Tom O’Neil Answers Your Questions June 24, 2009 at 9:09 am


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Here are answers to your questions from Tom O’Neil; hope you find them interesting and informative. To make it simpler, here are questions and answers together. Tom mentioned he had lots of fun answering them and we’re planning more guests in the near future. I hope you’ll join me in saying thanks to Tom and visiting the Gold Derby website.

Best, Michael

Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:55 am

by poohclark

Michael, thank you for setting this up with Mr. O’Neil, it adds another asset to this great message board.

Mr. O’Neil

I would like to know your opinion on Adam cover on Rolling Stone. There have been some very positive writings from the press, what about from the entertainment business, like 19-E? And in general, what has been your observation from the industry on Adam?

How important and essential is it for Adam to keep news worthy all the time?


Luv the RS cover. That’s just the image he needs to project — the young edgy bohemian rocker — to offset the temptation to eye him as another gay Broadway wannabe bellowing power ballads. Industry regards Adam as a sky-high superstar right now. He should NOT remain news worthy all the time. Being aloof adds to one’s Cool Factor and mystique. The mistake Tom Cruise made in recent years is letting us get to know the real Tom Cruise. The biggest star in the film world today is Will Smith, largely because he’s cool and a bit elusive. Rarely does he grant interviews.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:52 am

by pippy18

Hi Tom-
I would like to know what are the responsibilities off a manager and a publicist?
Will RCA “assign” one or both of these to Adam?
I know some artists forgo these two altogether and employ an attorney instead- what is your take on what is best for Adam?
Do you think he revealed too much in the RS interview? (I hate to see anything he said there used as ammo against him by the religious wackos and homophobes, but I fear that will happen).
Great to have you on board!

Adam needs to hire a manager and a publicist — on his own, not let anyone else do that because those people must have Adam as their allegiance, not “Idol.” Dunno what to think of Adam’s coming out. Theoretically — all recent showbiz history has shown us — that it’s a career killer for someone positioning himself as a romantic idol. Female fans can’t think he’s attainable in their fantasies. But how much of Adam’s appeal is romantic? How much is the fact that this dude is just oh-so-damn-kewl and a helluva talent? We’re about to find out.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:06 pm

by 80sMom

I like to think that in a few years Adam will be on the big screen. Do you see this happening? If so, we know he wouldn’t be the character actor on the sidelines, but will instead be a leading man type. But is America ready for an openly gay leading man? There is no way this dude does not have at least some minimal acting abilities, based on what I’ve seen.

Any idiot can act. Talent has nothing to do with anything. On average filmmakers shoot about 60 to 80 takes of every scene so there are always a few cuts that are good, whoever’s doing the mugging. No, Adam’s not a leading-man film star. He’ll pop up in film and TV roles, but that’s not his place on the pop-culture stage. Look how hard it is for music artists to cross over. Madonna: Ouch. Britney: Ouch, ouch.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:23 pm

by geulis09

Hi Tom,

Thank you for giving us some times of your busy schedule.

1. I want to add to poohclark questions i.e. Rolling Stone cover, from the industry perspective, do you think it’s wise for Adam to open himself up so soon to the world now. Will it cost him to do that? I mean he hasn’t launched his career yet, the album he wants to make is still on the drawing board. I read that when Elton John coming out years ago as bi-, it cost him lots of fans and his career pretty much. It’s 2009 now, but is it still the same for Adam from industry point of view?
2. I’m also still hearing that Adam’s career will end up in Broadway, because that’s where his nitch is. I know Broadway is not a bad thing and it could be a great thing, since we see lots of big movie stars are going there now. However, I think for me Broadway / theater is too small audience for Adam. Not many people watching or even interesting to come to theater and see a play, unlike music concert. So I would like to know what and how the entertainment industry sees Adam’s future.
3. I heard on YHA interview that Adam’s a free agent artist. I thought he’s under 19E Management, don’t know it’s the same thing or not. The free agent thing, is that a good thing or a bad thing for a young artist in the business. I meant he’s young and new in this real entertainment industry, doesn’t he need someone experience that knows about the tricks in the business? He’s like a small fish in a big pond full of sharks, barracudas, etc.

