What Adam Lambert Admired Most About David Bowie


Adam Lambert (Photo: Getty Images)

Ask Adam Lambert what exactly it is that he, a fervent fan of the late David Bowie, loved most about his idol and expect a long answer that really comes down to one thing: Bowie was an original.

“First of all, as a lyricist and musician, he was such a poet, so hats off to him for that,” Lambert told Yahoo Celebrity the day after Bowie died of cancer at 69. “But also, I just think that the concepts that he dared to explore were especially — at the time, in the ‘70s — were still pretty taboo and still really left of center, and I think he was really brave that way. You know he really challenged our idea of gender stereotypes. In the '70s, he was doing a lot of very provocative, androgynous type of imagery and song content.

"And then into the '80s, he kind of pushed this uber masculine kind of classic throwback image, which was just such an interesting reinvention,” Lambert continued. “He was exploring both sides of it, and … in many ways I relate to that. And I’m inspired by that, because I think that it’s good to shake it up. It’s good to sort of challenge people’s perceptions and explore. He was an explorer. And I think he said that. He was a collector and an explorer.”

Bowie, in fact, said, “I’m a collector. I collect personalities, ideas. I seem to draw a lot of fantasies out of people.” He spoke those words back in 1973 as he was being interviewed by broadcaster Russell Harty in an interview on British TV.

Related: Stars Share Their Memories with David Bowie


David Bowie (Photo: Getty Images)

Lambert, 33, was born a decade after Bowie became a star, but he credits his upbringing with his familiarity with all periods of the elder rocker’s career.

“He meant a lot to my father, so there’s this family connection for me,” Lambert shared. “My dad [Eber Lambert] kinda grew up listening to his albums and I heard his albums around the house.”

It’s precisely because of that that the San Diego native has a tough time naming his favorite Bowie album.

“Well, there’s obviously the stuff I’m talking about right now, with this whole concept of fame and androgyny and sexuality and things like that,” he said. “[1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars] obviously, that was what it was all about. I also really liked when he made that really strong move over to Young Americans [in 1975], which was an album that sort of allowed him to step way outside what we had heard from him in the past. He did sort of like a Philly soul, R&B, disco funk kind of vibe. I really love that album. I think it’s really groovy!“

Related: No New Wave, No MTV, No Gaga: A Glimpse at a World Without David Bowie

Although Lambert often performs Bowie’s work — he even did a Bowie medley on American Idol last season — he never encountered him directly.

"Unfortunately, I never got a chance to meet him,” Lambert said. “I was lucky enough to get like a degree of separation. I worked with [Bowie’s frequent producer] Nile Rodgers. I’ve worked with [Bowie collaborators] Queen, obviously, and I was always asking questions and for stories about him. I’m so fascinated by David Bowie.”

While Lambert found the news of Bowie’s death “shocking,” he also found a silver lining in the timing of it all.

“I have to say that the beautiful thing about all of it is that he was able to release his latest album and the unbelievable music video work just recently,” said Lambert, referring to Bowie’s 26th album, the critically-acclaimed Blackstar, which dropped on his birthday, Jan. 8. “It’s such a beautiful way to sort of close out his time here on earth.”

Although, with Lambert around, music fans can still appreciate some of Bowie’s influence.