Singer Adam Lambert unfazed about dissent

American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert is excited about performing in Singapore on New Year's Eve.
American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert is excited about performing in Singapore on New Year's Eve. PHOTO: DAVID ROEMER

American singer Adam Lambert says his shows are about love, acceptance and honesty

Singer Adam Lambert has performed in Singapore three times over the past five years.

But some Singaporeans are not happy that the 33-year-old will be the headline act at MediaCorp's 2016 New Year countdown show, with an online petition started last Wednesday calling for him to be removed from the show. Saying that the openly gay singer is an "inappropriate choice" for the show, it has garnered more than 19,000 signatures.

However, an opposing petition in support of him performing appeared online the next day and has since surpassed the first petition with more than 24,000 signatures.

This is not the first time objections have been raised to Lambert performing in Singapore.

Ahead of his concert at the Star Performing Arts Centre in 2013, the National Council of Churches of Singapore received a complaint about a church-owned venue hosting the openly gay singer.

The show was given an "Advisory 16 and above (some mature content)" rating by the Media Development Authority.

In a phone interview last Thursday, ahead of the latest petitions, Lambert says he was not aware that there were dissenters to his 2013 performance.

Speaking from his home in Los Angeles, he seems unfazed, saying his shows are about "love and acceptance and freedom and honesty".

He adds: "I don't see how that's offensive to anybody, no matter what religion you follow."

The American Idol 2009 runner-up, who told Life last Thursday that he would be spending time with his family over Thanksgiving this past weekend, says he is fine with not ringing in the New Year with his loved ones.

"I love it. I've had the opportunity to perform on New Year's Eve the past couple of years and I always do it in a different place," he says.

"When I heard we were going to do it in Singapore, I was so excited!"

Last year, he performed in London with British rock legends Queen for Rock Big Ben Live. The New Year's Eve concert was aired on national broadcaster BBC One.

Lambert has taken over as the flamboyant frontman of Queen, having performed and toured with the band since they sang We Are The Champions together at the finals of American Idol in 2009.

He is the second replacement frontman for the band since vocalist Paul Rodgers, of Free and Bad Company fame, ended his stint with them in 2009.

Both Lambert and Rodgers have served as stand-ins for the original frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury, who died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from Aids in 1991.

Lambert insists that "as much as I love Freddie, I don't try to channel him. I play myself". While he admits he was intimidated at first about taking on Mercury's mantle and Queen's formidable catalogue, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor were "there the whole time to guide me".

He adds: "What I loved about working with Queen was that they've songs that everybody knows and loves. They've been a part of people's lives for a very long time."

But being a part of rock royalty has not interrupted his own musical pursuits. In June this year, he released his third album, Original High.

With Swedish hit manufacturing duo Max Martin and Shellback at the helm as executive producers, the album has spawned hit pop singles Ghost Town and Another Lonely Night.

The choice to work with the duo was a no-brainer for Lambert. Martin and Shellback were also responsible for his first American Top 10 hit single, Whataya Want From Me (2009).

"When it came time to figure out who I wanted to work with on this album, I was like, let's go with what works," he says.

For his show in Singapore, he says there will "definitely be lots of new songs and lots of my old favourites as well as a couple of surprises".

When asked if there will be a Queen song or two thrown in the mix, he says: "You'll just have to come and see."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2015, with the headline 'Lambert unfazed about dissent'. Print Edition | Subscribe