Singer Adam Lambert, who grew up in Rancho Peñasquitos, was 12 when he began impressing local audiences with a childrens theater company, performing operatic solos in musicals like Fiddler on the Roof. After graduating from Mt. Carmel High School, he fronted the band Citizen Vein, as well as performing in the touring cast for Wicked and the L.A. musical revue The Zodiac Show. In 2008, his father Eber Lambert was hosting an open-mike poetry night at Rebecca's Coffeehouse.
In 2009, at the age of 27, Lambert was a finalist on the American Idol TV show. His March 10 performance of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" was called by Paula Abdul one of the show's best ever.
While in the final three on AI, Lambert made a May 8, 2009, promotional tour around San Diego, with the Mayor even declaring it Adam Lambert Day (an honor never offered to local AI finalist Carly Smithson). Lambert ultimately lost the competition, though he scored second place.
During his 2010 tour, Lambert dismissed allegations in the press that he grappled with a photographer during a scuffle in Florida on September 16. E! True Hollywood Story debuted an episode about Lambert on November 21, including coverage of his youth in San Diego.
He was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance on his song “Whataya Want From Me.”
In early 2011, his Acoustic Live five-song EP sold out of its presale for physical copies. According to his record label RCA, “We’re working on a 2nd printing already, and making slight alterations on the packaging to distinguish it from the first (can you say collectible?), probably with a different colored spine on the CD.”
He returned to American Idol on Thursday, March 10, to perform an acoustic version of his song “Aftermath.”
March 22, 2011, was the release for his Glam Nation Live CD/DVD via 19 Recordings / RCA Records. Shot in Indianapolis, Indiana at Clowes Hall on August 31, 2010 and directed by Doug Spangenberg, it features twelve tracks plus a bonus cut. The DVD debuted at number one on the SoundScan Top Music Videos chart, selling 17k units in its first week, at that time the highest Music Videos chart debut of 2011.
On May 7, Lambert joined Prince onstage at the Forum in Inglewood, California. After the concert, Lambert tweeted “Saw Prince down at the forum! Danced our asses off. Happy MOMS Day!!” Lambert was watching the Prince concert from the VIP section, along with his boyfriend and his mother Leila. Later that month, he performed in Russia for the Maxidrom 2011 Festival in Moscow, as well as playing the St. Agathe en Feux Festival in July, in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, Canada.
Lambert turned up in Del Mar at the Turf Supper Club on June 19, 2011, joining local singer/songwriter J.D. Boucharde on stage. “He got up and did a song with me, and brought the friggin' house down,” Boucharde told the Reader.
“They [patrons] were stunned. I said his name, and the place got quiet, like they thought I was putting them on. He walked up, and men and women alike were standing there with their mouths hanging open, like they still couldn't believe what they were seeing. I started playing 'Mad World' and, taking the mic, he said: 'Slow it down a little bit.' I did. 'A little more.' And he friggin' NAILED it: every high note right on the money. Finished, and the place erupted like it was U2 at the Coliseum.”
Lambert's Dad Eber tweeted of the outing. “Surprise Fathers Day visit from Adam. Listened to demos, hit Turf Club to see piano bar friend JD, scotch & 3-way philosophical debate til 2.” Lambert made yet another unannounced stage appearance on Saturday, July 9, at a charity performance for the Kierrah Foundation, held at Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood. He took the stage to sing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” with 10 year-old singer Joie-May Silvers, backed by a full choir.
During July 2011, 130 boxes of Lambert music was shipped to U.S. soldiers serving in the Middle East, thanks to the Sister Soldier Project. Three Lambert videos appeared on the VH1 Top 100 Videos of 2011 list, the basis for a TV special later in the year.
In summer 2011, Lambert told MTV News that he’s written about 18 to 20 songs for a sophomore album. “I’ve been spending the past two and a half months in the studio,” Lambert said. The album features a collaboration with fellow San Diegan BC Jean.
