Mary Lambert On Writing A Gay Anthem, Singing With Madonna, And Watching Queen Latifah Marry Gay Couples
Speaking of the Grammys, how did you come to write “She Keeps Me Warm,” which began as the chorus of “Same Love?”
I wrote the chorus specifically for “Same Love” and I kept getting asked to perform it at shows. But I’m not going to rap, I’m just not going to do it. I’m not going to perform to a track. Rather than do that I crafted a song around it. It wasn’t my plan to record it. I wanted to separate myself in some way but the demand was such that when I did it live in a radio station then it went crazy. People wanted it for their weddings. There was a hunger for the other side of it. I thought it was appropriate and I wasn’t trying to ride any coat tails. I love performing the song and it means something to me so it’s a win-win.
What inspired the lyrics?
There have been different incarnations. I wanted to write a love song that was applicable of those first butterflies you get when you meet somebody. I wanted it to resonate with everybody. I watch romantic comedies all the time — I’m obsessed. I watch The Bachelor. The bottom line is that they’re feelings of love and attraction. I love love. I think straight people love love, too. I don’t think they realize that they love any kind of love. Hopefully the song resonates in that way. Even though it’s a different context the principal is the same. And then the chorus is familiar but I wanted it to have a double meaning — I’m always going to feel this way. I’m always going to be attracted to her.
At the Grammys you got to perform the “Same Love” chorus as a duet with Madonna. Was she already familiar with you and the song?
Yeah, which was crazy. She knew the song. I’m still processing what that means. That’s my life now.
Did you two chat?
Yeah, totally. We had two days of rehearsals together. I consider her a friend now. I was very emotional, not just from the song but from the fact that people were getting married during the song and Madonna was singing my lyrics. There was a moment when I was crying and she wiped my tears away. She’s wonderful.
What was your take on Queen Latifah? What was her mood like that day when officiating the marriages?
Oh my God, she was ecstatic. She was beautiful and has such a glow about her and has such a beautiful energy. We didn’t have rehearsals with her, just the dress rehearsal. I met her briefly. She was wonderful.
You’re dating Michelle Chamuel, who was a former contestant on The Voice. What are the challenges of dating another singer?
For me, the distance is difficult, but I think that’s true for anyone. At the end of the day we’re both very focused on our careers and that makes for an awesome relationship. I think it’s because we both understand each other in that way.
You’re working on a full-length album. What can you reveal about it? Will there be any surprising departures or collaborations?
I hope there will be some collaborations. I’m still sorting that out. I’m extremely proud of the album. I’m beyond excited. I can’t wait for it to be released so people can hear what we’ve been working on. It’s a really distinct different sound. I don’t have words to describe I’m so excited about it.