(Piano Covers) My Life As a Glambert

This is “Welcome To The Show” by Adam Lambert,  featuring Laleh.

At the time I made this cover, it was a brand new song.  I was deeply encouraged to do it by a friend, who happens to be a big Glambert.The story goes a little like this:  after doing “Ghost Town” and having a quite nice reception, especially among Glamberts, my friend asked me if I could do  one of Adam’s songs for my next cover.  Originally, I wanted to do another one from The Original High Album.  But at that time, it was announced on  social media that a new song was about to get released which wasn’t featured on any previous albums.  So,  I thought this was a perfect chance to do something that hasn’t been done before, and the idea was that I could make the first ever piano cover of this brand new song (And hopefully Glamberts would like it!)

Okay Kitty don’t fail me

So my goal was set, and as soon as the song was released, I started listening to it several times a day and transcribing the chords and melody to do a piano arrangement.  But, like most things in life, very few work exactly as you expect them to.I  had my summer vacation scheduled just one week after I started working on the song,  and I wanted to have it recorded and uploaded to Youtube before leaving the city.  I wouldn’t have my gear on my vacation, so the options were:  1) doing the song in 5 days or  2) doing it after I came back home about 2 weeks later.

At the same time,  my friend came up with a whole “marketing” plan for my rendition of this song.  She would help me share it with friends and fellow Glamberts over Twitter and Facebook, and thought that we should take the advantage of all the excitement that a new song always brings to Adam’s fans.

As Adam was just starting his U.S. and European tour, she thought it was just the perfect timing to do it.And, she was already attending a Meet and Greet at  Adam’s concert in Amsterdam,  and she came up with the idea that she could give Adam, himself,  a flashdrive with my “Ghost Town” and the “Welcome To The Show” videos!   She bought a “Hello Kitty” flashdrive, which she thought would “stand out”  to honor the occasion.
It was the perfect plan aimed to get my work known, but as you might imagine, it put a lot of pressure on me.  The timing had to be just right, and I had to do this thing before leaving the city.

So, as bad luck would have it,  the song was in the key of Bbm and I found it wasn’t as easy as I would hope for. It has some technical difficulties I had to overcome between the right and left hand, not the usual “one chord per bar” like lots of pop songs, and overall, the Bbm key is always a nightmare for every pianist.I’m used to playing songs in any key.   I learned a lot playing in bands with singers that would say “Can we play this just a little higher???”, so the band decided to play the song a half key up.  Ok, the guitar player puts his capotasto one “square” high –no problem.   The bass player just plays the same thing as before but also half “square” up — no problem.   But the keyboard player gets completely fucked up in that process — BIG PROBLEM.

You see, you were playing mostly on white keys and a very common key, and now you have to deal with all the black keys at the same time.  That is a nightmare for any pianist or keyboard player who has to play songs “on the fly”.   So, that would make an easily relaxed key like Dm, converted to the hellish nightmare that is Ebm, or an easy song on Am converted to  Bbm.

And what does the rest of the band say about it??   DEAL WITH IT!, or “heey! I thought you were a professional musician”…… So, that way, I learned to play anything,  even if in the most difficult keys.  But it’s always a challenge, and you always curse the “genius” who said: “Hey, let’s make this song in Bbm instead of Am”, or “Let’s change the key from Cm to C#m instead of Cm to Dm which would almost be the same for any singer”.

Anyway, this song was in Bbm and I already decided that I would make all my videos in the same key as the original songs.  As I wrote before, I know very well how to play in any key, but it definitely adds a lot more challenge to anything you are attempting to perform, adding to all the technical challenges that any song has.

I noticed that this was a very time consuming task.  I could play the song from start to finish,  but I definitely was not ready to record it by the end of the week……. so I failed meeting the deadline… and I had to leave the city before finishing the song….I was beat up miserably by “Welcome To The Show.”

Anyway, I enjoyed my vacation, tried not to remember my miserable attempt at doing the song, and arrived home with just 3 days left before  the Meet and Greet. There wasn’t going to be any flashdrive at all if I didn’t make it, and it was the only chance to get my piano version of the song directly to Adam.I practiced the song many, many times  and completed it just one day before the deadline.  But I still had to record it!  So that night I  stayed up pretty much until 5am recording and editing the video.  I slept like two hours, and tried to get  the video to my friend,  who was already in Amsterdam and had given up on me by then, following several angry exchanges that only friends as close as we are can both engage in and endure.

Luckily another miracle happened:   the Wifi on both ends worked okay and she received the video file with just one hour left before the Meet and Greet.  I was just about to quit and forget about the song altogether!

But now, at this very moment,  thanks to a lot of effort and the right timing, this video is on a Hello Kitty flashdrive, hopefully still with Adam.  And after getting both my friend and I very upset, everything turned out just fine!Adam responded with a smile,  a giggle, and interest to my friend’s mention of the flashdrive and my songs.  My friend, one of those obsessed Glamberts, was thrilled with her part in this story.

And now, after 14 takes, here is the finished product

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