Thank you,

1.) Adam may be the first openly gay artist, currently hot on the pop scene, who can pull off having a lavender life on the side thanks to a growing belief in America (hallelujah) that being gay is actually cool. That wave is building fast and Adam will get to ride it. But how far? I have a hunch his sexual orientation is going to turn out to be a huge plus for his career. We’re all looking for role model — a place to put our cheers that the right-wing nuts are wrong on this issue. Besides, being gay is behind bohemian and that’s always been hot.

2.) Adam should stay as far away from Broadway as possible. His stage should be the concert stage and he must blaze a career as the star of the hottest music videos on the tube.

3.) Adam needs tough, seasoned management. This industry is a corrupt, incestuous biz and you benefit from that by being on the inside.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:47 pm

by HeIsRemarkable

I’m not sure whether this is an area that you can address, but thought I’d give it a shot. I’m really curious how 19/RCA will handle Adam’s publicity over the next 6-12 months. I ask because of the comment from Brian May expressing that he is comfortable with Idol as a launching point for the careers of rock singers. Simon Fuller also comments that American Idol was the platform for the world to discover this brilliant young man. Is there any drawback from an industry perspective to have the American Idol association?

At first there was a drawback to being an “Idol” star — those first few years. Now many of the most-played music videos feature “Idol” finalists. This week’s VH1 Top 20 features several “Idol” stars like Jordan Sparks, Daughtry and Elliot Yamin


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:46 am

by wink7619

Michael, thank you for providing this wonderful opportunity for us to hear from another industry expert. You’re the best!

Mr. O’Neil,
I would love to see Adam involved in recording a song for a movie track… and potentially an Academy Award nominated song. Can you give a little insight as to whether you think this would be a good move for Adam, and how likely it would be? Do you think there will be (or is already) interest in having Adam attached to such a project?

Also, what would the timeframe be for something like this? If it is something you could see in his future…. could it be his NEAR future? Are artists for soundtracks selected so far in advance that it would be later rather than sooner that we might see/hear something?

Thanks so much for your time and expertise!


P.S. I’m a big goldderby fan!

Thanks for the goldderby shout-out, wink! I’m sure Disney and Dreamworks have Adam on spin-dial right now trying to hustle him to croon underscore for their next toon. They’d be fools not to. The problem that animated films have is that they often don’t seem hip. Adam, right now at least, is the Webster definition.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:16 pm

by stellagirl

Thank you Michael for this wonderful opportunity, you’re the best!

Dear Mr. O’Neil, or do you prefer Tom?,

Thank you for being so gracious with your time to answer questions from us, and especially from a fantard like myself.

Adam has shown how versatile he is as a singer. In my opinion he can do whatever he sets his mind to, he just has an incredible voice and even more incredible ability to re-invent himself with different genres.

If my brain cells are not all dead like I often find they are, I think Adam has said that he wants to put out a CD that is a multi-genre album, calling it a “rock-pop-electronic-dance thing”. (OK, I cheated, I wikipediaed Adam to get what he said he would do with the first CD.) If he chooses to present this multi-genre version, is there a huge risk to losing the fans who love his “Mad World” and “Brigadoon” type of music? I realize you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but there are those who claim Adam is going to lose most of his fan base if he doesn’t give us more American Idol type music.

I’m cool with whatever he chooses to do, I love his voice and his charisma. He’s infinitely fascinating to me. But what do you think? If you were Adam, what direction would you take with that first all-important album? Or, rather, considering your expertise, what kind of album should Adam focus on to increase the likelihood of being nominated for and possibly winning a Grammy or two? Is it possible to have that as a goal when making an album? Do people in the entertainment business think like that when undertaking a film project or producing an album? Or is it always a huge, shocking, completely out-of-left-field surprise for the nominees/winners?

Thanks again,

Multi-genre disc is a great idea. This peacock needs flash all his colors. He’s about to strut himself, and define himself, on the world stage, positioning his career for future.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:21 pm

by geulis09

Hi Tom,

I’m back.. with another questions..

The thought just came to me… do you think Adam get compensation from RS for his story? I mean you know all the celebrities they sell stories about their newborn babies for millions and millions of $$$$, I would think RS would at least compensate him something, since his story is so HOT and guarantee the Adam Lambert’s issue will be sold out in very short time. If he did get something I wonder if he have to split with 19E, since he’s still under contract with them, and the same thing with his interview with 20/20… I don’t know how the television work whether they also pay him for that special first television interview about his sexuality.

