Saturday, August 8, 2009

Adam Lambert's Biography Part 1: The Early Years

Adam was born on January 29, 1982, in Indianapolis, Indiana. His parents, Eber and Leila, met at the University of Vermont in Burlington in the late 1970's and married on May 3, 1981, nine months before his birth. They were both laid-back, open-minded people who loved music and arts. Eber had been a DJ in college and owned an extensive collection of vinyl records. The apple never falls far from the tree, and it's easy to see where Adam got his showmanship skills. Eber was a colorful, outgoing young man who loved to perform classic rock songs for his friends. He was part of the Champlain Valley High School drama club in Hinesburg, Vermont, where he grew up. After graduating from college in 1980, he found a job at RCA in Indianapolis, Indiana. But Leila and Eber both felt that Indianapolis was not a good fit for them, so when a job opportunity presented itself, they decided to move to San Diego, where they settled in the community of Rancho Bernardo.

As a young child, Adam was a handful. He didn't sleep through the night until he was 18 months old and would scream for an hour every night. Eber said jokingly that this is where Adam developed his remarkable vocal skills. He was so noisy and restless that his parents couldn't take him out to restaurants. He loved playing dress-up and trying on different hats and costumes. In fact, the box of Halloween costumes would stay out all year round.

Adam's younger brother Neil was born in 1985. Shortly after, the family moved to a new home in the nearby community of Rancho Peñasquitos, where Adam attended the Deer Canyon Elementary School and the Mesa Verde Middle School. Young Adam was so rambunctious and full of energy that his mother consulted a doctor, worried that he might be suffering from some kind of attention deficit disorder. "No", the doctor said, "he's just a very curious and precocious child". Eber and Leila, trying to find an outlet for his energy, tried to involve him in various sports such as T-ball and soccer. He didn't enjoy playing sports, so they finally decided to enroll him in the Children Theatre Network group (now called MET2). Adam was 10 years old and this was a revelation for him. He really loved singing, dancing and playing different characters. His first public performance was in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", where he played the role of Linus, the shy boy with the blanket. The CTN was an excellent training ground for budding performers and Alex Urban, the director, soon recognized Adam's exceptional talent and took him under his wing. During the next 8 years, Adam would perform in three or four musicals a year, often playing different roles within the same run.

At age 12, Adam performed the role of the Russian tenor in the musical "Fiddler on the Roof". In the group number "To Life", he had to hold a very high note for quite a long time before launching into a solo. The audience was flabbergasted. Adam's parents realized at that moment how gifted he was as a singer. They decided to send him to work with a private vocal coach, Lynne Broyles, who taught him vocal technique and really helped him develop his incredible instrument. Adam was very curious and enthusiastic and would ask her a million questions, soaking up her knowledge. A few years later, Lynne founded her own theater group, called "Broadway Bound Youth Theatre Foundation". Adam performed with that group as well as the CTN.

In 1996, Adam went to Mt. Carmel High School, where he joined the drama club, the choir and the jazz band. In April 2000, the Classical Vocal Ensemble travelled to New York to perform at the Lincoln Center. This was an amazing experience for Adam and his classmates. He performed in various dramatic plays and musicals throughout his high school years, including "The Crucible", "The Music Man", "The Secret Garden" and "Pirates of Penzance". He even showed great comedic talent in the role of Bottom in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Adam also participated in "airbands", which are competitive group dance performances organized by the students. Each group had to create and perform a number, and the team with the best choreography won. Adam went wild with the makeup and crazy moves during these performances, already foretelling the "Zodiac Show".

Eber and Leila had always suspected that their son might be gay. When Adam was 13, his father caught him looking at gay porn on the family computer. He told his wife "It's official". They didn't know how to broach the subject with him, and consulted with gay friends and counsellors. They told them to wait until he came forward. It wasn't until the end of high school that the opportunity presented itself. Leila and Adam went to a Speech and Debate evening at the local high school. One of the speeches was about a kid who was rejected by his parents because of his sexual orientation. On the way back home, Leila asked Adam if he had a girlfriend. "No", he said. "Do you have a boyfriend?" asked his mother. "No", he said. "Well, do you want one?", she insisted. Adam replied "that would be nice". After that, the floodgates opened and they talked and laughed into the early hours of the morning.

Adam was more interested in all his extra-curricular activities than his studies, and his academic performance unfortunately suffered as a consequence. His B average didn't allow him to get accepted in the best theatre schools in New York or Cincinnati. He was accepted at California State University Fullerton in the Theatre Arts program. But then, just as classes started, so did rehearsals for the musical "Grease" presented by Moonlight Stage Productions, in which Adam was playing the role of Doody, the youngest of the Burger Palace Boys. He didn't attend any classes for the first month. When he finally showed up, he was bored to tears and decided that college wasn't for him. He was eager to start his real life and announced to his parents that he was dropping out. His father made it clear that he would have to support himself and find a job, which he did. He worked for six months at Macy's at the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, Orange County, before deciding to move to Hollywood to pursue a musical theater career.

This post was originally published by The Librarian on the Adam Lambert Reference Centre blog. The original post URL is

1 comment:

  1. Well done, you got it all nice and clear, and concise,