Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, the interview, post Idol
By April MacIntyre May 27, 2009, 1:40 GMT
05/20/2009 - Adam Lambert and Kris Allen - Adam Lambert and Kris Allen are making the rounds talking to press, each sharing their unique journey on "American Idol" the before, during and after that elevated each contestant to the top of a divided fan base, those devoted to Adam, and those who only had votes and love for Kris, the winner of the FOX reality show this season. © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
Adam Lambert and Kris Allen are making the rounds talking to press, each sharing their unique journey on "American Idol. " Both discuss the before, during and after that elevated each contestant to the top of a divided fan base, those devoted to Adam, and those who only had votes and love for Kris, the winner of the FOX reality show this season.
Adam Lambert and Kris Allen were on a conference call that Monsters and Critics took part in, and their combined interview is below.
Adam, would you take a Broadway role over a recording career right now?
A. Lambert I think my direction right now is to try to become a recording artist. I spent time doing the theater thing for a number of years. Iím not turning my back on it, but Iím definitely going in the other direction right now.
Of course I could see myself coming there eventually. Right now Iím doing the recording thing, but thatís my family. That was my community for years and years and I have so many friends there in shows in New York and whenever Iím in New York I plan on coming to see shows and sitting right in the front row and cheering them on. I in no way will ever forget my roots, so to speak. I learned so much with theater and now Iím just on a new journey and Iím learning this way.
Kris, what kind of record are you going to make?
K. Allen: What I would want to do on a record, maybe stray a little bit on some of the stuff, but when I went on the show and did Ainít No Sunshine, I felt like thatís the kind of stuff that I wanted to do; stuff that kind of has that feel, stuff that kind of moves people, that has that feeling.
Adam, is theatricality cool again in rock?
A. Lambert: I think itís just all in the name of good entertainment. First and foremost it is about the music, but it kind of packages it in a little bit more of a flashy, more interesting dynamic way, in my opinion. I think theatricality is just one way of performing. I donít think itís a better way or the way, but itís my way.
I never really listen to what people say. My thing is my favorite artists are artists that are theatrical. Obviously when you are doing a recording things arenít going to translate as over the top. Doing a live performance of something it takes on another life.
I really enjoy the recording process and itís going to represent itself differently. Anybody that bought an iTunes version of what I did on the show could say, ďOkay, I get how he sounds in a recording session now versus how he is live.Ē Itís different. The live performance takes it to a different level. I think people are in store for a treat; I think itís going to be a really cool album and Iím excited to start working on it.
Talk about your influences...
A. Lambert: David Bowieís a great example of somebody that did it. Michael Jacksonís a good example of somebody that used theatricality and drama, Madonna; there are a slew of artists out there that do it. I was just really lucky that American Idol embraced it because I think that it w as something a little bit new for them.
Kris, talk about the last performances and what it meant to you, did you have enough time to rehearse?
K. Allen We had met Queen the night before and it they were really, really great and we went through it twice I think. Then we just did it. Seriously it was probably the best moment of the year for me because I just felt like it was like the exhale of everything. We just had a great time together. How can you not have a great time singing and Brian May is right next to you? It felt great.
Adam, were you buoyed by seeing Katie Perry wear your name?
A. Lambert: I was shocked and I was completely honored and I had this huge smile on my face the minute I saw it. I wasnít prepared for that. I didnít know she was going to do that so you can imagine my surprise. I gave her a bit hug. Sheís very down-to-earth and had some good advice for me. She said, ďJust make sure that you keep your friends that you had before all this started around you and keep them close.Ē I think that sheís super talented and has a really good head on her shoulders.
Do you think the chatter about your sexual orientation had any impact on the voting?
A. Lambert: Probably.
Adam, have you told Paula Abdul that she was your first concert that you ever went to and what was her reaction to that?
A. Lambert: Thatís what I spoke to her about during my first audition; I remember it was televised. At the end of my singing I said, ď I just have to say something.Ē And I told her and she had a big smile on her face and it was definitely a weird full-circle moment for me because that was my first pop artist that I ever saw live and to be auditioning to become one myself in front of her had a lot of symbolism.
Kris, after you won and you said that Adam deserved to win, why?
K. Allen: I still feel that way I feel like Adam deserved it just as much as I did; he was the most consistent person all year. He was, seriously, one of the most gifted performers thatís ever been, that Iíve ever met. Heís really just a great guy; we became great friends and we told each other that day, ďYou deserve it.Ē He shot it back at me. I think it could have gone either way and America could definitely not have gotten it wrong. Afterwards, I really didnít talk to too many people. I talked to Paula and she told me that she was so proud of me and that things are going to be great. Paulaís amazing; sheís a sweetheart.
Kris, what was the biggest lesson/ experience on the show?