I read an article with this title “Adam Lambert: Will he collaborate with Bruce Springsteen?” in the

I don’t know if it’s a good thing for Adam or not but reading some the comments, I got the feeling it’s not a good one. I mean all these great group bands from different generations than Adam they want to work with him. I bet they have to admit that they’re not current anymore. It’s almost like desperate (I said almost) for them to use Adam’s popularity and “Fresh Air” Star Power to be able to stay in. (I used fresh air star power, to stated that these great names have their star power but not current anymore). I have to admit, as much as I respect and love Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen a lot, but they’re also from 2 decades ago and in a need of a great lead singer and could use Adam to get into his market segment. If this collaboration with Bruce is true:

Why do you think these great names wants to work with Adam?, and if this collaboration is just a rumors or not true, then
What does the people in the industry (producers, singers, group bands) actually see in Adam and
What do they think of him, his talent and his charisma?

Thank you Tom…


No, RS and other top mags don’t pay interviewees. The tabloids do sometimes. When the biggies pay a star is not for the interview, but, ahem, technically for photographs, which the star controls — like baby photos. Yeah, Adam needs to collaborate with the likes of Bruce and other music gods, showing us that he’s one of them by hanging with them. But he needs to pair off with rap hotties, too, not the thug type, but the Jay-Z ilk.

Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:07 pm

by 24HRdreamer

Mr. O’Neil,

I had asked this similar question to Michael awhile back, but I am curious what your views are on this.

How much marketing is too much?….Like everywhere you see Adam’s face on everything from pillows to bubble gum packaging…lol I know its a huge money maker…think Hanah Montana products, and etc.

Or is it different for an artist that is older like Adam…where they are already past the “teeny bopper” stage, but still have those products out there for their younger fans. I wonder if some marketing can prevent an artist from being taken seriously….with the critics?

I personally think he is highly marketable. He has a very cool style that will suit many types of merchandise.
I know allot of money can be made off of anything he has his name or face on, but I remember a response from Joey Mc Intyre from New Kids On the Block say that things got a little weird, when they saw their faces on “marbles”…that the merch got bigger than them…as artists. I do know it is a great way to get more people to know them…by seeing their faces or names on products. I am not against this type of marketing…I just don’t want it to affect them getting taken seriously in the business.

I am hoping, because Adam is VERY vocally talented….that he will rightfully get recognition for his artist ability…no matter how things play out commercially in the marketing department.



(just now realized days later…should have geared my questions to the Grammy’s…etc.that was mentioned)

Mass marketing is great — more the better. But Adam shouldn’t do too many interviews. We can’t get to know him personally too well. Familiarity breeds contempt. The biggest winner of Academy Awards was once Hollywood’s biggest star: Katharine Hepburn. And it’s second biggest winners — with three awards — were the reclusive Ingrid Bergman and Jack Nicholson. That’s not a coincidence.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:30 am


Your thoughts on the Rolling Stone article. This amazing young man had allot to get off his chest. He has been to hell and back, seeking his identity since HS. Do you think skirting the gay issue was wise during the competition? Adam needed to pick his time and place to express his true feelings. Do you feel his take charge personality, apparent in his vocals, stage presence, lighting and costuming on AI, also drew fans to the RS article?
Months ago I saw both sides of Adam on U-tube. I understood why he always said he had nothing to hide. He has always been out. The gay Adam is the creative force that propels the performances, and leaves straight women panting. Tom, now that this extra baggage is unpacked, can Adam get on with his career as a singer, (a great one at that)? The man just wants to sing, and we all want to hear his phenom voice. Did he do the right thing for his career? I can not remember watching Simon Cowell so enamored with a contestant, proclaiming him an international star. I am a sixty year old cougar, left wondering why I care so much about Adam the person. The RS article cemented my respect for him.

