It looks like Adam Lambert's debut album may not be released on 19 Recordings/RCA after all. Sources confirm to Billboard.com that an album's worth of tracks Lambert co-wrote and recorded before "Idol" will be released in the summer by Hi Fi Recordings and Wilshire Records. Entitled "On With The Show," the album is slated for release in the summer, months before Lambert's debut on 19/RCA is expected to drop.
Lambert's first single, "Want," is streaming now on the Hi Fi Recordings official website, and according to the company's CEO John Hecker, the rest of the tracks will sound similar. "The music's amazing," says Hecker. "There are some uptempo [songs], there's some that rock a little more, and there are some songs on the same tip as "Want." It's a real album that's coming out, not just a conglomerate of a bunch of songs. This is all original material -- as a matter of fact, Adam wrote a lot of it."
According to Hi Fi, Lambert co-wrote the material that will appear on the album and even made a trip to the Wilshire Records studio in Los Angeles as recently as May 2009 to hear it. "He was in the Wilshire Records studio right before the finale actually, and he was blown away by the material."
Hi Fi Recordings did not notify 19 Entertainment about its intent to release Lambert's debut album before announcing the news on Friday afternoon. "I bet they know now," Hecker says.
Later, Lambert issued a statement through 19. "Back in 2005 when I was a struggling artist, I was hired as a studio singer to lend my vocals to tracks written by someone else," he said. "I was broke at the time and this was my chance to make a few bucks, so I jumped at the opportunity to record for my first time in a professional studio. The work I did back then in no way reflects the music I am currently in the studio working on. I'm thrilled to be working with some of today's hottest songwriters and producers and can't wait for people to hear what my music really sounds like."
As reported earlier, Lambert is working with Lady GaGa producer RedOne and with ex-Evanesence songwriter David Hodges.
Adam Lambert's "Want" was produced by L.A. based New Zealand expat Malcolm Welsford, a principal at Wilshire Records, and features additional production by Mark Endert, who has produced or co-produced several Hot 100 hits including Maroon5's "Makes Me Wonder," Vertical Horizon's "Everything You Want" and "I Don't Want To Be" by Gavin DeGraw. Endert declined to comment, while his manager at Nettwerk, Alia Fahlborg, admitted that they knew it would be controversial. "He's very proud of the work he did," she said.
Welsford does not have a listed number, nor does Wilshire Records. His LinkedIn profile lists an additional company, Wilshire Publishing, and claims Adam Lambert as part of its roster. Welsford was unreachable for comment.
When pressed for more information on the terms of Lambert's non-exclusive agreement with Wilshire Records and whether or not the singer will see any compensation from the album, Hecker responded, "I don't really want to talk about the nuts and bolts of the business deal...but I can tell you that Adam will share in the success."
Hecker says he was approached by Wilshire Records about releasing Lambert's material soon after the singer made his first appearance on "Idol" in January 2009. "When they first discussed it with me I was really hesitant, because usually when there's music that's been recorded earlier, the stuff isn't so good. This stuff is unbelievable. We saw that it was the right thing for fans to hear this music. We're doing everything on the highest level, from the mixes to how we're promoting it."
Hi Fi Recordings is the label home of Melinda Doolitle, who finished third on Season 6 of "American Idol" and was a favorite contestant of Simon Cowell. But Hecker says that he's never been in touch with 19 Entertainment about striking a deal with a top "Idol" alum. "It wasn't relevant," he insists. Since jumping into the music business in 1995, Hecker signed the U.K. band Spacehog as well as Avril Lavigne, who was on his imprint through Arista.
The CEO says he's "100%" confident that his company has the legal right to debut its Adam Lambert album before 19/RCA does theirs. "We would never put anything out that wasn't fully owned by the parties involved with all the rights secured. We were really careful."
"I'm working [Adam's] brand with as much care as anybody could," adds Hecker. "I do not want to hurt this guy, I want this guy to be as huge as he should be, and I think this music is only going to help."