Mary Lambert Talks 'Same Love,' Self-Love, and Surviving Abuse
Mary Lambert is best known for singing the hook on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's gay rights anthem "Same Love," which inspired the chorus for her own ballad, "She Keeps Me Warm." She's an outspoken advocate not only for LGBT rights but for self-love and body acceptance, but it took a long time for the Seattle songstress, spoken-word artist, and childhood abuse survivor (whose debut album, Heart on My Sleeve, finally comes out this week) to establish her voice, find success — and find inner peace.
"My childhood sort of becomes a laundry list of trauma," Mary reveals to Yahoo Music. "I try to be really careful when I talk about my trauma, because you don't want to open old wounds and re-traumatize yourself, and you also don't want to be exploitive about what you've gone through. But I was sexually abused by my father, and my mom's partners were really, really abusive… Until I was 10, I just heard that I was a worthless piece of s--- for a long time.
"And then I was gang-raped when I was 17… I felt so worthless. I think when you're sexually abused, or when you're abused in general, it really devalues who you are. Because you've been violated, you start thinking introspectively, like, 'What did I do wrong? What's wrong with my body that it got abused? What did I do?'"
From a young age, it was songwriting that helped Mary, now 25, deal with the horrors of her daily life. "I started using music as catharsis, I think at like 5," she recalls. "We had this little dinky keyboard — you know, those ones that have like a programmed song — and I figured out how to change the keys on it… I remember just going into my room and I would just sing, 'You are loved, you are loved.' I would write these songs, and it was like sort of a self-comfort. And it became an escape, like a really awesome coping mechanism."
At age 19, Mary — who now says she's "really proud that I get to use this platform to be an advocate for standing up" — penned what became another one of her signature works, "Body Love." The semi-spoken-word piece, which unflinchingly explores such intense issues as cutting, disordered eating, and binge drinking, helped her come to terms with the abuse, including self-abuse, that her own body suffered during adolescence.