Adam Lambert Update – Feb. 15-21, 2016
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
Worth re-reading, “Grammy Schmammy”
Still, what fan’s heart didn’t thrill to see him taking his spot at Clive Davis’s legendary pre-Grammy bash and closing out the night with a David Bowie tribute performance of “Let’s Dance”? Here’s Lizza Monet Morales’ Periscope of Davis’s effusive intro of Adam. The tabloids lapped it up (See USA Today).
Adam was stunning (no surprise there!). Note the Blackstar collar studs; what an elegant fashion salute to the late, great David Bowie.
USA Today – Watch two Bowie tributes from Beck, Grohl, Adam Lambert and Bleachers. Ah bliss! Back to back performances by some of our favorite musicians!
— Brian A. Hernandez (@BAHjournalist) February 15, 2016
— Brian A. Hernandez (@BAHjournalist) February 15, 2016
FROM THE RECORDING BOOTH
In the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 18th, famed electronica artist Steve Aoki sent out a flurry of excited tweets. Aoki was performing in Dubai the day before Adam; wonder if that’s where they first hooked up?
Steve Aoki’s snapchat
— Steve Aoki (@steveaoki) February 18, 2016
From Wikipedia: “Steven Hiroyuki “Steve” Aoki (born November 30, 1977) is an American electro house musician, record producer, and music executive. In 2012 Pollstardesignated Aoki as the highest grossing dance artist in North America from tours. He has collaborated with producers and vocalists such as will.i.am,Afrojack, LMFAO, Iggy Azalea, Lil Jon, and Laidback Luke, and is known for his remixes of artists such as Kid Cudi.
Aoki has released several Billboard-charting studio albums as well, notablyWonderland, which was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronica Album in 2013. The first part of Aoki’s two-part album, Neon Future I, was released on September 30, 2014, and reached No. 1 on Dance/Electronic Albums in the United States.”
DJ’s and Festivals – Steve Aoki works with Adam Lambert for Neon Future III “Steve also shared that the track they were working on is called Cant Go Home and will probably end up on his upcoming album Neon Future III. Which will be the follow up to Neon Future II which dropped May 12th last year.”
PRESS AND BLOG PICKS
NY Post – Inside the Grammy bash that even Kanye ‘begged to get in’ “Davis also uses his gala to introduce new acts to the room of industry tastemakers — many radio execs and talent bookers for late-night TV shows attend the party.”
Showbiz 411 – Carly Simon Surprise Appearance One of Many Hits at Clive Davis’s Star Studded Pre-Grammy Party “Other performers included Nirvana with Beck on a David Bowie tribute–“The Man Who Sold the World”– plus Melissa Etheridge, Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Fetty Wap, Elle King, Tori Kelly, Adam Lambert with Jack Antonoff, Andra Day, and Barry Manilow.”
The List – John Giddings was unsure of Queen as Isle of Wight headliners “”The thing about Adam is I was really unsure about booking them. It took them two years to persuade me. But Adam’s great isn’t he? All the girls love Adam. I kept getting all of these tweets and Facebook messages saying how much they love him. It’s incredible. As for Brian May and Rodger Taylor, they are the biggest rock gods you could ever meet in your life.”
Adam Lambert’s “Ghost Town” Crosses 115 million Spotify Streams “Nearly one year after the lead single from Adam Lambert’s The Original High was released, “Ghost Town” has definitively obtained the status of “international hit.””
SHANE’S FINDS LOVE AGAIN
This is a long story re-posted from Shane Bitney Crone’s Facebook page, but oh so worth reading. Adam makes several appearances in it too. Have a hankie ready…
I know sometimes I can be long-winded. I know that my posts (including this one) are often longer than those you’re used to reading online. I know that it may seem like I am telling the same old story, but I assure you I am not, and hope you’ll read through till the end.
My life, at times, has been unbelievable. I’ve been blessed with tremendous joy and have endured overwhelming heartache. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept this, but I truly believe that my experiences are proof that everything happens for a reason; that there’s a larger cosmic plan. I also firmly believe that it is up to me to make sense of what has happened in my past and do my best to apply what I’ve learned to a greater purpose in the future.
A series of unpredictable and wonderful events have occurred in my life, many of which have been strangely connected to one another by the singing competition show called American Idol.
In 2004, I moved to Los Angeles and landed a production assistant job. One year later, a coworker introduced me to Tom Bridegroom, whom I got to know at an American Idol viewing party. That night we exchanged numbers and began hanging out regularly. We quickly fell in love and as our relationship grew stronger and more serious, the show—which we both enjoyed and cherished since it brought us together—remained a very important part of our lives.
