WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) - Adam Lambert isn't coming off "American Idol" or a racy American Music Awards performance, nor is he declaring his sexuality in Rolling Stone or posing with a nude model in Details magazine.
The 30-year-old glam rocker doesn't mind the lack of a media thunderstorm ahead of today's launch of his sophomore album: He relishes the element of surprise.
Lambert is hoping to achieve it with "Trespassing," on which he teamed up with the likes of Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams and Dr. Luke. It's the follow-up to "For Your Entertainment," which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts in 2009, the same year he finished as the runner-up in the "Idol" contest.
"I had time to make this album," said Lambert, who co-wrote many of the songs on "Trespassing" and served as its executive producer. "I do feel that sonically, lyrically and emotionally, this album is a surprise for people - and myself."
"Trespassing" is evenly divided between club-ready rhythmic pop tracks and a collection of moody melodic showcases for the vocal acrobatics that made Lambert a front-runner on the eighth season of "Idol." During a recent interview with The Associated Press, Lambert recollected on his life after reality TV.
AP: What's it been like for you over the past year after the "Idol" maelstrom died down?
Lambert: In that time, I fell in love (with Finnish "Big Brother" winner Sauli Koskinen), which is great. I have an amazing relationship. I also got to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. Over the past year, besides taking time to write and record the album, I've had a lot of downtime, which has been really nice to live a real life again - or what seems like one - and I think that really informed my writing process and experience making the album. I was writing from a place with a little more perspective.
AP: How did that affect your creative process?
Lambert: Coming back to real life was a bit of shock. You kind of have to decompress, and I had some failed romantic situations, and I was a bit tired and worn out, so at the beginning of the writing process, there was some darkness I was working through, which was great. It was real. It was visceral. Then, I got in my relationship, I started relaxing and having more time to myself with my friends and wanting to go out again - shopping, rediscovering culture and life.
AP: What's dating been like for you now that you're in the public eye?
Lambert: Dating while famous is a different animal. It's a different set of challenges. It's a new reality. It makes you potentially more desirable to this, that and the other person, but you also have to deal with, "Does this person have ulterior motives? What is the real reason for the attraction?" There's all sorts of other layers, and for someone like me who thinks far too much and is neurotic, that can get a little maddening after a while.
AP: What do you think about the reaction to your arrest in Finland late last year (Lambert and his boyfriend were involved in a bar fight)?
Lambert: I think that seemed like a natural reaction. That's the reality of the situation when famous people have a bad night. It turns into a big deal. It's par for the course. Luckily, no one was injured and everything was fine. It wasn't that big of a deal.
AP: What do you think about the explosion of singing contests like "The Voice" and "The X Factor"? They weren't around when you were on "Idol."
Lambert: I think that it's great that there are shows out there giving people that platform. It's really difficult to make it in the music industry. These shows are great because they show what the person is capable of and their journey and process of becoming an artist. ... I think the difficult thing is the transition between TV competition series and going into the actual music industry. There still seems to be a slight disconnect there. Hopefully, they're fixing that.
AP: You're a visual performer on par with Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Did you think about that kind of thing when you were writing and recording?
Lambert: It's part of it. I come from the performing arts. I have all my life. Being on stage is part of what makes me tick and is my inspiration. When I created a lot of these songs, I would think of the visuals in my head: "How would I stage this? What would the music video look like? What would I wear? What colors are going on? What things are happening?" I'm a very visual person. Some people create a soundtrack in their head, but I create a movie in my head to my soundtrack.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.