Adam Lambert: How David Bowie Inspired My Gender and Artistic Expression

By: Brandon Voss

Celebrating the release of David Bowie's new album, The Next Day, Out magazine kicked off a "10 Days of Bowie" tribute — a series of essays, anecdotes, photography, and artifacts that focus on how Bowie has influenced generations of creative people.

Day 1 includes an account of when Bowie met Andy Warhol for the first time, suggestions on how to look like the rock icon, and, perhaps most exciting, a mini-essay from Adam Lambert on how Bowie was his key inspiration.

"My father is a huge Bowie fan, and about the time I first got interested in what he was listening to, he pulled out the Diamond Dogs album," Lambert writes. "The cover was just so cool and trippy and weird. At that point I was really into Halloween and costumes, and when my dad played me the album, I thought, Oh, it’s a Halloween thing. I was maybe 8 or 9, but I didn’t really start appreciating Bowie for myself until my early twenties, when I was getting into glam rock. A light bulb went off — I wasn’t into drag, I didn’t want to dress like a woman, but I wanted to express my gender and artistic identity differently than the mainstream. Bowie was a key inspiration."

"It was about the androgyny of mixing it up, and that was what was so incredible about his concepts — he was one of the first rock stars to really push the idea that sexuality was not black and white but an exploration. Later, when he finally made his big American breakthrough in the ’80s working with Nile Rodgers on Let’s Dance, his image shifted to a more masculine sensibility. Considering how far he had pushed it the decade previous, however, it gave his masculinity an edgy and mysterious undercurrent. I actually love Young Americans so much because it was the album where he jumped into Philly soul and it got very funky and rhythmic; to hear someone with his sensibility going to that place is really inspiring."

Find much more of the big Bowie bonanza on