Between social media and her heartfelt songs, Mary Lambert is transparent. She outlined her recent breakup with her girlfriend on Facebook, and is ready to face the world about it when she hits the road for her Everybody is a Babe Tour.
“The tour will be great because I’m 24-7 around friends,” says Lambert, who plays the Rebel Lounge on Thursday, January 25.
“That’s especially helpful during the breakup. I feel like there’s community with whom I can share my successes and my heartbreak. This is my tour—I’m not on a label, there’s no formal management.”
Her tour means she can pretty much do what she wants. The shows will feature Lambert, a practicing Christian, with her piano, playing songs fans have come to love like “She Keeps Me Warm.” Her latest EP, Bold, will be featured. But don’t expect her show to be a tearjerker.
“The capacity in which I tour feels like it’s just a party,” the effervescent Lambert says. “It’s so much fun. It’s cathartic and it’s nice to be surrounded by friends and the people I love. It’s varied. It’s part comedy, part guttingly sad and part dance party, which is basically me. There are no costume changes or crazy lights. It’s just me and my piano being really honest.”
Without management or a publicist, Lambert is doing well. She recently signed a publishing deal for her poetry and she’s working on her next full-length album. She pens her tunes on the piano, if she home, or guitar on the road because of its portability.
Lambert is just as surprised by her success as fans. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music composition from Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts and established herself in the city’s slam poetry scene.
In 2012, she was working three restaurant jobs when her friend called regarding Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who were struggling with a chorus for “Same Love” from what would be their debut album The Heist. Lambert wrote the hook in three hours and the track went triple-platinum.
“I was originally writing orchestral arrangements and symphonic music,” she says. “I thought I would be a film composer. I wanted to be a teacher, so I started applying to graduate programs.
“Then I had this epiphany. I needed to try to make it as a performer. I’m going to sit back, be a bartender and make an album. I figured if I didn’t have any traction after two years, I’d finish my graduate program. Within three months of saying that, I got the call to do ‘Same Love.’ I told myself, ‘OK, this is what I do now.’”
With her feet firmly in the music business, Lambert is ready for the big push. She calls her agent and music publisher “awesome.” Her full-time assistant holds things together for her, and her two interns are fabulous.
“I think there’s this fallacy that says artists are too flighty to be business people,” Lambert says. “They say business and art conflict. I just don’t believe that. I get why some artists don’t want to know what’s going on in the business end. But I really want to be involved. I am the driver. I really love it. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Mary Lambert w/Mal Blum, The Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602.296.7013, therebellounge.com, 8 p.m. Thursday, January 25, $15-$18.