US.

He's been especially involved with gay youth charity the Trevor Project, having worked on bullying campaigns, given it proceeds from a remix of Aftermath and done an It Gets Better video. Sadly though, he admits, 'Still I feel like I'm bullies for who I am. I still get hate mail and hate tweets.' As most of us know, it does get better, but the fact that a confidently out gay superstar is still being bitched at by homophobes is proof that the show's not over until the bigots stop banging on. 


Just before we meet, Lambert sings as a stand-in Freddie Mercury at the MTV European Music Awards in Belfast alongside Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, putting him back on the map on these shores. 'They approached me to perform the medley with them at the EMAs and my manager asked if that was something I'd like to do, and I said, "Are you kidding me? Of course!" And I fell of my chair!
'I was so excited to see them again. I had met them and performed with them on the American Idol finale very briefly a couple years ago. I was so honored to be asked, and we had such a good time. I got to rehearse with them in London for a day and then we flew to Belfast together on a little private jet, which was the most surreal experience.'

The EMAs came 30 years after Freddie Mercury's death, and hearing Lambert talking about the abuse he gets on Twitter, and recalling the daft furore that surrounded his gay kiss on the 2009 American Music Awards, one wonders whether things are getting worse for gay performers rather than better. Perhaps the difference is that while Freddie hinted at being queer by vacuuming in a PVC mini and stockings in the I Want to Break Free video, Lambert was rather more explicitly out when he shoved a man's face in his crotch and aggressively snogges another in his live performance of For Your Entertainment. It's funny looking back, watching him sing 'Can you handle what I'm about to do?' Clearly, America couldn't handle it - they were terrified, and not just by all that make-up.

With the benefit of hindsight, Lambert's assessment is this:"I think the rule of thumb, especially in the States, is that you can identify as gay - that has become socially acceptable - but the minute that you show it, it makes people uncomfortable. Actually to display something that's homosexual, people are up in arms. But you live, you learn, you move forward, and that's what I've done."

We hope having his fingers burned on the AMAs doesn't mean he'll be self-censoring from now on, but it sounds like it might. The wait for a homo pop star is always a long one, so when they do come along, we want them to give us all their gay. Sadly, it doesn't feel like Lambert will be frenchying male dancers this time around. In fact, he gets a bit prickly when asked whether he'll be toning down the gayness in this campaign (the only time he's anything but open and generous).

'Honestly, I'm not thinking about it in those terms. I'm going to perform my music. I think my music on this album really explores all facets of who I am and what I'm about. Everyone knows that I'm gay and it's at the heart of what I'm singing about and doing, but I think all the songs are super-universal.'

Even though he can't escape the gay tag - and, gosh, he must be tired of talking about it - he's striving to be 'post-gay' in a way. 'Instead of playing the obvious, it's the challenge of making it a little more abstract and stretching the boundaries - making it not about being gay but about being human.'

So songs have double meanings, such as Outlaws of Love, which explores the sadness he feels at the gay community's struggles on the one hand, but can be interpreted differently by straight listeners.

'Listening to the lyrics and playing it for friends and colleagues, it became very clear to me that Outlaws of Love could also be interpreted as about star-crossed lovers. What gives me such an amazing challenge is to be a gay artist and to be open, but to communicate ideas that are universal. I think that helps to progress our movement.'

While he will talk about being gay in interviews, allude to gay guys through his lyrics and be papped with his Finnish Big Brother-winning boyfriend Sauli, when it comes to videos and performances, one suspects Lambert's brush with reactionaries at the AMAs has permanently put him off pudlic displays of homosexuality. 


No doubt there are plenty of private displays of homosexuality with Sauli, though. The two are nicely settled despite stories that they were arrested in Helsinki at Christmas after a bar brawl. He's quick to squash the rumors. 'It's the media's job to make things interesting and exciting, and I understand that,' he says, although surely disingenuously. 'It's not easy. It is a fair trade for getting to do what I do, I suppose. The thing about that whole incident, I thought "I'm sure that gay men will understand this more than everybody else." Shit happens.'

Adam and Sauli (would their Brangelina name be Auli or Sadam?) have been together for a year now, and he's amazed to have found someone to love while in the blinding glare of the spotlight. 'When I came into the public eye, I thought there went my chance of finding a normal, balanced relationship. But fortunately, when I met Sauli, we developed this amazing partnership. We would go through the good times and the bad times together and we're very supportive of each other. We're just great, I really love him to death.'

It would be great if the pair, who met at one of his concerts, became a known young gay couple in the UK - something we're lacking. To do that, Adam's new album is going to have to seriously outperform his last. It certainly sounds like it's got a lot to offer. He's keen to 'let the listener in a little deeper' and he tells us it's an album of two halves.

'I think everybody has a dark side and a light side. On the light side of things I explored that through the electro-funk, disco kind of sound. Themes explored on that side of the album are desires, hopes, dreams, liberation, freedom, finding love. The flip side of the album is the dark side. There are times when you get sad, there are things that are hard, there are challenges. I have doubts. I have nightmares. I have fears.'

In the fun, frivolous corner, there's the Lambo having a hoot with Michael Kors on Project Runway who loves dress-up and make-up and whose friend Raja won RuPaul's Drug Race, a show he finds 'fabulous and very funny'. Then, in the dark corner, we have the eternal outsider who's penned tracks such as album ballad Underneath, 'a song about what really happens underneath the surface. There have been times when you have to smile and nod when you're feeling really bad about something or really stressed out or really unconfident or uncomfortable. I think anybody can relate to that, especially a gay man. It's not always a cheeky comment and a smile. Sometimes you're hurting inside and that's what the song's about. It's OK to feel sad. It's OK to feel inadequate. We're not always fierce all the time.'


Adam Lambert 英国Attitude 杂志3月刊采访全文 - alidol -


Adam Lambert 英国Attitude 杂志3月刊采访全文 - alidol -


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