NNN Exclusive: Mary Lambert On Macklemore, “Same Love,” VMAs, More

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” helped propel the Seattle hip-hop duo into the mainstream, and helped propel the issue of marriage equality into mainstream music. Tonight on the MTV Video Music Awards, the track rightly received the award for Best Video with a Social Message.

Joining the guys on this epic journey has been Mary Lambert, the featured singer and co-songwriter on “Same Love.” NewNowNext chatted briefly with Lambert before she (and surprise guest Jennifer Hudson) performed “Same Love” with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Sunday night at the MTV Video Music Awards.

081913-mary-lambertHow has it been seeing “Same Love ” explode the way it has, both commercially and as part of the marriage-equality movement?

I don’t think we ever expected “Same Love” to take off the way it did. I imagined the song would have an impact locally, as gay marriage was up for a vote in the state of Washington, but to see it explode the way it has, is unreal. Going platinum is a really emotional thing. I have to say it to myself: A gay-rights song went platinum. Even if I were a random person, that would still be a huge deal to me.

Has anyone told you about special significance “Same Love” has had to them?

I’ve heard so many stories—I’ve cried so many tears of empathy. I recently had a woman approach me after a solo show I did to let me know that she was clergy in the Methodist church. She had decided she was going to come out, and knew the ramifications would be that she would have to leave the church. I’m getting teary-eyed thinking about it.

She told me “Same Love” gave her the strength to stand up and say that she was good with God and needed to be honest about who she was. I can’t believe that we’ve sparked people to be brave, open, have a dialogue, and stand up for equality. It’s incredible. I cry happy tears all the time and want to hug the world.

Your part of “Same Love” is actually a sliver of your song, “She Keeps Me Warm.” How do the two songs differ?

“She Keeps Me Warm” is another side to ‘Same Love’: My intention with the song was not political. I believe that love is the only way to change people’s hearts and minds. ‘Same Love’ was a social and political statement, which is essential for the movement, but it’s important that folks who disagree with “Same Love” recognize that love is a universal beauty.

I know that ‘She Keepsmary-lambert Me Warm’ is inherently political because of the subject matter, but I was only writing it because it was truthful and I’m not scared to use female pronouns in my music. I think some artists prefer to use general pronouns because they don’t want to alienate their audience, but I think they underestimate the capacity society has for understanding of love.

Hearing women of all ages singing the chorus to “Same Love” at the top of their lungs at Macklemore shows, really gave me the understanding that nobody gives a damn what the pronoun is. It’s the same way gay folks watch romantic comedies with straight couples and still enjoy it. I hope that this song brings it further.

How do you feel about performing at VMAs? What are you wearing?

I’M SO EXCITED! I can’t believe I’m going to be on such an iconic stage, sharing it with mega-stars. I spent all of my childhood and adolescence dreaming about this, but now it’s real; it’s tangible. I just want to give the best performance I can, and be 100% authentic on stage.

It’s a little scary singing to the whole world, “Hey I’m super gay and you should be cool with that and let me get married,” but it’s completely necessary, and I’m honored to make that statement. I’m wearing all the sequins in the world and a dress that makes my rack look fantastic.

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