Adam Lambert’s Star Power from an industry perspective 5 Theatre, WICKED, Vocal Range, Dedication March 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm


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I’ve always found that the nicest stars are at the top and at the bottom (working their way up), it’s the ones in the middle that can be the most trouble :) and with Adam’s Dad having been a DJ and in the industry I’m not surprised the family is sensitive, kind and enthusiastic about Adam’s fans. And congratulations to Adam for continuing to captivate America, the amount of attention he’s receiving is amazing (and deserved!).

One great part of theatrical experience is discipline and work ethic… when you have to perform eight times a week in the same role possibly for years you really learn a lot. That’s why so many theatre people end up on TV, they have tremendous experience.

Every Artist is different, but generally management and the record label find songs (unless the Artist is writing his or her own material). At the label, the department is called A&R (for artists and repertoire) and that’s their job. It’s incredibly competitive to get the best material and that’s why the more powerful and connected the company (like 19) the better the chance to get a hit song. Sometimes, when inspired, songwriters will write specifically for an artist; now that writers are familiar with Adam’s range and ability as well as the connections he’s making, I imagine there will be a lot of material coming his way. (And for some of the others, too, there are many excellent studio voices this season.)

With respect to why Adam’s not a Star already, while Adam’s been working, a lot of his performances probably weren’t seen by the right people. For example, he understudied the lead male role in WICKED in LA so unless someone was there on the right night he was a company member and didn’t have a chance to shine. Before that, he was on the tour, and when you’re touring you’re really out of circulation. Coincidentally, a dear friend was understudying Mamma in Mamma Mia on tour… and when the tour was in San Diego (where Adam is from) the executive producer of the show just happened to be there, saw her, and she became Mamma for the rest of the tour and Broadway. But that’s really unusual. Plus, people in the music industry are in a different world from the theatrical crowd (as well as the TV and film people) so I guess he just wasn’t “in the right place at the right time.” It’s very common… generally the unemployment rate of union members (SAG for film and some TV, AFTRA for TV and Actors Equity for stage) is over 90%. But he sure is in the right place now!

Regarding music, C4 is the “middle C”, or the fourth C on a standard 88-key piano. A letter followed by the number 4 is part of that C4 octave - C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, A4, B4. The note directly above B4 is C5 and so on. The C one octave below “middle C” is C3 etc.  The “#” symbol is used to denote “sharp” (or a half-step above), while “b” is used for “flat” (or a half-step below). On a standard piano, these are the black keys.

Highest Notes of the remaining Finalists (these are just during AI performances):

1) Adam Lambert : A5
2) Lil Rounds and Megan Corkrey: D#5/Eb5
4) Allison Iraheta : D5
5) Danny Gokey: C#5/Db5
6) Anoop Desai : C5
7) Kris Allen and Scott MacIntyre : A#4/Bb4
9) Matt Giraud : A4

Some of the contestants don’t use Falsetto, so their ranges don’t include Head Voice/Falsetto:

Range of the Remaining Finalists (There are 6 steps in an octave) and remember these are just from what they’ve performed so far…

1) Adam Lambert - 16 steps (Nearly 3 octaves!)
2) Scott MacIntyre - 12 ½ steps
3) Lil Rounds - 12 steps
4) Megan Corkrey- 11 ½ steps
5) Anoop Desai, Kris Allen, and Matt Giraud - 11 steps
8) Allison Iraheta and Danny Gokey - 10 ½ steps

Highest Notes Including Head Voice/Falsetto of the Remaining Finalists (these are just during AI performances):

1) Adam Lambert : A5
2) Matt Giraud : F5
3) Lil Rounds and Megan Corkrey : E5
5) Danny Gokey : D#5/Eb5
6) Allison Iraheta, Anoop Desai, and Scott MacIntyre : D5
9) Kris Allen : A#4/Bb4

As far as mentions of websites that claim to be predictive, that’s all they are… only AI knows the results of the voting. They aren’t scientific and can’t possibly keep up with 36 million votes. Similarly, looking at downloads or vote counts is interesting, but with an audience of 25-27 million most people are just watching the show and calling or texting their votes. Die hard fans are on message boards and surfing the internet, but I think most viewers are just watching the show on television. (As an example, even on the American Idol website Lil Rounds’ message board has among the fewest posts, yet she hasn’t been in the bottom three and looks to have a substantial fan base.) Many of the contestants have compelling personal stories and viewers identify with their experiences, jobs and backgrounds as well as their talent.

As far as questions about the agreements, it’s public information and has been reported in mainstream media that everyone who auditions for AI needs to first sign a Personal Release (that’s true of all reality shows). Within that release (which hundreds of thousands of people have signed), contestants agree that at Producer’s election they will enter into a) an agreement for the management of their career in the entertainment industry (including singing and songwriting), and b) an agreement for their names, voice, likeness etc for advertising, endorsements, merchandising, and/or sponsorships. This “election period” lasts from the time the contestant auditions until 3 months after the date of the final episode of the season. It’s also publically available through SEC (the US Security and Exchange Commission) filings and has been reported in the mainstream media that in all territories where AI is produced, at Producer’s election the Finalists (anticipated to be 10 in the UK and 12 in the US) will enter into recording agreements as well. I can’t comment further but keep in mind that the whole idea of AI is to discover, cultivate and represent recording artists; they’ve done a brilliant job of that and anyone participating in the show is well aware and knowledgably agrees to the conditions for participation.

To be a pro in entertainment, you have to really, really want to do this to put up with the hardships, rejection and incredibly long-shot odds. It’s too early to tell what lies in store for Adam with respect to what type of material and image will be most successful, but as mentioned in a previous message he has been really strong and clear about what he wants to do artistically (and, most importantly, successful doing it) and in my experience management and labels want to take full advantage of what’s working. AI is a mainstream, hit oriented, money making organization, and 19 is unparalleled in accomplishing that. I’d expect they will have a creatively and financially successful partnership. Lady Gaga as an upcoming guest is a big clue; she’s about as edgy as any commercial artist out there, and her meteoric success opens a lot of doors for artists like Adam. I’m so proud of him not only for his talent, but also his determination, professionalism and kindness.

Best, Michael

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