Exclusive

Adam Lambert interview: Queen singer recalls emotional 'Who Wants to Live Forever' tribute on new album

8 October 2020, 16:01

By Tom Eames

Adam Lambert has released his first official album with Queen, and it's on course to be the band's first UK chart-topper in 25 years. In Smooth's latest Virtual Coffee Break, Jenni Falconer catches up with Adam about Queen's future, paying tribute to Freddie Mercury and his next solo projects.

Live Around the World is full to the brim of Queen classics, and features 20 of Adam Lambert, Brian May and Roger Taylor's finest performances together over the past seven years since they first teamed up.

Speaking to Smooth's Jenni Falconer for our latest Virtual Coffee Break interview, Adam looks back at his time with the legendary band, his most emotional performances and what may be coming next.

Watch the full interview above.

Talking about the album, Adam said: "We have audio and visual that we’ve been recording from almost every show for the past seven years, and we’ve never found a spot for it.

Queen + Adam Lambert in 2014
Queen + Adam Lambert in 2014. Picture: Getty

"So we were talking after postponing our tour, and thought, 'Well, this will be the time to dust off those files, and quickly get out an album'. And I’m so glad that fans are loving it. It’s a great retrospective of the last seven years."

He continued: "It’s such an honour, too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, you know? I didn’t ever expect it to go on and on and on.

"And it’s still a thrill getting on stage with Brian and Roger, and seeing the smiling faces and singing voices of everybody in the audience. It’s great."

Adam also gave an update on Brian May, who recently revealed that he "almost died" after a heart attack during lockdown.

"Luckily, I saw him last week, after taking a test and staying isolated for a minute. Him and Roger and I got together to sort of kick off this promotion for this album, and it was really nice to see them both.

Watch interview: Brian May on dealing with lockdown and the future of live music

"Brian is doing a lot better, which is great. You know, he’s just had to be on some certain medications, and is sort of on a recovery programme. But he seems like he’s nearly back to his fighting form."

Adam also opened up about the performances on the album that hold the most importance to him, saying: "I think that 'Who Lives Wants to Live Forever' is a really special moment. It was filmed at the Isle of Wight festival, and the night before that was the traffic Pulse nightclub shooting.

"It was just terrible. I woke up that morning to the news and just feeling really awful about it, and knowing that that could have been me or any one of my friends.

"So, sort of in the spur of the moment, when we got to that song, I dedicated the meaning of the song to those people that lost their lives. So it took on this very poignant sort of energy in that moment. It was one of those nights where the song just sort of captured that feeling. It was powerful, I think."

On keeping Freddie Mercury's memory alive, he added: "Freddie’s such an irreplaceable figure. So we celebrate him every night on stage. We acknowledge that, especially me to the audience. There’s no way I can compare to this rock god.

"So I think with 'Love Kills', in particular, that was a song that… the lyric is interesting. It has a meaning. Freddie lost his life because of the AIDS virus.

Read more: Watch Queen's Freddie Mercury sing to 'soulmate' Mary Austin in cute video

"There’s a song like 'The Show Must Go On' as well. It’s a song that sort of captures that feeling of, you know, life may hand you some curveballs, and you might be suffering, and you might be sort of ready to pass on to the next world – but you’ve got to keep your chin up, and push through."

Looking back at lockdown, Adam explained how he has tackled the last few difficult months: "I consider myself very fortunate that I’m able to keep things together.

"I’m not in the situation that some people are in where they’ve lost their job. My heart goes out to anybody out there that’s really struggling. I know it’s a lot of people that have been hit really hard by this thing.

"As far as my day-to-day life goes, you know, the first couple of weeks were weird, and I was sort of in shock. I put out a solo album of mine at the beginning of March called Velvet. A week or two later, everything was cancelled.

"So I had to sort of mourn the loss of that project. But obviously in light of everyone’s health and safety, that was not high on the priority list. I immediately sort of shifted focus, and started to get involved in various charity drives and outreached things to help with the pandemic."

Adam also revealed his next exciting project, saying: "I’m working on a musical [in London]. I’m writing it with some other writers who have had some great success.

"And we are… It’s still early days. It’s too early to give too much away about it. But a lot of the themes in it are themes that are really near and dear to my heart, and I think people are going to feel it. I hope so."

Queen + Adam Lambert's Live Around the World album is out now.