Imagine you're browsing up-and-coming musical acts on Kickstarter and you see "Be My Date to the Grammy's" listed as a high pledge prize. Would you write it off as a lofty joke, or see it as a realistic opportunity to be part of one of the biggest nights in music?
Mary Lambert fans must have laughed it off in 2012. No one dared donate the $1,000 date requirement to fund her music ambitions. A mere two years after that Kickstarter campaign, she shared the 2014 Grammy's stage with Madonna and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to sing in a historic performance of "Same Love," during which 33 couples exchanged marriage vows.
Lambert connected with follow Seattle musicians, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, through a mutual friend and musician, Hollis Wong-Wear. To audition for the " Same Love" chorus, Lambert says, "I was so nervous, I wrote four different choruses so they would have to choose one. I wanted to be on the song so badly."
"Same Love" quickly took off as an anthem for marriage equality and gay rights.
"I knew that I wanted the chorus to speak to a universal truth. There were a lot of thoughts I had when I was writing the song, and one of them was 'How can I end homophobia?'"
Mary Lambert, raised in an evangelical church, came out as a lesbian at age 17.
"It was a very explicit decision… That I would always be out as an artist, and that I didn't want to be pigeon-holed as just doing gay songs, whatever that means. That my music could be applied universally."
Lambert's "Welcome to the Age of My Body" EP was released by Warner Bros Records in December 2013, with a full album due out early this summer. Included on the EP is the single "She Keeps Me Warm," Mary Lambert's extension of the love story begun in the "Same Love" chorus. She approached the music video for "She Keeps Me Warm" with the same intent as the songwriting - to focus on the excitement of new love in a same-sex relationship without alienating straight people.
"If you depict a real relationship or the beauty of attraction or first love - that resonates with anybody. But if you are constantly shoving down people's throats, this idea that lesbians only roll around in lingerie, instead of like, you know lay around and watch Netflix and eat Cheez-Its together… As soon as the exoticism goes away, then you're stripped down with a real human element and that's love and I wanted to create something that … fit that vision of first love."
Mary Lambert's musical style blends spoken word poetry with piano and traditional vocals. She's explored dark subject matters, like abuse and suicide. "Coming out of my late teens into my early 20s, there was a lot that still needed to be processed in terms of abuse and trauma. And even when I'm in a really great, steady and stable place … I'm clinically bipolar, so that always exists - a darkness always exists."
She feels that the new album covers a different range of emotions and topics than her previous songs and poems due to the whirlwind year of success that she's had.
"My life is going at the speed of light, so it's a lot of just trying … to be present in each moment … Giving each situation and each part of life that space and making sure that it's sacred in every aspect. I've had an incredible year so the music will undoubtedly reflect that."