Q&A with Mary Lambert

If you don't think you're familiar with Mary Lambert, you're about to be. The pop singer-songwriter dominated the airwaves in 2013 by singing the hook on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' inspirational hit, "Same Love." After performing it at the Grammys in 2014, Lambert got to work producing her next record, Heart On My Sleeve. Led by the hot lead single "Secrets," Heart On My Sleeve picks up on the themes of self-love explored on "Same Love," consciously encouraging listeners to feel, relate to Lambert's vulnerability, and ultimately form a connection with the emotional content of Lambert's music. When Mary stopped by the GoGoMix studio to talk to our Jeremy Hassell, she told us about the five checkpoints she had when producing her album, the artists that inspire her, her favorite poets, restaurants, artists, and much more! Check it out below!

GGM: What’s going on in your world right now?

ML: I’ve been working on my record this past year. It comes out October 14th, and it’s called Heart on My Sleeve. It’s been the album I’ve always wanted to make, and my dream record. The single, “Secrets”, is doing really well. It’s been a really incredible year!

GGM: Sounds like it! So, the “Secrets” video: how much fun did you have?

ML: I had a blast! We were up at 7 am, and wrapped at 3 am, but it was so fun! The kids were amazing. It was definitely a collaborative record between myself and Declan Whitebloom. I told him we have to do an opera scene, and Declan said he was in! The confetti was so much fun, the extras were amazing. It was a blast!

GGM: What are fans gonna get from this album?

ML: It’s varied. It’s really across the board, but it’s definitely a pop album. My last two EPs were very confessional and slow and sad. I wrote them in a dark place. I wrote this one as we were recording it. I was so inspired because this year has been so inspiring for me! I sung at the Grammys, met the woman of my dreams. I do a cover of “Jessie’s Girl” on the album, turned very melancholy, of course, and I have a song with Angel Haze. I want people to listen to this album and feel! Whatever feeling is necessary. I think people are really disconnected in our culture, from each other and from ourselves. I hope people feel the vulnerability on this album.

GGM: What was your goal making this album?

ML: That’s great you asked that, actually! I had five goals. I wanted to make sure I was completely, authentically myself. When you sign to a major label, you fear you’ll lose creative control, but I got to drive this whole ship. There was some tugging at some points, and I listened to the expertise of my producers, but I had control. Secondly, I wanted to hear it on the radio! I wanted it to be catchy and a pop record, and I want people to want to hear it. Third, I wanted to have fun! Fourth, was to be really conscious about the intention of every song. I feel like we can sometimes think our words can be callous or they don’t really matter, but actually, lyrics are so important! It’s important to be conscious of your message. And lastly, I would like to buy my mom a beach house, so I’d like these songs to go multi-platinum and I’d like to win a couple Grammys (laughs).

GGM: So did you hit those goals?

ML: Yes! Well, some are still pending, but I absolutely had fun and I was myself.

GGM: So now you’re about to go on your first headlining tour.

ML: Yes, I’m so excited! I have a really good team and a bus! I think it’s easy when you get to a certain level to feel entitled or lose your grounding, and I think it’s really important to surround yourself with real people who are still connected to the world. I love my team! I’m excited for my bus! I’m gonna put pictures of my girlfriend all along the wall, light candles, and fall asleep in my little pod!

GGM: Who are some artists that inspired you?

ML: My mom went through extremes. I was raised strict Pentecostal, and we were only allowed to listen to worship music, which has its own kind of intensity. Then, we were ostracized from the church, and she took a hard turn into Alanis Morrisette and Indigo Girls and Tracy Chapman, The Rembrandts, and James Taylor. I fell in love with Weezer and Third Eye Blind. The first album I ever bought was Jewel’s first album. I listened to it over and over and it propelled me to be a songwriter. As I got older, I started listening to hip hop and top 40. I actually got my bachelors in composition, which led to me wanting to do elaborate string arrangements for pop. Eventually, I’d like to do that.

GGM: What’s on your iPod right now?

ML: I have so many right now! One of my favorites is from Seattle, a girl named Courtney Marie Andrews. She’s got this voice I love so much. I’m a big fan of London Grammar. I recently discovered Echosmith. Their album is really incredible. Robyn, all the time. “Monument” is my jam.

GGM: What are some your TV shows you’re into? I know you watch HGTV all the time!

ML: I do! I guess I’m getting to that age where I’m ready to build my house with my bare hands (laughs). I also really love The Bachelor. I binge watch The Bachelor, and I got my girlfriend into it too. And of course, we’re all “Oh, we really just like to study the human condition.” I also love The Colbert Report, and Project Runway.

GGM: That’s a good mix! So what are some websites you like to visit?

ML: I love Jezebel. And Autostraddle is this lesbian blog I’ve always loved. Those girls are the best.

GGM: And are there sites you like to shop at?

ML: I like Etsy. I like getting things artists make by hand. And I really like City Chic! They’re a plus sized company that just opened stores in LA. Mod Cloth too. Anything from there is really cute. It’s hard for me to be excited about fashion. I recently got invited to this very high fashion dinner from this designer, and I was like “I would go, but you don’t make clothes for me.” Why would I support someone who doesn’t think my size exists? It’s bizarre to me! You’re telling a group of people that not only are they less than, but that they’re invisible! That’s B.S.

GGM: You have amazing skin. How does this happen?

ML: I use Mario Bedescu. Big fan of that. I really like Revlon and MAC. Urban Decay.

GGM: What are some restaurants in Seattle you really like?

ML: One of my favorite restaurants is called Tilth. Maria Hines has a couple restaurants in Seattle, and she’s a phenomenal chef. Let's see... Pintxo's. I also really like Ivar's, a seafood chain in Seattle, some of the best you’ll have!

GGM: You’re also an author. What are some of your favorite poets or authors?

ML: I love Terra Hardy. Anything from the Write Bloody publishing company. Buddy Wakefield, Rachel McKibbins. I read non-fiction as well. I’m reading this book called How Children Succeed, which is an interesting study about how abuse and trauma early in life affects you later. Also, this idea of “what success is.” Can you learn it? And I’m also really interested in seeing if kids can learn empathy. So many kids I meet are totally disconnected or are online trolls, and you see something’s not clicking. My goal as an artist is to try to teach someone that through song. We’ll see if it’s possible.

Check out Mary Lambert here!

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