Adam Lambert always maintained that in his role as touring frontman for Queen, he wasn’t emulating the late Freddie Mercury. But when it comes to vocal skills, the American Idol season-eight star can more than hold his own, said Queen guitarist Brian May in a recent interview, noting that there are some things Lambert brings that even Mercury couldn’t do live.
May told Japan’s Universal Music: “They’re difficult songs to sing, Queen songs. There’s too much range. So many people can’t sing them in the original key — even if they are good singers, Adam comes along, [and] he can do it easy. He can do it in his sleep! He can sing higher than even Freddie could in a live situation. So I think Freddie would look at this guy and think, ‘Hmm… Yeah. Okay.’ There would be a kind of, ‘Hmm … You bastard. You can do this.’ ”
May was complimentary of Lambert’s showmanship as well. “He doesn’t have to try. He is a natural, in the same way that Freddie was,” he said, adding, “We didn’t look for this guy, [but] suddenly he’s there, and he can sing all of those lines. … He doesn’t imitate; he just does his own thing.”
Mercury died in 1991 of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS. Lambert has collaborated with members May and drummer Roger Taylor since 2011.
Queen + Adam Lambert are due to tour Europe in the coming year, including a New Year’s Eve gig at Central Hall Westminster in London. The show will be broadcast on BBC One.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.