Adam Lambert knew exactly what he wanted when it came time to record his major label album debut. "I wanted it to be dance, I wanted it to be pop, I wanted it to be international. I really wanted to do a new pop glam thing. I didn't want to create an album that was cohesive because that's not my...
Adam Lambert knew exactly what he wanted when it came time to record his major label album debut. "I wanted it to be dance, I wanted it to be pop, I wanted it to be international. I really wanted to do a new pop glam thing. I didn't want to create an album that was cohesive because that's not my personality. I wanted something that was all over the map like the music I like to listen to. I wanted there to be something for every mood you might be in when you were listening to it." "For Your Entertainment" turned out to be exactly the kind of album Adam wanted to make. "It's very eclectic," he told People magazine. "There are anthems, there are songs that make you want to dance, there are songs that make you feel sexy and there are songs that touch you, hopefully, with emotional, insightful, deeper lyrics."The recording process started even before Adam embarked on the "American Idols Live" tour last summer. He spent a month writing songs before going on the road, and while on tour he worked on the concept for the album and listened to demos. "The cool thing...was that we took a lot of the songs from demos and developed them, tried to tailor them to the vibe I was going for on the album," Adam told Rolling Stone.The album begins with a love song - to music. "Music Again" was written by Justin Hawkins and produced by Rob Cavallo. "Justin was the lead singer and guitar player for the Darkness. He has a great point of view, musically," says Adam. "We recorded all the vocals at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. It was an honor to work there." Adam says the song has a sexy classic rock riff, influenced by bands like Queen and the Sweet, and is meant to show off his sense of humor. "It's supposed to be kind of campy," he told Rolling Stone. Adam adds that the song is a message to his fans. "That's why we put it at the beginning of the album. It's like an intro that says, 'Welcome to my world.'"Track two on the album is the title song, "For Your Entertainment," written by Claude Kelly and Lukasz Gottwald (better known as Dr. Luke, he also produced the track). "The words are kind of risqué and suggestive," says Adam. "It has a throbbing bass line. It's the perfect song to dance to at a club, or to play at a party, or get dressed up to." Adam's right - the track is top five on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart. Adam likens the song to "Wilkommen" from "Cabaret," because, "It says I'm going to put on a show and it reflects my musical theater infuences. I wanted it to be the first single because it's a great introduction."Next on the album is "Whataya Want From Me," written by Pink, Max Martin and Shellback, the same team that composed Pink's No. 1 hit, "So What." Martin and Shellback produced. "I'm a huge Max Martin fan and a huge Pink fan," says Adam. "She initially wanted it for her album. I was lucky enough to receive it directly from Pink." The song has two meanings for Adam. "It's about that moment when you're trying to navigate where your heart is going in a relationship. It's also a message to my fans, the public and the media: 'Whataya want from me, I'm doing the best I can.'" Adam says he loves performing the song. "I love the groove of it. I love the vocal." "Whataya Want From Me" is the biggest hit to date from the album, charting in multiple formats, including mainstream top 40 and adult top 40. The fourth song on the album is "Strut," co-written by Adam with Kara DioGuardi and Greg Wells. The track was produced by Wells. "Our inspiration for the song was total glam rock," says Adam, who repeatedly listened to Gary Glitter's "Rock And Roll Part 2" with Kara before writing the song. "It has the same rhythmic foundation as 'For Your Entertainment' because we wanted to have another song built on that glam rock feel. It has that old '70s glam rock foundation but Greg updated it with a lot of electronic textures." The lyrics are all about self-empowerment, Adam explains. "It's about owning your walk, your style, being comfortable in your skin. Once you do that, it's the first step in finding happiness and love." Next on the album is "Soaked," a song written by Matthew Bellamy from Muse, one of Adam's favorite bands. Adam sang Muse's arrangement of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse's "Feeling Good" on "American Idol" last season. "Muse sounds like no other band," says Adam. "To me, 'Soaked' is about getting drunk. There are a lot of