“There’s so many ants happening right now. I’m actually okay, they’re fine. Are you okay?”
This nonchalant thoughtfulness is Mary Lambert in her truest form. She told me about her new crowdfunded album BOLD the day it was released over coffee - featuring ants - which she was charmingly unbothered by.
Of all the things to adore about Lambert’s new album, what the musician loves most is that she produced half of it herself.
“I feel like I’ve always had straight white cis male producers and crafters helping me craft songs,” she said. “And this was the first time I was like ‘no.’ I want this to be me - top to bottom - leaving no space for anyone else and taking up that space and not feeling guilty about it.”
Lambert says that even though she’s loved the producers she’s worked with, sometimes they can’t help but to insert themselves and their ideas into her music. She revels in the fact that she made creative decisions for herself, including the reverbs and the types of microphones. She solo produced three songs herself, including “Love is love,” a song written by and performed with her mom, Mary Kay.
HIRE FEMALE WRITERS & PRODUCERS & FEMALE ENGINEERS! It's a fucking joke that female producers are few and far between. We're out here.— Mary Lambert (@marylambertsing) May 8, 2017
The musician met her crowdfunding goal for the album, which is now available on iTunes and Spotify, in the first eight hours of the Kickstarter campaign, and ultimately tripled it for a total of $68,302 raised.
“I was not expecting everything to happen they way it did. I think I was scared, but then I was like, ‘You know the album’s called BOLD, I’m gonna be bold,’” she said.
The EP is Lambert’s first release since she “amicably parted ways” with her label Capitol Records last year. She signed with the group a few years after writing and singing the hook for the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song “Same Love.”
“It’s hard because I understood why I didn’t make sense to a record label. The marketing is confusing,” Lambert said. “I’m a spoken-word artist that sings pop songs and talks about sexual abuse and also hopefully dismantles white supremacy.”
In addition to fighting social injustices and saving the world, the musician is set apart because of her unique blend of poetry and music. She has elements of spoken-word poetry in her 2013 songs “Body Love Part 1” and “Part 2,” and also utilized musical wordplay in her BOLD song “Lay Your Head Down,” where she sing-speaks about all the things that make her cry.
I cry because sometimes my only power feels like tweeting a hashtag and that is so vapid and useless or I cry because I’m human and I’m connected and there is immense sadness in the world
I cry because humanity is frightening
Because one person consumed with self-hatred and armed with one gun can kill an entire room of people
I cry because I am full now and sure and say yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no and can love you with all of my breath
I cry because I am so well
Because I live so well
Lambert started her own business project Tender Heart Records to create BOLD, which allowed her to make the EP “about being unabashedly fat, gay, bipolar, and doing whatever you damn well please.” While she has emotionally deep and thought-provoking songs, Lambert still gives fun feel-good jams like “Hang Out With You” and “Know Your Name,” the original and the Reverb Junkie Remix.
As she’s branched out on her own with BOLD, Lambert said she’s started to accept and appreciate her complexity as an artist.
“But it’s also scary to be a full, complex person and say, ‘I am all of these things, can you still understand me?’” she said. “It really relies on trust and faith, and the idea that people might not get it and that’s okay. You’re only responsible for your own shit and that’s okay.”
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Brianna is a BUST editorial intern from Indiana. After finishing her bachelor's in telecommunication news and journalism from Ball State University, she went to Syracuse for her master's in arts journalism. She likes writing about movies, performance art and advocacy. You can follow her on Twitter @BriKirk, and reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.