ABC/Ida Mae AstuteMost music fans probably know Mary Lambert from the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song “Same Love” — she wrote and sang its memorable hook, receiving two Grammy nods for her work on that groundbreaking song and the duo’s album The Heist. But now, Mary’s making her own artistic statement, with her hit single “Secrets” and her debut album Heart On My Sleeve, which is in stores now.
Many of Mary’s songs deal with serious issues, such as body image, gay rights, mental illness and the like, but she says her goal for Heart On My Sleeve was to continue to write those kinds of meaningful songs, but to also make a fun, accessible pop music album that will, hopefully, bring in some cash as well.
As she tells ABC News Radio, with Heart On My Sleeve, she wanted to “make an ethical, conscious album with heart and authenticity, but also to be on the radio… and why not buy a beach house for my mom?”
“I don’t believe every song should be social justice-y, but I know for me, I have to speak my truth,” she adds. “And being a lyricist and being a writer is a priority, and so I want to talk about things that I care about, that will hopefully impact the world.”
Mary is currently on the road, bringing her new music to her fans, and she says it’s a real treat to be able to headline a tour, after spending the summer as an opening act.
“My last tour, I was opening for Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson, which was an awesome experience because I think it opened the door for a lot of new fans,” she tells ABC News Radio. “And it was humbling in a way, because people weren’t coming to see me and I kind of had to work for it, you know? So, this is kind of a luxury!”
“The people that are coming out are so kind, and attentive and know the material, and they love the songs and they know the lyrics!” she adds. “It’s, like, kind of surreal to hear people singing my lyrics back.”
While some of Mary’s previous tours have been incredibly emotional experiences because of the cathartic nature of her songs — some of which are actually poems set to music — she says she’s taking a lighter touch with this tour.
“I’m not delving into the heaviest issues that I have previously,” she says. “Which I think is OK because it’s at least a little bit of an emotional break for me. I’m still going into intense stuff — body image and gay rights — but the show’s a little bit more upbeat and really fun.”
So, with a debut album, hit single and a big tour, does Mary — who describes herself in “Secrets” as overweight, bi-polar, gay, and the product of a dysfunctional family — feel like an actual pop star yet?
“No, I don’t!” she laughs. “I’m working on it. I refer to it as, like, quasi-stardom ’cause, y’know, sometimes there’s people greeting me at the airport and I’m like, ‘Who are you?’”
Mary’s tour wraps up November 17 in Boise, Idaho, but then she’ll play some holiday concerts in December. On November 13, she’ll be in New York City to join Sam Smith, A Great Big World, American Authors, Aloe Blacc and other artists for VH1′s You Oughta Know concert.
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