people who habitually go out to a bar looking for love. That's a tough place to find a real connection and that's what the song is about. It talks about feeling lonely and empty and looking for someone to fill the void emotionally and not really being able to find that. The clincher is the line, 'Your soul will be OK.' It's not a negative, victimy, feel-sorry-for-me lyric. It says, 'You're not going to find what you're looking for but you'll be fine.' That's comforting. I love the melody and the vocal - it's very theatrical." Rob Cavallo produced "Soaked" as well as the next track, "Sure Fire Winners," which was written by David Gamson, Alexander James and Oliver Leiber. "The song was given to me as a demo and I really loved the lyrics - they have a lot of attitude," says Adam. "Rob Cavallo gave the song a modern, almost hip-hop beat. Then it breaks out into this great guitar-rock kind of anthem feel. It fuses together contemporary music with classic rock. The bridge of the song is super-climactic - I love singing it. It's definitely an empowerment anthem for anyone who feels a little bit different and fabulous."Track seven is "A Loaded Smile," written and produced by Linda Perry. "I'm a huge fan of 'What's Up,' a song she did when she was in the group 4 Non Blondes," says Adam. When I was thinking of producers I wanted to work with, we reached out to her. I'm such a fan, so I was very excited that she wanted to work with me. We had a meeting and talked about which direction I wanted to go in. What I love about Linda is that she ignores the trends in pop music because she wants to do her own thing, and I respect that. 'A Loaded Smile' is so beautiful and has this glam sensibility. We recorded it really high up in my vocal range, in my falsetto, which is a nice variation compared to the keys the other songs on the album are recorded in. When I hear the song I can imagine myself floating slowly through space." Adam points out that the lyrics are contradictory, which he loves. "There are two different interpretations," he told the Wall Street Journal. "One is that it's about two members of a relationship and what's going on in their heads when they're with each other. One partner is loving every moment and in bliss while the other person is feeling empty and not satisfied. The other way to look at it is that it's about one person, going back and forth about a relationship in their head...it's emotionally complicated, which makes it special." "If I Had You," the eighth track on the album, was written by Max Martin, Shellback and Savan Kotecha and produced by Martin and Shellback. The Swedish team fashioned the lyrics especially for Adam: "Got the eyeliner and the right amount of leather." Adam says the song reflects what he is really about - joy. "It's really a cool song, it's fun and upbeat." Adam likes singing about the rock star life in the song but appreciates that the lyrics have a twist. "In the chorus it says none of this would mean anything if I don't have you, if I don't have love in my life. So it has a good message…and it's a great dance song. In the bridge all these guitars come in and all of a sudden it sounds like an '80s hair metal song, which is so fun and kitschy." Next is "Pick U Up," co-written by Adam with Rivers Cuomo from Weezer and Greg Wells and produced by Wells. Cuomo wrote the song for his own group but when it didn't make the band's "Raditude" album, Cuomo figured it would go on Weezer's next CD. Instead, he ended up working with Lambert, who changed the melody and came up with some new lyrics. Cuomo, who says "Pick U Up" is one of his favorite songs that he has written, claims that the production was inspired by everyone from ABBA and Donna Summer to German techno-metal band Rammstein. Cuomo told MTV that Adam "has the most amazing voice. It's exactly the kind of voice I convince myself I have on my best day, but of course I'm nowhere near that amazing." Following "Pick U Up" is "Fever," written by Lady Gaga and Jeff Bhasker and produced by Bhasker. Lady Gaga is one of Adam's favorite contemporary artists so it's no surprise he begged for a song from pop's latest female superstar. "She wrote it years ago but her original demo sounded very different," says Adam. "The song came in at the eleventh hour and we recorded it together. She was in the studio, which was so exciting, and we had a blast." Adam says the song doesn't need much explanation. "It's about getting groovy…it has a disco feel to it and I feel like she pushed me to my limit vocally. She kept saying, 'Go crazy! Make it wilder!' We really captured the spirit of rock and roll on that song." Track 11 on "For Your Entertainment" is "Sleepwalker," written by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Aimee