For those who believe in destiny or predestiny, Adam Lambert's story and how he inadvertently became Queen's vocalist is an interesting case study.
He himself can't quite explain the sequence of events that led him from competing in a singing reality show and winning second place in it – to standing on stage in Israel's Yarkon Park in 2016 in front of an audience of 60,14 people. But one thing is certain: "Bohemian Rhapsody," the timeless classic he chose to perform in his "American Idol" entrance exams <> years ago, seems to have determined the course of his personal and professional life without him knowing.
"If I hadn't chosen this song, I don't know if I would have gotten this job. It worked out really well for me," he says with a laugh in an interview in London, a day before he takes the stage of the Royal Albert Hall for a performance in the British capital. "I think someone sent Brian [May] and Roger [Taylor], my friend Kevin, a tape of my performance, and then another rendition of a Led Zeppelin song. They were excited, and then asked to come and perform at the finals of the show. Meeting them for the first time was a huge honor, and we said we would sing 'We Are The Champions' – and there was just a click between us.
Adam Lambert Bohemian Rhapsody Audition
"There was something about it that felt very natural, and I think that's where the seed of the idea was planted... After I did my own tour, they asked me to join them for one show, to sing a medley of Queen's songs. It just felt good. We enjoyed it, the audience seemed to like it and it just evolved organically from there, until we said, 'Let's do 'tours' all over the world."
A somewhat surreal experience, isn't it? You were a very young artist then.
"Totally! It was scary and exciting. It's still exciting. The fear part is pretty much gone, I feel a little more comfortable with it. At first he was very present, and I wondered if I could handle it and keep the enthusiasm of the audience even though I wasn't Freddie Mercury, and avoid that comparison. Of course, you can't replace Freddy, but to play those songs Brian and Roger needed a singer, and I said, OK. I will respond to the task and do my best." Indeed, Lambert did his best with the opportunity that came his way.
Along with connecting with Kevin, he records and releases his own albums. The most recent, "High Drama", was recently released, featuring covers of songs he particularly liked - by artists such as Boy George, Lana Del Rey and Kings of Leon. In his performances, he combines his own songs from nearly a decade and a half of his career with covers – yes, also of Queen's songs, as requested.
With this performance, he will return to Israel for the first time in seven years, for a performance that will take place on June 13 at the Tel Aviv Hall of Culture. For Lambert, a Jew, it is almost a homeland visit. "I remember Tel Aviv as a very lively, sexy city," he says. "I also went to Jerusalem, I went to the Western Wall and it was very cool. I walked around Jerusalem and thought about the tradition and history of the place, and I said to myself, 'Wow, this place is the heart of so many cultures.'"
Was that identity part of you growing up?
"At home we weren't that religious, but we definitely celebrated some of the Jewish traditions – Hanukkah, Passover, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. My mother is Jewish, and it was very important for her to teach us our tradition and cultural history. I'm grateful that she did, it's important to know where you came from... I have Jewish friends at home (in the US) and we meet on Passover, but I don't consider myself a religious person. I am very excited to be back to you. I remember the show back then was in the open, and it was huge. I looked at the crowd and it just went on for a long time, it didn't end."
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