‘I definitely paid my dues’: Adam Lambert remembers his difficult path to fronting Queen

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Some of Adam Lambert’s staunchest fans tend to get defensive when his history in American Idol is mentioned — and not just because he finished second. The implication from detractors is often that Lambert, who’s getting ready for his U.S. debut this month with Queen, didn’t pay his dues.

Far from it, counters Lambert — who worked as a singing waiter at corporate events, in retail and as a Starbucks server while trying to get his start in the music business.

“If you rewind my 20s,” he says during this In Sixty clip, “I definitely paid my dues. I definitely lived a very unglamorous life.”

Lambert was determined, long before he joined a group of Idol contestants often criticized as mere interpreters, to create music that showcased his own narrative voice.

“I was doing a lot of theater stuff, but I was in the ensemble, always,” he adds. “I would never get hired beyond that. I was getting frustrated. I was getting to pay my bills, finally, but I don’t feel like I’m creating something. I had this hunger to make something.”

That continues today, even while he’s established a parallel persona as Queen’s frontman. Lambert, in fact, issued his second album Trespassing — featuring nine of 12 co-written originals — last summer as he took part in a multi-show run with Brian May and Roger Taylor.

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