Friday, August 14, 2009

Adam Lambert: The ultimate interview, Part 4

LAT: Let’s talk about some of the songs you performed on “Idol.” One of my favorites was your interpretation of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “The Tracks of My Tears" during Motown week.

AL: My first impulse was to do “War” by Edwin Starr. I love that song.

LAT: That makes sense -- Bruce Springsteen recorded it, too.

AL: He has? I haven’t heard that version. I want to hear that. And Randy Jackson produced a Motown album with Boyz II Men and they do a version of it. It’s great, but the week before I had just done “Ring of Fire,” so I already caused controversy and pushed the buttons and polarized everybody and I’m really happy about it because I liked what I did and I got to be weird and set myself apart, so I felt I should probably go the complete opposite direction and be super-cleaned-up and kind of pretty and acoustic and organic. That was me being strategic, because I don’t really see myself singing in an acoustic style but I knew I could and it was fun. Because it was Motown, I always wanted to dress fitting the song, so I said, “Let’s get a suit and brush my hair and take off the makeup and the nail polish and do like a real classic look because it’s fresh.” It got everybody talking and I realized I could play with image on the show more than I thought I could.”

LAT: How did you work with the stylists?

AL: They were really good. Miles and Art were very, very, very collaborative and receptive to every idea that I had and they really supported me. I mean, a lot of it was me saying, “I want to do something like this,” and they’d say, “OK, let’s go shopping,” and then we would put together [my look] as a team.

LAT: Not every contestant comes up with their own ideas for how they’re going to look.

AL: I’m the L.A. guy. I like clothes and visual presentation and playing dress-up. I think that definitely was an advantage.

LAT: You mentioned singing an acoustic song. Your version of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” was a great example of that. How did you choose to sing that?

AL: The theme was year of birth. They gave us a list and that song popped out at me and I remembered the Gary Jules version from the movie, “Donnie Darko.” It’s haunting and beautiful and it gets in your head and the words are amazing and I wanted to do it because I knew it would be different and very non-“Idol” and not showy. I wanted to pull back and sound really vulnerable and just do the song justice and they came up with a great arrangement of it, kind of this ambient, acoustic thing.

Read all of Part Four

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