07481ed1-d152-45c0-90a0-c06b687dd04fBy Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

You may not know her name, but you know her heavenly voice as the hook on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’  hit single “Same Love.” Although writing songs and playing music since she could “form words,” Lambert’s overnight recognition has led to a solo career and the release of a new album, Heart on My Sleeve, which has received good marks from the New York Times, Slant and Billboard.

She’ll be performing cuts from the new album and her previous EP tonight, Oct. 27, at The Loft at Center Stage in Midtown. Tickets are available at this link.

And while music has landed her a legion of fans, especially for her outspoken support of LGBT rights and positive body image, it was poetry and spoken word that really launched her career.

“Spoken word is the whole reason I am where I am,” Lambert said. “It’s how Macklemore  discovered me. Poetry is an inextricable part of who I am.”

Inspired by spoken word poets like Buddy Wakefield, Shira Erlichman and Anis Mojgani, Lambert found that writing poetry and songs were two sides of the same coin. Spoken word features significantly on Heart on My Sleeve, and her message of equality and positivity ring out in the music as well.

Take these lyrics from her bubbling single “Secrets”: I’ve got bi-polar disorder, my sh-t’s not in order, I’m overweight, I’m always late, I’ve got too many things to say, I rock mom jeans and cat earrings, extrapolate my feelings, my family is dysfunctional.

Lambert has also been upfront about her confessional style of songwriting and digging into past personal trauma to inspire others. She was raised in a fundamentalist  Christian household, abused as a child, and felt like an outcast after she came out as a lesbian in her teenage years.

Now, at age 25, Lambert is also astonished at her seemingly overnight success. “It happened very quickly,” she said. “I’ve worked hard and know that I’m talented, but there are people who are as equally talented  that have been doing this for 10, 20 and 30 years and haven’t achieved the success they deserve. It really comes down to luck. I was in the right place at the right time.”

While studying classical music in college, she was also inspired by Atlanta’s own Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, Tori Amos and Fiona Apple.  Her eclectic taste for all kinds of music led her to alternative rock, hip-hop and a love of Top 40.

Perhaps her most high-profile appearance was at this year’s Grammy Awards, where she performed “Same Love” with Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Madonna while Queen Latifah hosted a wedding ceremony for both straight and gay couples. As marriage equality becomes law in more and more states, Lambert is thrilled.

“I wish the Supreme Court had handed down a definitive ruling on marriage equality, but it’s a huge victory nevertheless,” she said.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.