By Delinda Lombardo on
American singer/songwriter/performer, Adam Lambert has been living the dream since becoming runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol.
In November of 2009, he released his debut album, “For Your Entertainment” and followed up with a controversial performance at the 2009 American Music Awards.
In addition to a monster tour and paparazzi-laden existence, the pop-icon has been busy encouraging his fans to give back and help ‘Glam Out Classrooms’ for DonorsChoose.org, and it’s working beautifully.
Since Lambert began his involvement with Donors Choose, his fans have raised close to a half-million dollars to fulfill arts and music classroom project requests posted by teachers at www.DonorsChoose.org/glam-nation.
Look to the Stars was pleased to speak with Lambert about what it’s like to be one of the most recognized openly-gay mainstream pop stars: his love, life, tattoos, inspiration and enthusiastic support of Donors Choose.
Q. How did you become involved with Donors Choose?
A. It was really important for me to get the arts program supported in public schools, to reach all kids-not just kids identifying with being gay or lesbian. My agents made me made aware of the charity and I was really excited to get behind it. My team was so excited and they expressed a lot of joy about the cause. Also, I really like the way you see where your money is going, it’s a little bit more of an involved way to help the charity and I’ve met so many teachers that have said thank you, it really does help.
Q. Celebrity is such a powerful tool…how does it feel to know that just by being “you”, you’ve helped hundreds of kids in classrooms across the country by simply asking fans to donate-with a running total so far of close to $500,000?
A. Its nuts, it’s incredible. Recently we went to the offices in New York, where Donors Choose is based, and some middle school students came in and played on instruments they received through donations and the program. It was really cool just to connect with the kids and see them benefit from the program.
Q. Have you acclimated to your superstar ‘status’? Are you still asking ‘Whataya Want From Me?’ The pressure must have been overwhelming?
A. Yeah, especially after what happened at the VMA’s, everybody on the team was a little nervous and we were hoping I didn’t screw things up. We knew that we had such beautiful music on the album and ‘Whataya What From Me’ was a perfect single to come from it because it asked the questions to society, what can I do, what do you want. There is just too much focus on sexuality, we are all the same, we are all equal, and one of my hopes is that people can move past it so it’s not about ‘that’ anymore but about all of ‘us’.
Q. What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned since achieving your dream?
A. Find the balance between making this your life and still having a life outside of it. It’s such a deal to be a celebrity, to have fame and to have fans. Yeah, it’s what I always wanted but I think it’s important to have some sort of separation, where it’s just me time, like private time, and still have a real life apart from my job, my career. But it’s worth the struggle and I’m definitely not complaining.
Q. Do you think American Idol gave you the platform to showcase who you really are, whereas if you hadn’t been on the show, you might have been judged or lumped into a ‘category’ so-to-speak?
A. Yeah, I think that’s the best thing about it, it’s an amazing opportunity where you get all this exposure and fame. I think there’s one of two things you can do at that point, you can either go with the flow and move along and or you can take it in your own hands, try to work the system and take advantage of the opportunity you’ve been given. I really do take a lot of pride that I’ve been able to do that and I’ve been working with an amazing management team and record label that support me.
Q. Were you glad at the time, that you didn’t win Idol?
A. I actually don’t think it would have mattered. From what I gather Kris and I had pretty much the same kind of contract and were represented by the same people, but I think there may have been a slightly different expectation from the public.
Q. Do you let public expectation guide you?
A. To a degree, yeah, it’s actually one of the hardest parts of what I do, finding that balance between my own personal artistic integrity and also being an entertainer, giving people what they want, it’s an interesting challenge and I’m still working on it.
Q. Do you find that when you’re writing a song, you’re also thinking of what the video might look like?
A. Because of my background in theater, the song comes first but the visual presentation with it is a close second. Actually, a lot of songs on the album that I wrote, I had visuals in my head, imagery.
Q. With your considerable theater background, have you ever thought about writing and/or performing in a Rock-Opera?
A. Yeah, I would not rule that out. I think there’s room for that in the future, right now I’m focused on my career and touring but I’m sure there will come a point where maybe this could be in the works; I would jump at the chance.
Q: What are your thoughts on Sacha Baron Cohen signing on to play Freddie Mercury?
A. I think it’s great, he’s an amazing actor, I would definitely be first in line to see that.
Q. I know Freddy Mercury was a big influence on you. Who else inspired you?
A. As far as performance goes, presentation and whatnot, I always looked up to Michael Jackson and Madonna. Those are the two pop stars I looked up to growing up. And personally, my parents have been incredible. They are really open-minded and they’ve always encouraged me.
Q. When do you feel the most connected to your soul- apart from singing?
A. I think intimacy is a beautiful thing, I think if you can find someone in your life that you’re intimate with there’s a lot of spiritual reflection that goes on, intimacy is much more than platonic love and the few moments in my life that I’ve had that, I’ve felt more spiritually connected to the Universe than before.
Q. The media sometimes tries to put a negative spin on things when there really isn’t anything controversial?
A. I think certain members of the media are sensationalizing things they don’t often get to explore. I think that’s the issue, it’s kind of a novelty. I think they exploit it very easily and I’ve learned to just kind of laugh at it and accept it. I also find it important because they are speaking to a portion of the population that does get upset by it and finds it shocking, so in a way I think it’s a blessing and hopefully it will get to be less and less of a big deal.
Q: You have a tattoo on your right wrist?
A. Yeah it’s an Eye of Horus and right under it is an Infinity Symbol. The Eye of Horus is basically an eye of protection, to ward off negative energy. And the Infinity Symbol is because I was identifying the Circle with the exchange that I have with an audience when I’m performing. When you’re in a really good performance zone its kind of like an exchange of energy back and forth, like an infinite circle.
Look to the Stars, and this writer in particular, would like to thank Adam Lambert for taking the time to speak with us.
ABOUT: DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Here’s how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class. Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, they deliver the materials to the school. At DonorsChoose.org, you can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions. They call it citizen philanthropy.
Copyright © 2010 Look to the Stars