Joy of Being Queer Edition

Chapter 9: The modern Braveheart – Superstar Adam Lambert über den Mut, zu sich selbst zu stehen

„You’re like a knife cause your looks could kill.” Mit diesen passenden Worten startet der Song „Roses” von Adam Lamberts neuem Album Velvet und sie bringen den mutigen Stil des Erfolgsmusikers ziemlich exakt auf den Punkt: Unangepasst! Er setzt selbstbewusst Fashion-Statements, geht seit Jahren offen mit seiner Homosexualität um und hat kürzlich die gemeinnützige Organisation „Feel Something” gegründet. Die Foundation setzt sich für die Rechte der LGBTQ+-Community in Bereichen Bildung, Kunst, Obdachlosigkeit, Selbstmordprävention und psychische Gesundheit ein. Der Aktivist und Musiker gilt schon lange als Gay-Icon und ebnete den Weg für viele queer Artists. Genug Gründe also, um mit ihm genau darüber zu sprechen…

Eleven years have passed since your big breakthrough:
How do you think queer representation has changed in the public eye?

It’s much more of an open conversation now. I have been in the industry for a while now and it was a little bit of a taboo. Now it’s much more normalized. A lot of queer artists are in the industry nowadays, which is wonderful. When I did my first show a couple of years ago, my sexuality was a big thing. Now it’s not really a topic anymore. For me personally, the biggest thing that has changed is that I don’t have to explain it that much anymore. Back then, I was in the theater, I was making music in L.A. and I was in a very comfortable world that I created for myself, so I never really had to deal with a lot of homophobic bullying or anything. Once I was in the public eye, all of that came to life. At the beginning of my career, I was very protected, but I think it was good that I experienced that, because it allowed me to understand more about my community and how other people deal with it.

A few months ago you posted a cute couple-pic on your Instagram. How difficult is it to find the right partner as a famous gay man?

Being in the public eye definitely adds a lot of obstacles to dating, like time issues, but it is not impossible. It’s just about finding the right person that understands.

One might say that you have all the right assets – you’re attractive and successful – do you think potential partners might feel threatened by that?

I think so, yes. That’s why it takes the right person. It takes somebody that’s confident and somebody that has something of their own going on. That they have their own work or their own journey.

“When I discovered Prince, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury – just looking at them visually – I loved them right away, also because of their crazy outfits.

What advice would you give struggling teens who have problems with finding their true sexuality?

I figured out that I was gay when I was in school and about 13 years old. A lot of people go through this journey of the minds and hearts and some of them have a hard time being open about it. There is so much liberation that comes with opening up and being honest with yourself and the people around you. Even if it’s difficult for a while – it’s harder to keep up some sort of a facade – being yourself is the first step towards happiness.

What helped you in your coming out process?

I was in the arts so it was really an easy transition for me. I was doing theater where there is a lot of support for gay people. So it was easy for me to come out actually. My social environment helped a lot. It was not that big of a thing.

Your look has changed considerably over the years and we get the feeling that you’ve really found yourself with your latest era. What advice would you have for a young person who wants to dress more extravagantly, but is afraid to do so?

People sometimes say things like, “I like that outfit a lot, but I could never pull it off.” I have heard that a hundred times. And I always think to myself, “What does that mean? What do you mean, ‘you can’t pull it off?’ Just why?” All you need in order to pull something off is the desire to do so. It’s just about owning things. If you like something, why not own it? As a person in the public eye, I have always been extravagant when it comes to the way I want to dress. I like attention and wearing something interesting and extraordinary. I love expressing myself with fashion and makeup. It’s fun and a childlike thing for me to do, it just makes me happy.

Do you feel like you put on a different persona when you dress up?

I don’t think it’s a different persona, it’s just amplifying my own. It’s turning the volume up a little bit on my own personality.

Did you have an extrovert role model in your youth?

When I discovered Prince, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury – just looking at them visually – I loved them right away, also because of their crazy outfits. They were definitely fashion inspirations for me. The first time I noticed those rockstars, I loved how they could just wear whatever they wanted.

Nowadays, artists like Harry Styles, Billy Porter or Ezra Miller dare to wear whatever they feel like in a gender-fluid, breaking stereotypes kinda way. How do you like their courage when it comes to fashion?

I love that whole movement a lot. I always check what those three wear. I always admire what they do. I love that we live in times where you don’t even necessarily have to be gay to dress flamboyantly. It’s a very forward thinking thing and I love it.

Your second album was the first record by an openly gay artist ever to reached number one in the USA and Canada. What went through your head when you found out about your chart success?

I was very surprised and didn’t realize that this had never been accomplished before. I was shocked and thought, “No way, someone must have done that already!” I was really proud of it for a long time.

Your new record “Velvet“ came out on March 20 of this year. What are the main themes on the new album?

The underlying theme of the whole record is love – finding love and loving yourself. Self-love is so important and you have to be confident and proud. If those things are not working, it’s really hard to love somebody else. The song “Superpower“, for example, is a big empowerment anthem where it’s all about changing situations that don’t feel right for you. So take back the power and change that.

The artwork and the sound on your new record lean heavily on the disco-era. Was this a natural move for an 80s kid like you or is there a different reason behind it? 

I always loved music from the 70s and 80s. That has always been a thing that I responded to. There was a lot of that kind of music playing in my house growing up. This is the kind of music I have always listened to.

You are going on tour through Europe this fall.*
What can we expect?

The whole show is going to be centered around the new album, so that is going to be the world that I am creating for the audience. I am excited to play all the new songs and also bring some old ones back on stage into the new style of “Velvet”. This is going to be a fun challenge.

*Aufgrund der aktuellen COVID-19 Situation wurde die Europa-Tour von Adam Lambert auf 2021 verschoben.

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