During the 8th season of the show, Tom and I sat on our couch watchingAdam Lambert perform. I respected his talent and loved his voice, and yet I made judgmental comments about his clothes, his performance style, and his personality when being interviewed. Tom knew I was struggling with accepting myself, but he was also a fan of Adam and defended him, saying that we should celebrate the fact that Adam was true to himself and not trying to conform to be like the other singers on the show. This was a huge “aha” moment for me. Through therapy, a lot of self reflection, and Tom’s unconditional love and honesty, I realized that my past experiences had affected me deeply, causing internalized homophobia. I projected my shame onto others who reminded me of the things I had grown to hate most about myself.
During the 10th season, Tom and I randomly went to a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. We were surprised and thrilled when Casey Abrams, a contestant from season 10, wound up being the musical guest. One week later, on May 7, 2011, I was catching up on episodes of season 10 while Tom was hanging out with our friend Alex. While I watched Haley Reinhart belt out Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep,” I received a text from Alex that would change my life. She told me Tom had fallen from her roof and was being transported to the nearby hospital. A few hours later, Tom passed away.
My world fell apart and my grief was compounded by the fact that his family took his body to Indiana (his home state) without telling me, excluded me from planning the funeral, and ultimately banned me from attending the service, under threats of violence.
I had lost my best friend, who was the best thing to ever happen to me. I didn’t know how I could live or do the things we’d loved without him by my side. I stopped watching American Idol—it was depressing and reminded me too much of Tom.
Several months after Tom passed away, I decided to visit his gravesite in Indiana. By some crazy twist of fate, I sat next to Haley Reinhart on the plane. We made small talk, during which I told her about another strange American Idol connection: Alex’s boyfriend (now husband) had worked with and mentored Casey Abrams, who competed in the same season as her. Eventually Haley asked why I was making the trip; when I told her, she was very kind and sympathetic. Spending time with her strangely brought me a small amount of closure.
On the one year anniversary of Tom’s death, I uploaded a video to YouTube called “It Could Happen To You” that explained what happened to me after Tom died and urged people to take necessary legal precautions to avoid a similar situation. It went viral and was turned into a documentary called Bridegroom. We called it that not only to honor Tom but also because we believed that he was standing in for marriage equality and all LGBT rights. At a GLAAD event that year, I was randomly seated at the same table as Adam Lambert, who became a huge supporter of the film and graciously allowed us to use his song “Outlaws of Love” in Bridegroom.
In April 2013, Bridegroom Movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and then in October, made its television premiere on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Also in October, Bridegroom had its Los Angeles theatrical premiere, which was attended by many notable supporters including Adam Lambert and Paul McDonald, who competed in season 10 alongside Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams.
There were times throughout the following two years that I thought I was ready to move on, but I wasn’t. People urged me to put myself out there, but I needed to follow my heart and my own timeline.
A few months later, in December, a friend invited me to volunteer to participate with World AIDS Day Detroit. I didn’t know it at the time, but the event included a benefit concert featuring American Idol alums. Kris Allen, the winner of season 8, was going to headline. I hadn’t watched the show since Tom died and wasn’t familiar with the performers, but I knew this was going to be a memorable event.
I just didn’t know how memorable.
As I left for the concert’s rehearsal, I walked out the large revolving door of my hotel and bumped into a tall, attractive man with a big, bright smile. He said hello, I said hello, and we went our separate ways. After a few paces I looked back to catch another glimpse of him and saw that he was doing the same. A curious feeling, one I hadn’t felt in over a decade, came over me.
I arrived at the venue, made contact with the point people, and learned what my volunteer duties would be. The singers were rehearsing their numbers and as I fiddled with my phone, I heard the opening chords of Adele’s “Hello” ring out from the piano on stage. I looked up to see who was singing so beautifully and my heart started to beat rapidly—it was the guy from the hotel!
Not long after he finished singing, he walked over and introduced himself. His name was Rayvon Owen and he had been a finalist in the previous season of American Idol. That night, he and I talked for hours, remarking occasionally about how crazy and instantaneous our connection was. We would laugh and say things like, “Who are you?” and “Where did you come from?” By the end of the night, we were completely infatuated with one another.
Rayvon and I had spent a great deal of time worrying that we would never be able to find people who could really appreciate us for who we were, and yet it had happened. It was thrilling. At the last minute, Rayvon changed his travel plans to spend more time with me. When we finally said goodbye, I knew I was falling for him. This was how love was supposed to happen. No lies. No games. Just two people who could be themselves with each other.
