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| 27 July 2016 | Reply

When I was approached a couple years ago to check out the Welcome To The Age Of My Body EP from Mary Lambert, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  After listening through it a couple times, I wasn’t quite sure when I would stop listening to it.  The EP is still a go to disc for me, as his her 2014 full-length CD, Heart On My Sleeve.  She is moody, poppy, dark, and real – or at least she seems to be through her music.  Recently Mary has been a part of the “Hands” single to raise awareness and funds for victims of the recent Orlando tragedy and has signed on the help the National Parks Service with the Find Your Park movement.  I was given the opportunity to speak with Mary and I jumped at the chance – not only to speak with an artist I dig, but to see how real she is… and I was not disappointed!


Toddstar: Mary, thank you so much for taking time off for us. We really appreciate this opportunity to speak to you today.

Mary: Oh, absolutely! No problem. Great for me!

Toddstar: There’s been so much going on in your world lately. I’d like to hit on a couple of the most recent things. Most recently – actually a couple weeks ago, you released your newest single and video “Hang Out With You.”

Mary: Yeah!

Toddstar: The visuals are very cool. What do you want your fans to grab from this single, either the song itself or the video?

Mary: I’ve just been really excited about showing some of its complexity of not only who I am as an individual but also my artistic identity. I think pop music is really fun. I really enjoy writing with that sort of goal in mind. Making something that’s fun and that makes you smile. That was a huge goal and one of the main goals for the single was to make people smile when they hear it. It was sort of a resounding, “Yeah!” It was so neat to play it for people and watch this smile creep across people’s faces in the chorus. Just how good that feels to bring light in a sometimes otherwise dark world.

Toddstar: You don’t mind typically, in your music, speaking of the darkness, the sadness, and the grief which is kind of refreshing. Everybody always tries to paint this rainbow colored world in their pop music whereas you kind of put a pop spin on reality which is always, for me at least, refreshing and fun to listen to.

Mary: Cool! I’m glad. I think that’s a little bit of my apprehension with… if I have any apprehension with the single it’s because there’s not direct or even adversive messaging in it. It’s really straight forward fun. I want to hang out with you. That’s the message. I think that not everything has to have adversive messaging in it.

Toddstar: I also liked that you put the PSA in there about pet adoptions which was kind of cool.

Mary: It was a really easy partnership. Shelter Pet Project is great. I also have a lot of friends that work in shelters or work in the animal rescue world. They were so helpful and instrumental in getting the message out. We had about twenty or twenty-five dogs on the set. Almost every single one was a rescue.

Toddstar: That’s just awesome. Recently, and it’s hard to talk about this in a positive light, but recently you’ve done – you and several artists – the very positive single “Hands”. What was it like for you to be able to be part of something – I’m not going to sugar coat it; it’s a shitty reason to have to get together with people. What was it like for you to be asked to be part of such a piece?

Mary: The honor is that it, I think anybody not just an artist or someone with a platform feels kind of helpless when tragedy… tragedy is even too tame a word. It’s just… It was devastating. I think it was really devastating, especially for our community, the LGBT community. We have so few spaces to feel safe. As silly as it seems, a night club is a safe place for so many of us. It is a place that many of us have come to rely on. We can get hate crimes anywhere – our school or our job. At least if we go to a gay night at a club, we’re going to be in a community with people. To have a moment where someone tried to take that away from us, you feel helpless. I wanted to be a part of something that said, “We got your back.” I think it was really cool. It was amazing how quickly everybody got together. How many big name artists were on that song. Just wanting their voice to do something good. I love that the proceeds went to the Pulse Victims Fund. Then quite a few other charities. It was great to see a rally of celebrities involved.


Toddstar: That it was. Again, I hated that it took such a devastating instance in the world to bring you all together.

Mary: Absolutely.

Toddstar: Let’s move out of the dark for a minute and let’s move back to the happiness. You’re going to be part of a movement with the National Park Service for the Find Your Park movement. How did you get involved in that kind of project? It just seems so left field from you and your music.

Mary: I am really outdoorsy. It really seemed kind of natural. I don’t even know how it all came together. I don’t know. The Find Your Park movement is something I really believe in – people connecting with the Earth and connecting to the world around them. It is where we live. I feel like so often people feel entitled to walk wherever they walk without really honoring the Earth itself. Honoring that we’re all part of a larger ecosystem, to treat that with kindness. I think the National Park System has done a great job with preserving the integrity of the Earth in a lot of ways – protecting both the wildlife and the natural world. I want to help in any way to urge people to go outside and look at the world around them, especially now with how connected we are to technology. It’s more important than ever to go outside and use your eyeballs and look at the beauty of the world.

Toddstar: I’d agree with you. You mentioned a couple of things that kind of segue into something else. You mentioned outdoorsy. You mentioned technology. I read recently that you went on a nice bike ride. You were prepping fo0r an article about Swamp Ass. I just thought that was hilarious when I saw that tag.

Mary: Yeah, definitely. It’s been kind of an outdoorsy week. I got a new bicycle. I had a great time.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. I’ve been a fan since I was able to wrap my hands and ears around Welcome to the Age of My Body.

Mary: Oh wow.

Toddstar: I still love listening to “She Keeps Me Warm.” When you go back and listen to songs from that and also Heart on My Sleeve, what songs, when you hear them or when you play them, still strike you as strong as they did when you put pen to paper?