K. Allen: The biggest thing that Iíve learned has been that, for me, Iíve always kind of been a procrastinator and on the show I felt like the times that I worked the hardest were the times I did the best and that the best things happened. I think the biggest thing I learned was that the harder you work for the thing that you love the most, then everything you want is going to come true.
Adam, you were in a musical production in Houston...
A. Lambert: I was.
What was that like?
A. Lambert: I love Houston. I was out there for about a month-and-a-half. I worked for Tuts and we did a production of Brigadoon; I hadnít spent any time in Texas before and I didnít know what to expect.
Everybody was so warm and welcoming and completely just out-of-their-way sweet and I was blown away. I had a great time working there; the theater group is a class act. They really know how to treat their people. That was actually my first professional gig, getting an equity card is what they call it in theater and thatís like reaching a certain level. Itís like a union for theater people and that was my first equity production so it was a big milestone for me. Very, very good memories; I had a great time. Great food.
Adam, what was it like after the final show?
A. Lambert: It was crazy; it was pretty crowded and the whole evening was overwhelming. You can imagine that the party, just trying to interact with as many people as I could. It was so exciting and I got to speak with Paul and Kara; we got to chat a little bit. It was really nice being able to kind of be off-the-record, off camera and just interact. I was really thankful for that experience.
Kris, how did you celebrate the finale?
K. Allen" My wife and I went to the Idol party that night and that was a blast. We had some time together there and seriously, we just have been trying to spend any time of alone time that we can together just because I know that thatís going to be very sparse right now.
Kris, what does your wife want to do?
K. Allen I know that sheís really passionate about acting and sheís got some other passions as well, just helping people. I know that she wants to start some foundations and things like that. Weíll probably try to keep our work lives separate just because more than anything I donít want her following me around and she has some things that sheís passionate about. She will start doing those things.
She will also tell you that she does not sing and she is the worst singer in the world and Ö so no that will definitely not happen.
Are there any plans for duets?
K. Allen Iím going to keep that a surprise because itís going to be really great. I know that some people have talked to others and we are trying to get all that stuff worked out and pick out songs that weíre going to do on the tour. Itís really going to be a blast. Some of the ten most talented people in world.
Adam, pick one of your favorite performances, which would it be and why?
A. Lambert: Iím so bad at favorites. I really had a lot of fun doing ďWhole Lotta LoveĒ by Led Zeppelin. That was a great moment. We were really excited that it cleared; that we got the rights to use the song. Itís an all-time favorite tune of mine and I felt very empowered onstage getting to sing that with the band.
Adam, why were you not signed by a label yet?
A. Lambert: I might not have gone through the proper channels, to be honest with you. The concept of being ďdiscoveredĒ is kind of a dying art. I donít think anybody gets ďdiscovered.Ē I think you kind of have to put yourself out there. I was doing the theater thing and on the side I started, I had a band for a while and then I started writing music. I was just getting to the point where I was probably ready to start submitting music to labels, but then this opportunity came along and I jumped at it. I think that things happened when they were supposed to happen.
I think thatís one of the reasons why I decided to audition for the show is that I got to a point where I was in the ensemble of Wicked here in L.A., and it was a great job and I had a lot of friends in the cast and it was paying the bills.
But I just wasnít satisfied artistically and it was about a hear-and-a-half ago and I kind of was sitting alone in my room one day. Is this it; is this my life? I had just turned 26 and I said, ďI want more. Thereís more that Iím supposed to be doing, I have this feeling.Ē So this was the thing that presented itself to me and I think the timing was right. I had auditions before, but I donít think I was ready. Everything just lined up and Iím really, really fortunate that it worked out the way it did.
Adam, what celebrities were you most excited to meet this season?
A. Lambert I was star-struck every time. Smokey Robinson was amazing; Jamie Foxx was amazing. I met Lady Gaga backstage when she came on the show; that was amazing. I canít even name one. Every single celebrity was coming up to me and knew who I was and that, to me, was the weirdest part. I was like, ďWait a minute, Iím a fan of yours; you canít be a fan of mine.Ē It was so strange. I met Fergie backstage the other night; that was really fun. Obviously Brian May and Kiss the other night, what an honor. Everyone that I met it kind of blew my mind.
When I talked to Katie Perry when she came onto the show she said, ďJust make sure you stay close with the friends that you had before this all started. Really surround yourself with people that keep you grounded.Ē That was really great advice.
Adam, what would you say to people who were so disappointed that you didnít win and how did you deal with the outcome?
A. Lambert I know it sounds clichť, but I really feel like I won by getting to the final. I felt like to me itís not about the title of American Idol, it was the experience. I made music and I got to do a different performance every week and I was able to use American Idol as a platform to get myself out there and now I have a career. So thereís no need to dwell on the negative. We should look forward and be excited about an album and the rest of my career. Thatís where Iím at.
I couldnít be happier for Kris. Heís a good friend of mine. I think heís immensely talented.
