Recording artist Mary Lambert chats with GLAAD about MTV's VMAs and 'adorable lesbian films'

Mary Lambert, the out singer-songwriter behind the chorus on the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis hit "Same Love," recently wrote and released her full track extension of the chorus entitled "She Keeps Me Warm." Lambert spoke with GLAAD about how her life has changed since "Same Love" and "She Keeps Me Warm," her poetry book 500 Tips For Fat Girls, and what is next on the horizon.

GLAAD: How did you come to get involved with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for the "Same Love" chorus?

Mary Lambert: Ben, Ryan, and I were all friends with Hollis Wong-Wear (singer/songwriter on "White Walls"), who recommended the guys to try me out for the chorus. I heard the track, had about 2 hours with it, came up with all the vocal parts, met the guys, and recorded it all in half a day. Kind of crazy.

GLAAD: You recently performed "Same Love" at the MTV Video Music Awards. What was that moment like?

ML: I never really know how to explain experiences of that magnitude. It was literally for hours that I felt out of my body; completely elated, overwhelmed, and in utter disbelief. Having Jennifer there put it completely over the edge. She's an icon. I can't believe I really got to sing with her.

GLAAD: What are the drives and influences that inform your own music?

ML: I'm driven by the power of vulnerability. My music is completely catharsis for me, but I also think there are other people who are hurting, or healing, or want to celebrate, so I am careful to make sure that what I'm writing is accessible. I like pretty music and I want to write pretty music. 

GLAAD: How did you come up with the concept for the "She Keeps Me Warm" video, and what has the reaction been like so far?

ML: "She Keeps Me Warm" was my brainchild from two or three years ago. I stayed up all night, giddy about my new girlfriend. I had just watched a series of super adorable lesbian films, and wanted to find a music video that also reflected my giddiness and the polished beauty of lesbian films. I searched everywhere. My mind was blown; there was nothing. I found ladies rolling around in lingerie, odd love triangles, or snippets of girls holding hands, but nothing that I could identify with. I was kind of hurt, and maybe I wasn't the only one who was missing that either. I think it's important to mention that I, a plus-size woman, co-starred as the love interest. Plus-size bodies are often made to feel marginalized, and I wanted to throw it back in society's face. (In polka-dots of course.) This video was me saying 'I am an adorable plus-size lesbian and I deserve to be sexy, romantic, and have love. I am worthy of that.' Since releasing it, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I think we're at over a half a million views. I am so grateful for all the support we've gotten!

GLAAD: With that video now released, what do you next have planned in terms of your own music or other collaborations?

ML: I have a new single in the works, but I also don't want to feel rushed. I'm really taking my time with "She Keeps Me Warm" and "Same Love" for the next couple months. I will be touring like crazy, both as a solo artist and with Macklemore.

I'm excited to record new music, and show the world that the "Same Love" chorus is so much a part of me, but there is so much more that I have to say.

GLAAD: In addition to your music, you've also written a book of poetry, 500 Tips For Fat Girls, which is available at your shows and apparently deals with some very intense themes. What inspired you to write it?

ML: I had always wanted to have a tangible collection of poetry, but was finally granted the opportunity when I became a full-time artist nine months ago. I had never had the time to sit and write a real manuscript out. It was an arduous endeavor, since I was self-releasing it. The title comes from a very dark poem with the same name. It's a "list" of things that media inadvertently tells plus-size women without actually saying it: ('always turn the light off before fucking, always be on a diet, always smile -- you might at least have a pretty face.')

I think the title got a little bit confusing, mostly to press, who wanted to hear the specific tips, which didn't make a lot of sense on paper, since you can't properly insert sarcasm. The book to me is mostly about vulnerability. It's about rape, incest, abuse, manic-depression, and my own struggles with my sexuality and body image. I choose to explore those things in a very raw way.

Lambert will be performing at GLAAD Manhattan on Thursday, September 12 at the Gansevoort Park Avenue. Join Mary Lambert, Laverne Cox, Cazwell, Cheyenne Jackson and more for an evening of delicious cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and entertainment as we kick off the countdown to Spirit Day. Tickets available now!

You can keep up to date with Lambert at her website and on twitter at @MaryLambertSing. And don't forget to check out her music now on iTunes.

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