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EXCLUSIVE: Mary Lambert And 'She Keeps Me Warm' Take VMAs By Storm

EXCLUSIVE: Mary Lambert And 'She Keeps Me Warm' Take VMAs By Storm

EXCLUSIVE: Mary Lambert And 'She Keeps Me Warm' Take VMAs By Storm

Out performer Mary Lambert really was queen of the VMAs, performing "She Keeps Me Warm" with Jennifer Hudson.

When I spoke with Mary Lambert Friday afternoon, the 24-year-old Seattle native said she was doing her best to take in every moment as she prepared for Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards.  “This is like the craziest two weeks for me,” Lambert said. “I have to sort of turn my brain off at some point because there’s only so much overwhelming emotion you can take before you just lose it!”  Earlier that day, she had arrived in New York to prepare for her VMA performance of “Same Love” with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  Barely able to hold in her excitement, she said, “I got in my cab, and I’m like, ‘I’m having a GREAT DAY!’”

Not only was the trio scheduled to perform the summer’s hit track Sunday night,  but “Same Love” was nominated for and subsequently took home the Moonman for Best Video with a Social Message.  “You can’t even imagine, on a daily basis, the stories that I hear from people who have gotten strength from the song or had the courage to come out,”  Lambert said of the song’s impact.  “There was a woman who approached me after I did a show at Seattle Pride, and she was in the clergy in the Methodist Church, and she heard the song, and she was like, ‘ok, I’m just gonna come out and I know that they’re gonna kick me out of the church because  they’ve done it before, and I just have to accept that.  I’ll have to do this and be strong, and you’ve given me that strength.’  I got so weepy; I was just crying at her!  We hugged, and I didn’t let her go.” Laughing, Lambert added, “I think she was like ‘ok, this is a little too long.’”


The video for “Same Love” was released just prior to the 2012 election, an historic one for the gay rights movement, and it has since become an unofficial anthem for marriage equality.  After the SCOTUS rulings earlier this summer, the song rang even truer.  “It felt like we had done something to change the outcome,” Lambert said.  And how did she celebrate the victory?  “We had an impromptu ‘suck it DOMA’ night.  It didn’t really consist of a lot.  It was mostly just drinking champagne - a lot of champagne.”  

Lambert soon released her own take on “Same Love” called “She Keeps Me Warm,” and Sunday, the video for the song, which Lambert stars in, was released globally.  It tells the story of two young women in the beginning stages of a new relationship from their initial attraction to their long-anticipated first kiss.  Lambert said it was important for her to show a non-sexualized side of a gay relationship, whether or not she ran the risk of alienating her audience, because she felt like it hadn’t been out there in the media before. “There was nothing depicting a lesbian love story.  John Mayer can do it; Taylor Swift can do it. They can say ‘he’ and ‘she,’ in their music, and it doesn’t  bother me as a gay person!  I’m still gonna sing ‘I’m your lady, and you are my man!’  I think progressive people in general underestimate the capacity of love that the rest of the world has… I feel like hearing the whole entire nation sing, ‘She Keeps Me Warm,’ and not giving two shits about it, it kind of spoke to me that people can handle it”

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When I asked Lambert why she decided to star in the video herself, she laughed and replied, “Well one of the reasons is that I have an ego!  I want to be the star all the time!”  Jokes aside, Lambert said her reasoning was twofold: 

“While we’re providing a context for the world to see a normal lesbian relationship with two women, I also wanted to show a context of a plus-sized woman that can be romantic and sexy.  I notice so often in media, plus-sized women’s bodies are used also as a novelty, not that different from the way lesbian relationships are used as a novelty.  The plus-sized woman’s body has become this comedic element to things.  They’re not allowed to be sexy.  It’s always supposed to be funny or make you uncomfortable, and I was always so frustrated with that. I feel romantic, and I feel sexy, and I have a really great butt!”

After the release of two gay rights-themed singles, Lambert has embraced her new role as a lesbian activist, as well as an artist.  “I think that when you’re gay and you’re in a gay relationship, it’s inherently political whether you want it to be or not,” she said. “You’re creating music; you’re writing from your experience; and if your experience is being in the gay community, that’s going to affect the way you write. So whether or not you want to be a gay artist or not, you’re going to be a gay artist.  It’s just, whether you want to be an activist or not.”  

Lambert showed herself to be a true activist and an incredible performer Sunday night, when she took the stage with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in her stunning sequined dress.  The crowd cheered when Lambert began singing the song’s emotional chorus, and broke out into a roar when she was accompanied by a surprise appearance from Jennifer Hudson.  The women shared an powerful moment, singing to each other and embracing at the song’s end.


While Lambert said she feels as if she could hit her peak now and be satisfied, there are no signs of that happening anytime soon.  Among an array of anticipated performances, Lambert says she is most excited to be opening for Tegan and Sara in Southern Oregon on August 30, accompanied by her string quartet.  Tickets are available for that show and more now on her website. 


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Annie Hollenbeck