Adam, are there any designers out there in L.A. that you kind of hooked onto for your wardrobe down the line?
A. Lambert: I have some friends here in L.A. that ended up wardrobing me for a couple of the different performances. Theyíre called Skin Graft and the three designers that do that line are old friends of mine. They ended up doing the ďRing Of FireĒ jacket, the jacket for ďWe Are the ChampionsĒ the other night, the jacket for ďWhole Lotta LoveĒ and a lot of the jackets that I wore. I think that we may collaborate in the future; they really get my style and I really the way that their clothes look.
Adam, what do you wish you did differently?
A. Lambert I donít have any regrets. I really enjoyed my whole experience. I donít think I would have changed anything. Iím just going to do my thing. My thing is when I get up on stage and the music starts playing, I just go. I think that that will just take care of itself on the tour.
Adam, which mentor could you actually see yourself working with in the future?
A. Lambert Iíd really love to work with Slash. When we did the mentor shoot at the Roxy, I felt so at home with him onstage. This guy is so rad. Who knows? Maybe weíll be able to record something in the future; I would love that.
Brian May wasnít even a mentor, but he was onstage and I was so honored to be onstage with him. Queen is one of my all-time favorite bands. I would love to work with him as well.
Adam, can you tell us a little bit more about what kind of album you would like to make?
A. Lambert Yes weíre at the drawing board right now trying to figure that out. My view of the record industry is that itís a little too specific lately. The labels tend to try to put one box around every artist and keep them in one genre. To me, Iím so fortunate because I got to use the show to get myself out there. We donít really have to go about it that way. Obviously we want the album to have a cohesive sound, but I think it can kind of be a collection of different styles with me at the center of it. Everybody knows whom I am singing it so thatís the common thread.
My thing is that I donít want to do one specific genre or Iím more about fusion. I kind of like adding little elements of things into the final mix and if anything Iím more fond of the 70s glam field than the 80s even though I have that style of vocal. Weíll see what happens. Iím kind of experimenting with that and there are a lot of pop artists that are using the ďglamĒ kind of vibe in their music currently. I think Iím actually part of a wave and there happens to not be many guys doing it right now.
How does that all work for you?
A. Lambert You kind of have meetings, what if? Type meetings, ďSo in theory this is kind of what we want to do, but weíre not going to make any official offers.Ē I knew there was interest and we started talking about ideas and stuff. Iím just thrilled that now I get to move forward and have a career in the industry. Thatís why I auditioned for the show and thatís really what kept pushing me forward. Thatís why I feel like Iíve won. I donít feel like the title of first or second place really matters at this point.
I think thereís a little bit of a misconception about the Dťbut CDs. I think that itís a case-by-case thing. I think that in my talks with my team, the label and the management company, weíve discussed it. Iíve expressed my desire to have a lot of involvement in the process.
Iím definitely a collaborator; thatís my strength. I donít like to be told what to do and I donít like to hold the reins all myself so Iím hoping that they pair me up with some amazing producers that are super talented and I know that they have some lined up already. I think that both in the producing and the writing process I plan on being present and involved. They are totally supportive of that and weíre really, really looking forward to the process.
Adam, is there anything that you would have changed about the final performances that you did on the last show?
A. Lambert: No. I had a blast; I really did have a good time. The Mad World thing was really fun because I got to change the way I performed it from the first time and I think Simon was a little confused because I think he expected what he saw the first time.
To me, I donít really like recreating things. I like making something different every time so I wanted to take it to a different place. I had a blast singing ďChange is Going to Come.Ē I hadnít really gotten to do that style of music on the show and I really enjoyed going there. The ďNo BoundariesĒ single is such a great song; itís hard to sing live and I think if anything the only thing I could change is I would have liked a little more rehearsal with that song. ?
Adam, some of your former teachers and coaches in San Diego, like Kathy Urban and Jennifer Patterson, are talking to the press. Theyíve all sung your praises as a great performer you were even when you were just a kid.
A. Lambert Just to get the record straight, I hardly know Jennifer Patterson. And I know that sheís been using my name a lot. I donít really know her.
I know that I met her in passing, but I was never a student of hers.
With whom did you study there?
A. Lambert Kathy Urban for sure and Lynn Broyles was a huge influence as well. I had heard some mumbling about Jennifer Patterson and I was like, ďI didnít study with her.ĒMr. Smith was such a huge influence.
Did anyone try to hold you back on Idol?
A. Lambert: No. The really cool thing about the show is that theyíve been 100% supportive of everything that Iíve done, every aspect of everything Iíve done from the music to what Iím wearing to how I perform. I would go into a vocal session like, ďI have this idea, can we try it?Ē ďYes sure letís try it.Ē Ricky Mina and the band would be like, ďWhat about his? Can we try something like this?Ē ďYes, letís try it.Ē Itís been very positive and creative and never once for a second did I feel stifled in any way.