We agreed to hang out once we were both back in Los Angeles. We went on a date (the first official date I’d been on since Tom) and got to know each other better. Rayvon shared with me that he’d lost a close friend unexpectedly a few weeks before the concert in Detroit. The funeral was scheduled for the day of the concert but something in his heart told him that he had to go. He struggled with keeping the commitment, wondering how he could possibly miss the funeral of his friend, but he was passionate about the cause and knew his friend would want him to perform. I shared stories of my past with him, including details about Tom and how important it was to me to continue honoring him. I had never felt very comfortable discussing that with past crushes because people had often told me that my story was intimidating, if not completely romance-repelling. With Rayvon, I didn’t hesitate to tell him about Tom, and he encouraged me to continue keeping Tom’s memory alive—which only made me fall further in love with him.
I wondered if dating me would cause problems for Rayvon, who told me that only his close friends and immediate family knew he was gay. He had never come out publicly but realized that in order to be authentic, and to stand up for what he believed in, he needed to. He decided to shoot the music video for his first post-Idol single with a male love interest. Coincidentally, he had made that decision a few days before meeting me.
Rayvon had a rough road ahead of him. Some of the most popular and successful recording artists, past and present, have inspired millions of others by being out. People like SAM SMITH, Ricky Martin, Jonathan Knight, Elton John, Lance Bass, Linda Perry, Frank Ocean, Troye Sivan,Jussie Smollett, and Tegan and Sara. In spite of their bravery and success, there’s still a stigma of being gay in the music industry. I’ve also learned that being gay in the African-American community can be especially challenging and to complicate matters, Rayvon is a very proud Christian who comes from a conservative community and family. He knew there would be a lot on the line but was willing to risk it anyway for the sake of being true to himself. I admired his bravery and told him I would support him in any way I could, since obviously I understood, better than most, the power of being true to yourself and sharing your story—even when it’s terrifying.
Rayvon and his team started searching for the right guy to appear in the video with him. While he and I were in New York City for New Year’s Eve, he told me that he wanted me to be the guy in the video. Of course I said yes. I was proud of and inspired by him for using this significant moment of his career to do something that could empower young people. I also knew that it would be an incredible opportunity to share my new love with the people who had supported me throughout the past few years. I was scared to announce that I was moving on but I knew, once again, that this was about so much more than me. Too often people deny who they are and whom they love because they’re worried about what other people think, but as Rayvon’s song says, you “Can’t Fight It.” Check out the music video, which was released on Valentine’s Day, here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r-ROsuWd8Y
To anyone out there who feels like they are damaged from previous relationships, who haven’t met “the one” yet, or who have lost love as I did and feel like they’ll never find it again, I am here to tell you that it is possible. It may not come in the packaging you expected, or at the moment you anticipated, but if you are patient and open to the possibility, amazing things can happen. I hope that by being public about my relationship with Rayvon, others will feel inspired to let themselves be vulnerable and take chances. We are all worthy of love and are not defined solely by the past.
I believe that in death, Tom helped me find new life—with Rayvon. Some people may think that’s crazy, but I believe with all my heart that it is true. I can’t predict the future, but if I’ve learned one thing from the past five years, it is that love and life are fleeting and I must live for the present. However long I get to be with Rayvon, I will cherish every moment. When he kissed me in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, my instinct was to stop him. I rarely, almost never, showed public displays of affection towards Tom because of my shame and paranoia about what others thought. I’ve learned, however, that even if it makes other people uncomfortable, it is not my job to make them feel better by withholding affection from the person I love. The more we prove to people we aren’t afraid of showing our love, the less they’ll have cause to fear it.
For the first time since Tom died, I started watching American Idol again. The show has meant so much to me, in many ways I didn’t realize till after Tom died. American Idol is ending this year and yet, in a way, it has helped me find a new beginning.
I’m grateful to be given the gift of love again, despite most of my life not feeling worthy of it. I am grateful to Tom, God, the universe—whatever or whomever is responsible for bringing me and Rayvon together. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this long and winding road; I hope you will be with me for many more adventures. Thank you to my family for loving me unconditionally and embracing my new relationship. Thank you to American Idol for bringing so many wonderful things and people into my life. Thank you to Tom for teaching me how to love others and, most importantly, love myself.
And thank you to Rayvon for opening your heart to me. I’m proud of you and honored to be a part of your journey. I promise to do my best never to take it, or you, for granted. I know that we have many wonderful and exciting years ahead of us and I can’t wait to go out and make a difference in the world with you. I know we can spread love and hope by being true to ourselves and each other.
Tap tap tap,
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