Mayo and Chris Lindsey. Tedder, who also produced, had never seen "American Idol" until season 8, even though he had worked with some contestants from previous seasons and had even appeared on the season 7 finale. His reaction to seeing Adam? "Man, this guy is out of his mind, it's amazing!" Adam flew to Denver to work with Ryan on "Sleepwalker." The next track on the album is "Aftermath," which Adam calls the "most Idol-like song" on "For Your Entertainment." Adam wrote the song with Alisan Porter, Ferras and Prince Ben. Howard Benson produced. The lyrics are about dealing with one's demons, according to Adam. "There's a universal message," he says. "It might be about coming out, it might be about self-acceptance, taking the chance of keeping it real and doing what you feel in your heart…even though it's scary, even though people might not like it," Adam told Rolling Stone. "It's another empowerment-type anthem."The penultimate song on the album is "Broken Open," written by Adam with Greg Wells and Evan Bogart, and produced by Wells. Adam says of all the songs on "For Your Entertainment," this one has the most emotional depth. The lyrics are based on some of Adam's personal experiences and interactions. "I've had a handful of experiences where I've been on the receiving end of an emotional breakdown," he told MTV. "I think it's pretty powerful to be with somebody in an intimate situation where they can't hold it together and they can trust you enough to let it fall apart." Adam has compared the song to something Radiohead or Goldfrapp might record, with an electronic but mellow sound, very "ethereal." The album closes with "A Time For Miracles," written by Alain Johannes and the late Natasha Shneider and produced by Rob Cavallo for the film "2012." At the premiere of the movie, Adam told MTV, "I feel honored they asked me. It was a risk on their part because this it was before my album was completed…so for them to ask me, it shows faith…it gave me a lot of confidence." Commenting on the song in Rolling Stone, Adam elaborated, "We wanted to match how epic the film is. We wanted to reach out and grab people by the heart. 'A Time For Miracles' is a great song and perfectly fits the theme of the movie." Now that you've heard from Adam himself about the songs on his debut album for 19 Recordings/RCA Records, you might think you know everything there is to know about the 28-year-old singer who captured the nation's imagination when he competed on the eighth season of "American Idol," but there is still a lot to tell about how he came to be who he is today and where he is going in the future. Adam's story starts in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was the first child born to Leila and Eber Lambert on Jan. 29 1982. A year after Adam's birth, his father got a job in San Diego and the family relocated to Southern California. They settled in Rancho Bernardo and four years later, when Adam's younger brother was born, the family moved to nearby Rancho Peñasquitos, just east of Del Mar.There was music in the house because Adam's father had been a DJ in college and had an impressive record collection that included Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. When he was very young, Adam wasn't allowed to touch the vinyl LPs. "At some point, later on, he would let me hold the records," says Adam, who didn't listen to the radio very much. But he did buy cassettes at his local Wherehouse record store. "The first tape I remember having was the Paula Abdul's 'Shut Up And Dance' remixes, which I was really into. The first CDs I owned were Mariah Carey's 'Emotions' and Wilson Phillips." Adam's parents noticed how much energy their son had and tried to channel it into activities like indoor soccer, T-Ball and swimming lessons. "They tried everything," says Adam. "I was very creative and wanted to dress up and play make believe and recite things so they figured the theater was a natural fit." Adam was 10 when he joined a children's theater group. "The first time I realized I wanted to sing was when I was in a production of 'Fiddler On The Roof.' I was playing a Russian who has a featured solo in the 'L'Chaim' number and he holds this note forever. It was a big show-off moment." Vocal lessons followed and in high school Adam joined the chorus and drama club and sang with a jazz band. At 16, he joined an outdoor theater company in San Diego's Balboa Park and was cast as an ensemble member in "Hello, Dolly!" and "Camelot." The following summer he joined a different theater group and was cast in "The Music Man," "Grease" and "Peter Pan." "At the same time, I was watching MTV and listening to pop music. I was really into Missy Elliott and Britney and Christina and 