Austin Mahone won the Artist to Watch award on Sunday night's MTV Music Video Awards, but perhaps that honor should have gone to Mary Lambert. She's the big-voiced singer who provides the female voice in Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' gay-rights anthem "Same Love."
On Sunday night, she performed the song with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the trio took home the award for Best Video with a Social Message. Here are some things you may have not known about her.
1. "She Keeps Me Warm"
Lambert is a lesbian and she's wisely using the notoriety she's received from "Same Love" to further the cause of gay rights and her own career. Just two days before the VMAs, she unveiled the video for "She Keeps Me Warm," her solo track that spins-off the hook from "Same Love" into a new song.
2. She was motivated by the lack of music videos depicting lesbian relationships
There have been hit songs about women experimenting with same-sex flirtation, such as Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl" and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" (different songs, same titles), yet Lambert recently told Billboard that she searched YouTube two years ago and couldn't find a mainstream music video that depicted a lesbian relationship. "I was disappointed, shocked and a little hurt that I couldn't find a single one," she said. "Sure, there were hot girls rolling around in lingerie, girls briefly holding hands, or something involving a man. Lesbians were used as shock value."
3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis came to her at the time she needed it most.
In a message on her website, Lambert confesses that she was struggling with her sexuality and religion when she was asked by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to contribute to "Same Love."
"Ben [Haggerty, aka Macklemore], Ryan [Lewis], and [songwriter] Hollis [Wong-Wear] approached me to write the chorus to 'Same Love' at the time I needed it most," she writes. "For years, and especially at 23, I had been processing my seemingly contradictory life: 'The Christian' and 'the Queer,' all the while battling a history of sexual abuse and manic-depression.
"I'm not trying to be shocking," Lambert adds. "I suppose it's inadvertently making a statement, but I hope this song sits in all hearts — gay or straight. It's not about any of that. It's about love. It's always been about love."
4. She's also a poet.
In January 2013, Lambert self-published her first book of poetry titled 500 Tips for Fat Girls. The book tackles such issues as rape, incest, bipolarity, body image and homosexuality. Writing about the book, Lambert says, "To me, most curvy women end up having to navigate themselves through a frustrating process to find self-love. I think that that navigation to self-love is universal. This book is a collection of poetry exploring that… I believe in the power of vulnerability. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we have the most beautiful opportunity to find human connection, to see humanity in its greatest light."
5. She's good at two things — crying and singing.
So says her bio on her own website, which also claims those two talents are showcased on her debut EP Letters Don't Talk, which was released back in July 2012, long before her breakout success with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Given Lambert's incredible talent, it's probably best that you stop reading this and seek it out now. That's what I'm going to do.
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