Adam Lambert without all the theatrics? Lambert says he’s mining new territory with his upcoming third album, The Original High, and he’s proud to be singing about “some real stuff — stuff that’s not always so easy to talk about, not so PC.”
But don’t expect a complete absence of black leather and eyeliner. Both were present at the iHeartRadio Awards on Sunday night, where Lambert told Billboard that his first outing on Warner Bros. takes a different turn from 2012’s Trespassing, released on RCA Records. “It’s still pop music, but it’s a bit of a new sound for me stylistically.”
Executive produced by hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback, the album “is a bit darker, but it’s still upbeat,” Lambert said. “I was trying to strip away some of the pageantry from pop that I had already delved into. I like what I’ve done in the past, but it was time to strip back the theatricality and the camp. There’s some reality in there.”
First single “Ghost Town” (no relation to the new Madonna song of the same name) drops April 21 and provides what Lambert feels is the perfect intro to the new set, which is expected out this summer. “It’s an interesting mix. Some of the songs have darker lyrics and some have more upbeat dance beats. I think everybody will find some sort of meaning within the songs, and each will mean something different to each person.”
Lambert’s new solo material debuts not long after the singer returned from touring the world with Brian May and Roger Taylor under the “Queen + Adam Lambert” banner. “It was such an honor to share the stage with them and sing those incredible songs, and see all those faces in the audience flip out,” he said of the experience.
Noting that he, May and Taylor are “like a big family now,” Lambert told Billboard, “They’re really good guys and we’re all very comfortable with each other. Both Brian and Roger are both very paternal with me. We play a lot on stage; there’s a lot of ad-libbing and freestyling.”
Did his paternal tourmates offer him any advice about his new music? “Just to keep it real,” Lambert said. They encouraged me to be who I am, which is great. Coming from a band with a legacy like that, it’s important.”