by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
THE CROCODILE CAFÉ
October 29 @ 7:30pm
You can take the girl out of Seattle, but you can't take Seattle out of Mary Lambert. The Grammy-nominated artist has spent the past few years living on the opposite coast with her partner, fellow musician Michelle Chamuel, but she's still an Emerald City girl at heart, right down to the cup of Vivace coffee she treats herself to whenever she returns to her hometown. Speaking of which, the 'Same Love' singer and co-writer is headed back shortly to this neck of the woods, as part of her 'Everybody is a Babe Tour' that celebrates the recent release of her newest recording, an EP titled Bold. If you missed Lambert performing at the Pride festivities in June, here's a chance to see the LGBT musician in a much more intimate setting, The Crocodile on October 29. For tickets, go to www.thecrocodile.com.
I caught up with Lambert this week to chat about the upcoming tour, her new music and her favorite Seattle spots. Here's what she had to say to Seattle Gay News.
Albert Rodriguez: You performed here just a few months ago at Pride. Will the upcoming show be similar, or much different, than what we saw this summer?
Mary Lambert: At Pride, that set was about a half-hour and luckily for me this set is going to be about 90 minutes, so it's going to be like a super set. I have a lot planned and Ebo Barton will be opening up the night with a set of their work, so I feel lucky to have them. Mal Blum is my supporting act and they're just as amazing. I'm excited for the audience. I'm actually jealous that I don't get to watch my own show. That sounds really conceited. [Laughs]
Rodriguez: Your new album is called Bold. Is it a reflection of LGBT people's courage, or your own experience being part of the LGBT community? Or, are you making some kind of statement to the world?
Lambert: It's kind of all encompassing. I feel like that's included in the umbrella of what it symbolizes to me, but I think initially the feeling was in relation to being independent after leaving my record label and management. It was sort of like taking hold of my art and my business and my schedule and what I was working on project-wise. I was really empowered and 'bold' felt like an all encompassing term for that, but I think it also means to be unabashedly yourself, to be unabashedly gay and bi-polar; you have to be bold in order to live that way. So I feel like I live boldly and I wanted to have the message, or the branding, around the EP to reflect that.
Rodriguez: How many songs from Bold do you think you'll include in your performance at The Crocodile?
Lambert: Most of them, I think everything but the remixes. In Seattle, I'm particularly excited because my mom is going to join me on stage for a duet, which is really special. I've never sung in public with my mom before.
Rodriguez: And she appears on your album as a guest vocalist, right?
Lambert: Yes, she actually wrote the song that she appears in ('Love is Love').
Rodriguez: I loved the video for the EP's first single, 'Know Your Name,' which features Sara Ramirez, who we know from 'Grey's Anatomy.' How long did that video take to make, and how much fun did you have putting it together?
Lambert: I was luckily able to finance it through Kickstarter. I think from the beginning, its inception, to the actual release was probably about three months. But the actual day of shooting was a fifteen-hour day.
Rodriguez: At The Crocodile, will you be playing with a full band, or backup singers - what's the set up going to be like?
Lambert: I will have my band that's from Seattle. Heather Thomas is my drummer. She has her own projects and she's also in a band called General Mojo. Jonah Cohen is my bassist and he's in a band called Honcho Poncho. And, Tim Mendonsa recently moved to New York, but he was also Seattle-based. That's my band; they're like my best friends and I feel really lucky that I get to tour with them and bring them on stage and share these experiences. I feel like I've interacted with a lot of my peers that don't tend to have as much control of how they tour, or there are people making decisions for them. So being able to have my best friends tour with me is something I value deeply.
Rodriguez: How long does it take you to prepare for a tour, to rehearse the songs and lock down the arrangements?
Lambert: We sort of do a lot of remote rehearsals, where I'm talking about concepts over the phone or email, but my band has already been playing these songs for a while. Some of the songs on Bold are older songs, so the rehearsal aspect isn't that intense, it's more the logistics of the tour, like 'Where are we going to stay?' and 'How are we going to travel?' and 'What is everyone's comfort level?' because my main priority is that everyone has fun. If you're not having fun, then what's the fucking point?
Rodriguez: So how will you travel and have fun?
Lambert: We're going to go camping for part of the tour. [Laughs] So I got a fun camper-trailer and I picked out the camping spots we'll go to. We're staying in some fun Airbnb's and we're going to roast marshmallows.
Rodriguez: Where's the most common place you get recognized?
Lambert: I don't know that I get recognized a lot. When it happens, it's very special because I'm in my usual getup - I'm usually in sweats and no makeup, and that's kind of my jam. When I am recognized it's because my hair is done and I'm wearing red lipstick, or something. In Seattle, it's much more frequent than other parts of the world, which makes me feel like a local celebrity. [Laughs]
Rodriguez: Will you be coming back to Seattle for the holidays, for Thanksgiving or Christmas?
Lambert: I don't think so. I now live in Massachusetts, so I'll either be there or visiting family elsewhere.
Rodriguez: You've been living on the East Coast for a few years. How do you describe Seattle to the people where you live?
Lambert: There's a lot of similarities. I don't live in Boston, I live about two hours west, which I feel is culturally very similar to Seattle, in that it's very liberal. Where I live is kind of like the lesbian mecca, so it just feels great to be with my people. I have my Subaru in the lesbian mecca; I just feel right at home. To me, Seattle is like...um, at one point I called it America's best kept secret because everybody had this belief that it rained there all the time and it was terrible, but I think people are starting to catch on that it's just a lie we tell. It is gray a lot, but in the summer months there's nothing more beautiful than Seattle in the summertime.
Rodriguez: Whenever you come back to Seattle, what are the places you always go to? What are your Seattle haunts?
Lambert: I always go to Vivace on the Hill. I love Cafe Flora, Local 360, Bathtub Gin & Co. in Belltown. I'm such a foodie and cocktail lover, so anytime I go back I'm like 'What's new?' 'What are people excited about?'
Rodriguez: Because your concert takes place a couple of days before Halloween, are you encouraging fans to come dressed in costume?
Lambert: My God, I hadn't thought of that! I want people to come as they are, however they want to be. It's an open costume policy. [Laughs]
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