Adam, the wings -where did they come from?
A. Lambert: The shoulder pads were actually from the Bob Mackie showroom.
I am so fortunate to have had this opportunity and I am blown away by the amount of support that I got. It really made my experience what it was; I felt a lot of positive reinforcement both in the press and with the fans and I really appreciate you guys.
Kris, what about you, the huge change in your lives?
K. Allen: Itís definitely a topic of conversation, all the time. My wife's been out here during the whole thing and kind of been going through all this so if anything, weíve kind of been getting ourselves ready for everything. Things are definitely going to change, but weíre really strong and sheís really cool so we donít have any questions that everythingís going to be fine.
Kris, how did you all meet?
K. Allen I went to college for three years. I took two, maybe more than two years off and tried to do the music thing actually. It didnít work so I was actually on my way back and I was taking classes and American Idol came along and I had to drop out. So I havenít graduated yet. My wife and I had been dating forever and only been married for eight months.
Have you found out what the actual margin of victory was?
K. Allen I havenít heard anything. I have a feeling that it was really close. Come on, Adam was a huge frontrunner for the whole thing and I know that there were plenty of people voting for him.
Kris, will you perform original material or covers?
K. Allen: I donít know if thereíll be any covers on it; I know that I do write my own music, but I donít know if weíll be able to use any of that stuff on the first CD or not, but weíll see.
What about Kara?
K. Allen: Maybe so it was really fun working with her on the single. She was a blast and I really respect what she does.
What would you say to those who pulled for you?
K. Allen: Seriously, the fans are the reason that weíre here. If I had to give a message to them I would just say thank you; I would not be here without you and Iím stoked and hoping that youíre not let down with the CD. I know that itís going to be great.
Kris, what did you make of the judges' comments on Tuesday night?
K. Allen: I felt like they didnít seriously, after we sang that last song; that song is hard to sing and I donít think Adam or I were happy were our performances at all. I think that they were not trying to judge us on that song more than anything and just judge us on the year, which was kind of nice. It felt great to be judged on what weíve done throughout the year and not exactly what weíve done on that song. Iíd actually sung it that morning and it was fine. It is a high song, but Iíd done it this morning; it sounded great and then I think both of us just got tired and there were some sound issues where we couldnít hear ourselves. It was definitely a rough night at the end. We were both getting really tired.
Talk about the slow acceptance to your rising star on the show and those first audition jitters...
K. Allen: I think there was maybe a little bit of, ďWow, theyíre not showing me.Ē But it was more shock than anything because I felt like I had done my thing and a lot of other people are getting shown. For me, thatís kind of the way I live my life though. Iím kind of laid back and low key and every once in a while Iíll stick my head out. Thatís kind of how I did the competition and it seemed to work out.
The very, very first audition that I did was actually really scary because I drove there and I could not talk. We were waiting for like 14 hours because we were some of the very last ones to go. I seriously would not talk all day and it was really scary. I was there with my brother and I was like, ďI really hope you get through because thereís no way Iím getting through.Ē I sang okay, but I was really impressed that they put me through on that performance because I was really, really sick.
Kris, what about your working with Keith Urban?
K. Allen: I donít feel like I would go that country way. Thatís not my type of music and thatís not the feeling that I want in my album. But seriously we had a great time together; heís a great guy and I respect him so much as an artist, as a musician; I think heís great.
Kris, talk about your performance of Heartless and how you decided to rework it and the big response that it got.
K. Allen: We got to kind of do whatever we wanted to do as long as it got cleared. I was listening to the album; I was listening to the Kanye album because I think itís great. The song came across and I was just like, ďWhat if I do this song and made it my own?Ē And I was like ... Iím just going to go for it and be bold and be risky and did it and I think it got a lot of good reviews. I was really excited that I got to do something like that because I think it showed people what I could do.
I havenít heard from Kanye obviously, but I have heard some other people say that he blogged about it and put the video up of me on his blog, of me stinging it on his blog. That really meant a lot.
Kris, what are some odd facts about you?
K. Allen: I am a huge sports fan. I grew up playing sports and Iím a big, huge Razorback fan, but any sports personally. I like watching sports; I like going to sports games and thatís kind of my life during football season for sure.
Kris, who would you work with, collaborate with in the music industry?
K. Allen Thereís a lot of people in my head; Iím not going to name any names right now, but thereís plenty of people that I would love to collaborate with, with love to produce with, would love to write songs with. Iím not going to name any names right now though.
For me I think Iíve been getting ready for this all my life. Iíve done a lot of things in my life; Iíve been in a lot of places. Life gets you ready for whatever is going to happen next. This has been just kind of everything coming into culmination of everything that Iíve already been through. I donít even know. I just think that everythingís going to be great; Iím really excited.