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys." But his dream was to star on Broadway. After a brief stay at Cal State Fullerton as a music theater major, Adam found work on Holland America cruises as the male lead performer in their musical reviews. That gave him a chance to see the world while honing his craft. He then settled in Los Angeles but not for long - he was cast in a German production of "Hair" and at the age of 21 found himself back in Europe for half a year. He returned to Southern California, where director David Lee cast him in the Reprise Theater production of "On The Twentieth Century." Equity card in hand, Adam found roles in "Brigadoon" in Texas, "110 In The Shade" at the Pasadena Playhouse and "The Ten Commandments" at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. That production starred Val Kilmer. After his run in "The Ten Commandments," Adam appeared in "The Zodiac Show" at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater, also in Hollywood. With one of the guitarists in the show's band, Adam formed a rock group, Citizen Vein. "We had a classic metal sound, which was a bit of a departure for me but we both loved Led Zeppelin and we both loved classic rock. So we had this Metallica vibe." Citizen Vein only gave three performances, one in Huntington Beach, one at the Cat Club on Sunset Blvd. and one at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. "They were great experiences," says Adam, "because it was my first time playing with a band and writing. Being in Citizen Vein was a big part of my musical growth. I learned a lot, even though we never really took off." Meanwhile, the great reviews Adam received for "The Ten Commandments" led to an audition for the first national company of "Wicked." Adam was cast in the ensemble and was understudy for the role of Fiyero.The actor cast as Fiyero only missed a couple of performances and after his role in "The Ten Commandments," Adam wanted more. He left "Wicked" and eventually was cast in a musical at a hotel in Lake Tahoe. "It wasn't a great gig and I heard they were rehiring for the Los Angeles production of 'Wicked.'" During the two-year run at the Pantages Adam expanded his horizons, writing songs and appearing at local clubs and bars. "I had two dancers and really wild clothes." Exploring new options, Adam had another inspiration. "The cast of 'Wicked' always had 'American Idol' on and everybody had an opinion of each singer and their performances and one night one of the cast members said, 'Adam, you should audition for 'Idol.'" Adam had watched the first season with Kelly Clarkson and had seen episodes over subsequent years. "I didn't think the show would like me. I thought I was too out there." In spite of that fear, Adam drove to San Francisco with two of his best friends for the season eight auditions. "I knew 'Idol' could be a platform to launch a career." When he stood in front of the judges, Simon and Kara told him he was too "theatrical," a comment that has traditionally been a negative opinion on "Idol," but Adam sang Michael Jackson's "Rock With You" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the judges sent him through to Hollywood. Less than a year later, Adam was on stage with Queen, singing lead vocals on that same classic song. It was the season finale and when it was all over, Adam was named runner-up for the season. During his "Idol" journey, he sang songs from many different genres and impressed the judges every week, with songs like "Mad World" ("It's haunting and beautiful and it gets in your head. I knew it would be different and very non-'Idol.'"), "Ring Of Fire" ("I was really inspired by David Cook's approach to the show the year before. Country week was one of those moments where you could take a song and make it work for you, like David did with 'Billie Jean'"), "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" ("My mom is a huge Stones fan. I picked 'Satisfaction' because I wanted to associate myself with icons") and "The Tracks Of My Tears" ("the week before I did 'Ring Of Fire" and pushed everyone's buttons so I wanted to go in the opposite direction and be super cleaned up and and kind of pretty, acoustic and organic"). After the season finale of "Idol," Adam toured the U.S. with the other top 10 finalists. Even before he hit the road, he had conquered the Billboard charts, with multiple debuts on the Hot 100 and the Hot Digital Songs charts, but the release of "For Your Entertainment" gave him a solid debut at No. 3 on the Billboard album chart, where the album is still sailing high after almost half a year on the tally.Read more
|Date & Time||Location||Actions|
Saturday Dec 21, 2019
Los Angeles, CA
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