Good word, “respect.” Adam handled that interview so well that he generated enormous respect as a result. Now, shut up, Adam. Be the grand marshall of the gay parade on Pride Day, that’s OK, just don’t go all queeny on us blah-blah-blahing to all media. I can’t stress enough how important it is for him to be tough to get to for interviews. That’ll drive the media nuts, making them chase him all the more.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:25 pm

by Glamberteena

Hello Tom,

Adam has shown the ability to perform visually during AI — his music videos are top sellers on iTunes — not only can he sing, but he can literally take on a new persona with his acting ability, his makeup, and his costumes that is appropriate to the mood/genre of the song he happens to be performing. As he mentioned in the Rolling Stone article, AI gave him the opportunity to show that his range is from the guy in the suit all the way to the guy in the glitter wings and leather.

But so far, with the possible exception of his television appearances on AI, Adam’s acting experience has been solely in the musical theater area — if he does wish to eventually pursue an acting career in film and/or television, what sort of preparation will he need to reach this goal? Right now, he is obviously concentrating on writing/recording his debut album — but if he does wish to expand beyond the music industry into film/television, are there things he should be thinking about doing in the near future in order to make this goal a possibility?

And 80smom asked a question above: is America ready for an openly gay leading man? If Adam does eventually wish to pursue an acting career, in television and/or film, do you think that America is ready to accept an openly gay man playing a straight man, for instance? (Sean Penn, a straight man, just won the Oscar for portraying a gay man — wondering if the reverse could happen? BTW: I really enjoyed your conversation with Michael Musto!)

Although the media has portrayed Kris Allen’s win over Adam as being representative of America not being ready for an openly gay American Idol, I reject that proposition for many reasons which I won’t go into here. Basically, I would be interested in knowing your opinion as to whether Adam has a possible future in the film/television industry as an actor, and not just as a singer/songwriter?

I don’t think America is ready for an openly gay leading man in film. For some kooky reason, that’s different from all other media. Music and TV are different. Kris beat Adam because more voters wanted to pork him. You’re right, he won because he’s straight and Adam lost because he’s gay. But Adam got to the runner-up spot, with millions of devotees — passionate devotees who’ll carry him forward. Kris is screwed over the long haul ahead. He’s not COOL, hip, trend-setting. Adam is — he’s a leader like that and people will follow. Don’t worry.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:38 pm

by poohclark

Mr. O’neil

Mr. Michael has indicated your specialization is in Grammy’s, Emmy’s, award shows and the integration of the industries. I have a few questions on the subject:

1. What is the practical difference on Grammy and Emmy? I heard someone mentioned that the Grammys can win Emmys, but not vice versa.

2. Do you think the “gay” thing will work for or against Adam in the industry? or truly a null?

3. It appears that Adam is the one of the (maybe the only) current new singers that has cornered the “cougar” market segment. How would he be able to take full mileage of this unique fan base? A fan base that is consistence, loyal, not subject to fashionable music and most importantly, able to buy as wish. For example, will RCA consider to produce a “remix” of Elvis Parsley? That it may only appeal to certain fan base? I think SONY has purchased the Parsley song rights.

4. What would your advice be to Adam for opportunity in Grammy and Emmy?

Many thanks for spending your valuable time with us in

The only award that’s excluded from winning another award is the Emmy — its own show can’t win Emmys. The Grammys, Tonys, Oscars telecasts win Emmys all the time. I think Adam has strong Grammy potential, but only a few “Idol” stars have won that award so far: Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson. It’s funny about Adam’s cougar appeal. Don’t know what THAT is all about, sorry.


Re: Tom O’Neil answers your questions!
Posted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:46 pm

by pippy18

And 80smom asked a question above: is America ready for an openly gay leading man?

Glamberteena, just as an aside- I recently read that Neil Patrick Harris (openly out) has been signed to play in a major film where he is cast as part of a heterosexual, married couple. Neil also has has a recurring role in one of the funniest, raunchiest comedy franchises in recent history - the “Harold and Kumar” movies. Neil played a bizarro fictionalized version of himself- and absolutely nothing in either of the two films was mentioned or even alluded to in terms of his sexual orientation. He was just flat out crazy funny.

My feeling here is, if Neil can do it, Adam absolutely can. You’re right. This won’t hurt. Adam needs to release lots of stuff now that he’s hot. As long as this recording is aces, it’ll only showcase his aristry all the more — it’s a good thing.

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