Mary Lambert became the voice of a equality when last year, leading up to the moment when The United States Of America approved same sex marriage, Macklemore and Mary Lambert’s “Same Love” topped the charts. The song, featuring Mary’s heartwarming lyrics, became the soundtrack of change, a change so long longed for and a change that finally came.
Since then the self-proclaimed femme lesbian and body positive 24-year-old has become a great inspiration to people all over the world and it is with great admiration that Bella Qvist interviews Mary Lambert for Climax Online.
“Same Love” won an MTV VMA Award for “Best Video with a Social Message”. How do you feel about being part of a song that in a way became the soundtrack to a huge win for equal rights in America?
It’s an honour. It will be an honour for the rest of my life. There are no words to explain. The amount of emails I receive about having changed people’s lives is so incredibly moving and has lit this amazing fire underneath me to want to do more.
There has been debate around certain artists tweeting about straight musicians essentially benefiting from songs about LGBT issues. How did you feel about recording a single about gay rights together with a straight man?
While I understand the point nay-sayers are trying to make, it does make me feel a little bummed out. Am I not gay enough to even be acknowledged that I wrote a major part of the song? Macklemore is an ally. His verses are written from his experience and his understanding of being an ally. While I think we still have a long way to go, it’s important to celebrate what steps are being taken. AND the fact a song about gay rights is nominated for a Grammy. A GRAMMY. That says less about us, and more about who we are, socially.
Where does your passion for writing and singing come from? What inspires you?
I have a lot of feelings and I need to get them out or else I’ll explode. I’m also really hungry for human connection, and I think music is the ultimate connector.
You’re releasing your first album next year. How would you describe the Mary Lambert sound to the uninitiated?
My sound is music and poetry intertwined with vulnerability. I am dead honest with all of my writing, and sometimes that can go to a dark place, but I think it just goes to a human place, where darkness sometimes lives. And that’s okay.
Will there be any special collaboration with other artists featured on the album?
Not on the December EP, which is scheduled to be released December 17th, but hopefully on the full-length later this year! I’ve been working with some neat people, and will hopefully have some friends (old and new!) join me.
On that note, what artist would you love to work with?
Man. Can I just write a song with Feist already?! Other than that, I’d just like some time to write a song with my mom. She’s a cool lady.
You’re playing The Dinah in April 2014. This is the world’s biggest lesbian festival. What does the Dinah represent for you?
The Dinah is HUGE! When I was a baby gay at 17, I remember watching the L Word’s episode of the Dinah Shore Weekend, thinking to myself, “THAT IS THE HOLY GRAIL OF ALL LESBIAN THINGS”. As an adult, it represents visibility, empowerment, and a darn good time.
How are you preparing for your performance? What can Dinah goers expect to see?
I’ve been on tour since September, so I feel super prepared! I think my preparation will actually be rest! I haven’t slept in my bed in so long!! My performances involve a lot of emotions, so perhaps the prospect of me crying on stage. That’s kind of what I do.
What do you look forward to seeing at the festival?
I saw there’s going to be a comedy night! Can’t wait.
What past Dinah Headliner would you love to perform with?
You know what…The Indigo Girls were one of the first concerts I ever saw. I was 13 years old! That would be amazing. I used to listen to their albums over and over when I was in middle school, and they got me through a lot.
Do you think it is important for the LGBT community to have events like the Dinah? Why?
Definitely. There is something to be said for having safe-space when you are in the gay community. If I want to hold hands with a girl in public, I normally feel pressured to be conscious of everyone else’s comfort level. In an event like Dinah, you are inherently accepted for who you are, as you are, and that’s a beautiful thing. Plus! Who doesn’t need a vacation in Florida?!
You’re a self-proclaimed femme lesbian. How important do you think it is to be out as musicians?
I know that being an out musician is right for me, but I more value the notion of being “out” in general. It’s interesting to talk to homophobic people for that reason- they think they don’t know any gay people. I believe that being out is the most effective way to rally against homophobia. For a public figure or someone that’s in the spotlight, I imagine it’s a more difficult journey. I am pretty biased, since my break-out song is about gay marriage. I’m just about living life honestly, whether it’s in my career or otherwise.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned over time since you started?
Amazing things can happen when you say exactly what you mean; when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. That goes for writing too!
Can you share a little-known fact about yourself?
I’m a mean bartender. And I have a healthy digestive system.
What words you would use to describe yourself?
Nurturing! Emotional! Vulnerable! Exclamation Points!
Beside the new album and your Dinah performance, what else is in store for you in 2014?
SO MUCH STUFF. My inclination is that I will be everywhere all at once doing everything. But not sleeping.
Mary Lambert performs at Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs, CA on Sunday, April 6.
Words: Bella Qvist @bellaqvist