Who Is Adam Lambert?
Adam Lambert's childhood stage experience positioned him well to compete in the eighth season of American Idol in 2009. His tremendous vocal range and theatrical flair made his performances memorable, and he finished second. His first post-Idol album, For Your Entertainment, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. Lambert also enjoyed success with two follow-up albums and began touring with the classic rock band Queen.
Adam Lambert, born on January 29, 1982 in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the eldest of two siblings. He and his family moved to San Diego, California, soon after Lambert was born. Lambert dreamed of being an entertainer at the age of 10 — around the time that he was cast in his first role, as Linus in the Lyceum Theater's production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in San Diego.
Thrilled by the stage, Lambert took private voice lessons and later appeared in more musicals at local theaters, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Grease and Chess. His voice coach, Lynne Broyles, along with Alex Urban, artistic director of the Children's Theatre Network, were influential mentors for Lambert during this time.
Lambert attended San Diego's Mt. Carmel High School, where he participated in theater, choir and jazz band. After high school, he moved to Orange County to attend college. Shortly after enrolling, however, he had a change of heart, and decided that his real desire was to perform; he left school after only five weeks.
The aspiring singer and performer moved to Los Angeles, California, where he cobbled together a living from odd jobs while trying to make it in the theater. He also tried his hand at music, performing in a rock band and doing studio session work.
By 2004, Lambert was making a name for himself in the Los Angeles area. He played a small role in The Ten Commandments at the Kodak Theatre, alongside film actor Val Kilmer. He also began regular performances in The Zodiac Show, a touring revue of live music and talent that was co-created by Carmit Bachar of the band Pussycat Dolls. During his time with Zodiac, Lambert wowed fellow performers with his vocal range. He also began writing his own music with the revue; one particular original song, "Crawl Through Fire," was written in collaboration with Madonna's guitarist, Monte Pittman.
In 2005, Lambert landed an understudy spot as Fiyero in the play Wicked, first with the touring cast and then with the Los Angeles cast of the production.
'American Idol' Finalist
Lambert stepped into the national spotlight in 2009, when he became a finalist on the eighth season of the popular vocal competition show American Idol. His performance of Gary Jules's 2001 arrangement of "Mad World" earned a standing ovation from the show's harshest critic, Simon Cowell. Lambert's vocal range, along with his jet-black hair and heavy mascara, earned him comparisons to glam rockers like Freddie Mercury and Gene Simmons.
Lambert and two other contestants, Danny Gokey and Kris Allen, were the only finalists of Season 8 who were never ranked in the bottom three. Lambert was considered a frontrunner in the competition, but was later beaten by dark horse candidate Kris Allen. Critics theorized that Lambert lost because of his openly gay lifestyle. Lambert denies this rumor, however, saying that Allen won because of his talent.
Studio Albums and Hit Songs
In the wake of his American Idol showing, Lambert's debut album, For Your Entertainment (2009), was a huge success, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2010, Lambert was nominated for his first Grammy Award, for his hit "Whataya Want From Me."
In May 2012, Lambert released his second studio album, Trespassing, which met with wide acclaim; Trespassing landed at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, and more than 100,000 copies of the album were sold by June 2012.
The artist enjoyed more success with his third album, The Original High (2015). Fronted by the dance track "Ghost Town," the album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and achieved gold certification early the following year.
Touring with Queen
Lambert, who sang Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" during his audition for American Idol, hit it off with the classic rockers when they all performed together on the finale of the eighth season. Thus sparked the beginning of a lengthy collaboration between Lambert and the band's surviving founding members, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor; Lambert joined them for a performance at the 2011 MTV Europe Awards, and by the following year they were formally touring together.
Their partnership showing no signs of diminishing, Lambert again fronted for Queen at the February 2019 Academy Awards, a few months before they were scheduled to embark on the Rhapsody Tour across five countries.
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