Mary: “Body Love” I think is probably my number one of something that is still… I am constantly evolving in my relationship to it. It is one that I feel is really important to perform each night. Even if I’m not totally comfortable in my body or my skin that I’m still finding a new meaning to the piece. I wrote it almost eight or nine years ago. I’ve performed it probably over a thousand times at least and it’s just remembering why I wrote it. Looking out into the audience and knowing that there’s someone that needs to hear that is really gratifying. I remember when I released it. This is an ongoing thing where I get outpouring of e-mails and people connecting to it, especially from girls in rehab for eating disorders saying, “This is helping me eat in the morning. I have XYZ and this is helping me move further in my life.” The agency is on the individual and not me. They’ve done that. I’m still proud to be a catalyst for someone else’s feeling. That’s something that I definitely want to continue doing.

Toddstar: That’s great. Unfortunately, here in Detroit, we don’t get to see you much. I know you’re coming close here. In September, you’ll be in Columbus, Ohio with the Fashion Music Festival. Have you got any tour dates starting to form up? I’d love to see you hit Detroit sometime soon.

Mary: Yeah, me too! I’m itching to get on the road for sure. I need to finish the album. It’s important for me to finish the writing and be in sort of that sacred space to write and record. I have plans on coming next year for sure, whether starting to open for a headliner and then maybe doing a headline tour when the album is released. Things are still up in the air. We’re talking to a few different people. I’ll definitely be touring this year.

Toddstar: Awesome. We’ve talked “Hang Out With You” the newest single which came out, again, July 8th. When you were putting this together, did you have any self-imposed pressure or stress? You’re following up a certified gold single with “Secrets.”

Mary:    Yeah, for sure.I’ve parted ways with my record label and my management; kind of just flying by the seat of my pants and just seeing what sticks. I am kind of using a flow chart model of, “If this happens then I do this.” There’s definitely a lot of pressure but not as much I think if I wasn’t independent. I feel really lucky to be in complete control. I’m not being propelled by fear in anyway. I’m really just taking this for what it is and saying, “What feels good? What feels the best? How can I best listen to my intuition?” No matter what happens, “Secrets” will always be gold. “Same Love” will always be double platinum. I’m always going to have that. I don’t want to keep looking back and saying, “How do I rephrase this?” I have this sort of insatiable desire to keep recreating something that already happened. I want to know how I can grow as an artist. I want to know what other territories have I not explored yet. What does that sort of success look like? How can I have the most fun? I want to be able to enjoy this rather than stress out and make sure I’m as “successful”. Of course, talking about successful in quotations because it’s all arbitrary.

Toddstar: That’s great insight. Mary, you’ve done so much in such a short time – you have two great EP’s, a full length album, and you’ve written a book of poetry. If you look back, is there anything that you’ve done so far that you would change, or any missteps that you feel would have helped you in your career had they been handled any differently?

Mary: That’s a great question. I don’t think so. I think that maybe I might have spoken up a little bit sooner than I did. I remember there have been some photo shoots I’ve done where I have said, “I don’t totally feel comfortable doing that,” but then having somebody urge you and say, “Well, just try it.” I feel like that sort of opens a window. If you clearly say, “I don’t really like that.” Having someone say, “Well, just try it out.” All these people are here for you so you want to try it out and you want to honor whoever has been helping you, but it does open a door to uncomfortability. It does open the door to maybe not being accurately represented. I do wish that I had a stronger sense of self maybe a little bit earlier on. Then again, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that I would have. I don’t know. I don’t think I would change anything. Now, I know the value of being strong. I know the value of speaking out and speaking up for myself and being an advocate for myself that I wouldn’t otherwise have known if I hadn’t felt uncomfortable.

Toddstar: Thanks for sharing that. I know you’re busy so I’ve got one or two more for you if you don’t mind.

Mary: Sure. Of course.

Toddstar: You put a melancholic spin on a song from my youth, “Jessie’s Girl,” on your full length album. If you could, is there another song that you would just love to reconstruct the way you did “Jessie’s Girl”?

Mary: It’s a great question. There are some covers we’ve been sort of playing with doing. In terms of making something melancholic from an original…


Toddstar: Or even just putting your own spin, reconstructing it the way you seem to have the ability to do.

Mary: I don’t know. I do a version of “Teenage Dirtbag” that’s really fun. That’s something we would consider. I really want to do an accurate, straight ahead cover of Weezer’s “El Scorcho.” I think it would really fun to do. There’s a lot of covers I’ve done. I know I run the risk of being the girl that makes everything sad. Just taking these upbeat, wonderful songs and making them as depressing as possible.

Toddstar: Well, I don’t think “Jessie’s Girl” turned out sad at all. To me, it was kind of that melancholic instead of being happy about ‘she’s not my girl, this sucks.’ Which I thought was kind of apropos. Last Mary, when can we expect – and I know you’re still writing – do you have a target date for the new material to hit the streets? I know in the day and age of technology and everybody’s got to pepper everybody with singles before albums are done. Do you have a target date in mind for the new material?

Mary: I’m going to release an EP before the album. It’s going to be a feel happy, fun EP. I’m shooting for September. Then hopefully the full length will be out early next year.

Toddstar: Very cool. Mary, again, I appreciate the time. From anybody who has been smart enough to go out and experience your music, thank you for being you. Thank you for not putting up a front. Thank you for not putting on the bullshit happy face for everybody. Thank you for being real. It’s what strikes me in your music the most.

Mary: Thank you. That’s really sweet. I really appreciate that.

Toddstar: I’m hoping when you get that EP out and you’re closer to the album release, we’ll be able to revisit all of this and talk more about your new material and hopefully some tour dates.

Mary: Absolutely. I hope to see you in Detroit.

Toddstar: Sounds good, Mary. We’ll talk to you soon.

Mary: All right, bye-bye.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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