Around the same time, his controversial American Music Awards performance landed him back in the news, after a new rehearsal video from the event surfaced online, and he was profiled on the August 7, 2011 episode of VH1’s Behind the Music. He also split with American Idol’s 19 Entertainment Management and signed with Direct Management Group, whose client roster includes Katy Perry, KD Lang, and the Go-Go’s. Previous AI Management defectors include Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia.
“Live the Life,” a dance track Lambert wrote and recorded with J. Scott G. a year before Idol, was made available on iTunes. On July 29, 2011, he debuted a new song called “Outlaws of Love” during a show at the St. Agathe en Feux Festival in Québec, Canada. It was also announced that he would be mentoring musical youngsters on Hub TV’s new show Majors and Minors, alongside stars like Colbie Caillat, Avril Lavigne, and Claude Kelly.
On August 13, 2011, he performed an unscheduled duet onstage with Kathy Griffin at the 2011 Los Angeles Equality California Awards, singing “Mad World” with her. After attending Burning Man, Lambert appeared as a guest judge on the fashion design reality show Project Runway.
He and his mother Leila Lambert were honored by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PLAG) on September 25, 2011, at an event held in Beverly Hills. Arounf the same time, his lead guitarist and music director Monte Pittman released a solo full-length, Pain, Love, & Destiny.
In October 2011, Lambert tweeted lyrics from his upcoming sophomore release, which will include contributions from NERD singer and producer Pharrell Williams and songwriter/producer Rico Love.
Around the same time, his brother Neil launched a political themed YouTube channel and website, continuing the themes of his frequent tweets on Twitter.
On November 1, 2011, he won the Must Follow Artist on Twitter award at the MTV O Music Awards, beating Blake Shelton, Cher, Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Mark Hoppus, and Snoop Dogg.
A few days later, he was being sued for copyright infringement by his former record label Colwel Platinum Entertainment, who allege the singer was ineligible to American Idol in 2009 and should not have been able to block their release of Beg for Mercy, with Lambert's early recordings.
He performed with Queen on November 6, 2011, at the MTV Europe Music Awards, singing “The Show Must Go On,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are The Champions.” On December 6, a set of early Lambert songs was released as Paramount Sessions, featuring Lambert and singer Steve Cooke doing ten rock ballads, each with Madonna and Seal’s backing band.
Roger Taylor of Queen told Billboard that the group is in negotiations to tour with Adam Lambert out front. “He has grown into a really great performer with an astonishing voice with a range that’s great. We would like to work with him again.”
He arrived in Shanghai China on December 15, 2011, to perform at a private event. A YouTube video of his arrival shows him greeted at the airport by a large group of enthusiastic (and somewhat rabid) fans.
He was arrested December 23 in Helsinki outside of gay bar Don’t Tell Momma around 4:00 AM after getting into what the local media described as a huge fight with his Finnish boyfriend. Around the same time, his sophomore album Trespassing spawned its first single “Better Than I Know Myself.”
At the beginning of 2012, he was ranked #1 on Amazon’s Top Rated MP3 Songs for “Better Than I Know Myself,” the first single off his sophomore album Trespassing. The full-length includes collaborations with Pharrell Williams, Dr. Luke, Bruno Mars, and Sam Sparro. Around the same time, an online Twitter petition was circulated, calling for Lambert to perform the National Anthem at the 2012 Super Bowl.
His single and video for “Better Than I Know Myself” premiered January 30, 2012, on Vevo. After new band bassist Ashley Dzerigin replaced Tommy Joe Ratliff (who switched to lead guitar), two more shows with Queen were announced: Moscow (June 30), and England’s Sonisphere festival (July 7), though the Sonisphere fest was sonn cancelled. Instead, Queen booked several summer shows with Lambert, including June 30 in Moscow, a bill with Elton John in Kiev, and two early July shows at the Hammersmith Apollo (UK).
