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Mary Lambert: She Can’t Change, But She Can Change the World…and Has Already Started

 

Mary Lambert glowing at the Grammys

Mary Lambert glowing at the Grammys

 

By Jason W. Prokowiew

LGBT musicians in pop culture exist on a timeline, finding fame and fans however they can/choose to within their comfort zone given where they are on that timeline ~ and for those who remain in the public eye for more than 15 minutes, sometimes that comfort zone changes. Think of George Michael, who developed a hyper-masculine leather-jacketed persona in the later 80s after his “gayer” days in Wham!, but also of the Indigo Girls, were who they are from the very start and have never deviated from that.  How these music celebs chose to portray themselves was a choice, whether it represented their true selves or not.

Mary, Macklemore, and Lewis at the 2013 MTV VMAs

Mary, Macklemore, and Lewis at the 2013 MTV VMAs


The element of choice remains a constant when it comes to persona in the industry, but more and more artists are choosing to ignore persona in favor of “the real person.”  Think of Sam Smith ~ or of Mary Lambert, whose haunting voice on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s hit “Same Love” slapped us beautifully and unabashedly with the notion that “I can’t change, even if I tried.”

Lambert, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis performing with Madonna at the Grammys, joined by Queen Latifah, who officiated a-mass wedding during their song

Lambert, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis performing with Madonna at the Grammys, joined by Queen Latifah, who officiated a mass wedding during their song



Lambert with Jennifer Hudson

Lambert with Jennifer Hudson

At 25, the Seattle-based singer, songwriter and spoken word artist has already dominated radio waves across the country with a song that demanded marriage equality, she’s dueted with Jennifer Hudson and Madonna, earned two Grammy nominations, and sang while 33 couples, many of them LGBT, were married by Queen Latifah. Mary gives us, in addition to her talent, her authenticity, making her an important part of the LGBT pop culture timeline.

“It’s interesting…it did take a straight white male to talk about it, and have it have the effect, have the command for people to notice,” Mary shared over the phone lines during a recent interview with FlashWounds.

“It’s unfortunate it had to come from a straight white male. It would have been so much…cooler if someone in the gay community had that kind of command.”

Lambert straight white male


Mary’s honest assessment is offered sans an accusatory tone, but brings up the realness of the situation as it stands today ~ people can “deal with” homosexuality, but they prefer if it’s presented to them by someone straight.

Lambert and Macklemore

Lambert and Macklemore

This artist personifies “What you see [or in her case, “What you hear…”] is what you get,” speaking like the kind of person her music suggests she is, brimming with ideas and observations and sharing them openly, expressing thoughts that pop into her head but not before analyzing them and tempering ~ not to be confused with diluting ~ her delivery.

“…I think allies are the most important part of preventing homophobia,” she asserted, revisiting her thoughts on Macklemore. “To have allie-ship is life changing for a lot of people.”

“I’m also on the song, so it was an open door for me as gay artist,” Mary said, reminding us that her “allie-ship” with Macklemore allowed her an opportunity other artists may never have.

With just her one song ~ criticized by some for being preachy (because heaven forbid we’re outspoken about homophobia and demand equality) and appreciated by many, including, no surprise, those who are LGBT themselves, for being candid in anything but a preachy way ~  Mary kicked down some doors in the music world and got folks talking about gay people and had kids saying, “It’s like Macklemore said, ‘I can’t change.'” Mary was no longer simply on the surface of the timeline, she had carved a pretty deep notch in it.

Lambert lyrics


“Not all art has to be socially conscious, or life changing, but I don’t know if there’s enough of that right now,”
Mary mused. “The response is so beautiful; for me it solidifies that it’s possible to change the world, and that’s a really addictive feeling.”

Lambert performing live in 2013

Lambert performing live in 2013

Mary recalls how amazing the past two years since “Same Love” was born have been, how incredible it is to witness thousands of audience members sing its words back to her in concert, and how she has experienced those powerful, life-changing waves coming back over her from those touched by the song and its singer.

“How can I keep recreating that? How can I make sure…what the intention is of what I am creating? There will never be another ‘Same Love,’ and I have to honor that space and let that be. There are other things that need that kind of energy as well, so you’ll see a lot of on that on my new record.”

Mary’s first studio album, Heart On My Sleeve, drops October 14.

Lambert Album

 

“I just want to keep telling great stories. I would like to have a tangible impact through music.”

Mary, you already have, and we thank you for it. But yes, we are ready for you to have even more…it’s time.

You can pre-order Heart on My Sleeve here

 

Check Mary’s upcoming tour dates here.  

 

Lambert at GLAAD, the nation's LGBT media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, hosting its annual New York summer benefit, GLAAD Manhattan, on 9/12/13

Lambert at GLAAD, the nation’s LGBT media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, hosting its annual New York summer benefit, GLAAD Manhattan, on 9/12/13


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