A second single from Trespassing, “Never Close Our Eyes,” was written and produced by Bruno Mars and Dr. Luke. A limited edition vinyl box set version of Trespassing features six 12”x12” lithographs and other exclusive extras.
He returned to American Idol on May 17, 2012, to perform the second single from his new full-length Trespassing, “Never Close Our Eyes,” for which he also shot a video. The single reached #10 on Billboard's Dance / Club Tracks.
Trespassing debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart, with first-week sales of 77,000 copies. Shortly after its release, was talking to Fox about being a possible judge on the 12th season of American Idol, according to the E! News network. The second single from his full-length Trespassing, “Never Close Our Eyes,” hit #10 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Tracks, and he guested on the Halloween 2012 episode of the teen TV thriller Pretty Little Liars.
After the new release, however, DJ/producer Wolfgang Gartner accused Lambert’s song “Never Close Our Eyes” of sounding structurally similar to DJ-producer Deadmau5’s dance club hit “Ghosts N Stuff.”
In November 2012, he reportedly had his singing voice insured for $47 million and announced his plans to tour South Africa for the first time. His single “Trespassing” debuted at number one on the Hot Dance Singles sales chart, his tenth number one on the U.S. charts, and he co-hosted the 2012 VH1 Divas broadcast on December 16. Trespassing also made the top 50 on Amazon.com’s Bestselling Albums of 2012 year-end list, in the Customer Favorites category.
In early 2013, he parted ways with American Idol record label 19 Recordings, though he’ll remain on the RCA Records roster for his third full-length and will stay with Direct Management Group (which also reps for Katy Perry).
His March 1, 2013 Manila concert was canceled, for which Lambert apologized on Twitter, saying Philippine promoters failed to fulfill contractual agreements. Having parted ways with RCA Records (who wanted him to record a covers album), he performed with Queen again at the iHeart Music Festival in Las Vegas (September 20 - 21, 2013), as well as accepting an acting role as a recurring character named Elliott “Starchild” Gilbert on the fifth season of the TV show Glee.
DJ Avicii's debut 2013 full-length True features a funk-EDM hybrid track co-created with Lambert and Chic frontman Nile Rodgers called “Lay Me Down.” Lambert sang a live version of the song for the first time during an early 2014 performance in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Lambert went to Sweden to work on his third album with Swedish producer Max Martin, who co-produced two-songs on Lambert's second album (including the single “Whataya Want From Me”), as well as meeting with songwriters Tove Lo and Joe Janiak.
With Lambert having parted ways with Sony Records in 2013, Sony Legacy released The Very Best of Adam Lambert: Greatest Hits on May 27, 2014, featuring tracks from his two albums plus songs he performed on American Idol and Glee. Idol performances include Tears for Fears' "Mad World," U2's "One," and Smokey Robinson's "The Tracks of My Tears," and the album includes his take on Lady Gaga's "Marry the Night," from Glee.
In summer 2014, the American Idol vet substituted for Keith Urban during the show's Season 14 auditions at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Signed to the Warner Brothers label, he then teamed up with pop hit-makers Max Martin and Shellback (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync), for a new album called The Original High, released in June 2015. Recorded in Stockholm, Sweden and Los Angeles, the album includes collaborations with Tove Lo and Lambert's Queen bandmate Brian May.
His single "Ghost Town" was released in April 2015, promoted online with a new video directed by Hype Williams (Jack White, Beyonce, Kanye West, Coldplay), and he was on the cover of the May issue of Attitude magazine. "Underground" was the second single, and online samples were posted from "Evil in the Night" and "Another Lonely Night," with a video for the latter song debuting in October.
In early 2016, Lambert collaborated with Steve Aoki and Felix Jaehn for new track, "Can't Go Home."
On July 24, 2022, Queen & Adam Lambert streamed Rhapsody Over London, a recently-filmed concert at The 02 London. His spooky extravaganza "The Witch Hunt" staged a five-show limited California run that October, including a date at San Diego's Balboa Theater.