Mary Lambert is finally unleashing her vocal talent in full on the United Kingdom at the end of the month, with the release of her brand new single 'She Keeps Me Warm' and new album 'Heart On My Sleeve'.

Female First got the opportunity to put some questions to Mary ahead of her big UK release, about the incredible impact she's not only had on the world of music but the face of equality, the new record and much more. Read on to find out what she had to say.

Your new album and single are out here in the UK on July 31 - how excited are you to finally release the full version of 'She Keeps Me Warm'?

SO EXCITED! The great thing about releasing albums and songs at staggered times in different countries is that you get a bit of a breather to recollect and reflect about why you wrote the songs, and what they mean to you. When you perform the same songs over and over for months, there are moments when you want to go on auto-pilot, and that for me is unacceptable. It's imperative that I emotionally connect with every song, every time. When I get a break and then revisit the songs, the whole process is far less challenging, and makes for an enjoyable experience for everyone!

Can you tell us a little bit about the creative process you went through in making this album?

Yeah! I wasn't planning it, but I ended up writing this whole record in studio, save a few songs. Much of my other work is a bit heavier and darker, which definitely reflected my headspace at that time in my life. The past two years have been so beautifully stable for me, and I guess I can plainly put it this way: I have a better handle on my mental disorder than I did before, and creating an album like my last two EPs wouldn't be authentic. First and foremost, I wanted to make a pop album. For a lot of these songs, my producers, Eric Rosse and Benny Cassette wrote music tracks and I top-lined. My friend Mozella came in and helped shaped some of the hooks, which was really helpful for the pop sound I was looking for.

How important is it for you to maintain a creative control over the work you produce?

Having creative control is essential to what I make. My biggest thing is connection, and that can't happen unless I'm in control of writing, performing, and having a hand in production. I have the final say in every decision when it comes to my operation, and I'm really lucky to have a team that supports my vision.

We've heard the single sampled in the past in Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' huge hit 'Same Love' - how did it feel to be part of that track?

The chorus to "Same Love" came before "She Keeps Me Warm", and the whole process has been a little unorthodox, which is a pretty accurate reflection of who I am as an artist anyway. I don't think any of us knew what kind of reach "Same Love" was going to have, and the entire life of the song has been so overwhelmingly beautiful to watch unfold. For me, it was incredible to be a part of something so revolutionary- not just as an artist, but also as a lesbian.

And we also saw you at the Grammys performing that track with the guys and Madonna while 33 couples were married by Queen Latifah, tell us about that experience.

The entire Grammys experience was unlike anything I'd ever been a part of. It was an out of body experience. When I first got the call that we were not only nominated for "Song of the Year", but that I would be singing my part with Madonna, I was freaking out, jumping up and down- I was so excited for what that meant for my career, for my own personal gains. But as the weeks got closer to the performance and through our rehearsals, I remember having this realization that it had nothing to do with me or Macklemore or Madonna, it was about furthering social change. I remember just thinking- I must honor this song. I must honor those that have unjustly died because of who they loved and those who are fighting for their own voice.

Recently we saw equal marriage pushed through in all 50 States in America, you've been an integral part of that! How does that feel?

It's been a process for me emotionally, that's for sure. I think when you are creating music with strong messaging or music with a very specific intention (which I think both Macklemore and I strive to do in our writing), you can do one of two things when you've reached a wide audience and perhaps influenced individuals in a positive way; the first is to continually pat yourself on the back, and say "look what I've done!", which is totally understandable and there was definitely a time in my life that I responded that way. But I've found that a savior complex tends to develop out of that thought process. I think my approach to the result of my writing and performance (as in its relative effect), is to be grateful to be a catalyst for someone else's healing or change, rather than assigning myself responsibility. That allows me to create what is in my heart, rather than creating for a specific purpose.

What can you tell us about your journey to where you've gotten to today?

My journey has been an arduous, very sad kind of novel, but one that ends really well- where the girl gets away from her evil father, and she gets to perform on stages for thousands, and gets the girl of her dreams. I attempted suicide when I was 18, and I remember this nagging feeling of "you are meant to do something really important" that ended up being a force to my healing. I followed that feeling for years, and I remember when I got the call to write "Same Love", it felt very much like a divine reckoning.

How difficult would you say it is to make a name for yourself in this industry?

This industry is flooded with immense talent, and I think it really comes down to luck and being in the right place at the right time. I think the keys to success are: figure out what you want to say, be intentional, be kind, work your ass off, have ambition, know the right people, take every opportunity, and have a crazy amount of luck.

What sort of barriers, challenges and obstacles have you faced whilst making your way through the business to-date?

In the music industry specifically, I've found that there are a lot of voices telling you dogmatically how the industry works, how to run your business, and how to best be yourself, which is alluring because they often come from well-accomplished people, or colleagues you might admire. I want to clarify that these people often come from a really well-intentioned place. It actually reminds me a bit of Fundamentalist Christianity- the general idea of Christians against homosexuality is: "I love you, that's why I'm giving you the word of God, because I don't want you to go to hell." It's incredibly misguided and harmful, albeit well-intentioned. The thing that I've learned is that no one knows what the hell they are doing- and that's okay! Everyone is careening about, trying to find a method through the madness, trying to crack the "code", to find the formula for success. The bottom line is that authenticity will always win out, and I've learned that my intuition has gotten me this far, so I don't really question it anymore. I'm also really fortunate to have a team that supports my vision, and the way I choose to navigate my own path.

You're also an extremely talented poet, taking competition wins and releasing a book of poetry in the past - is that something you're going to continue doing alongside music?

Always! Even on the pop album I recorded, there is a bit of spoken word. I'm working on my second collection of poetry that I hope to release next Summer.

Finally, what should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?

New music! I've been working in the studio, writing a ton, and performing around the world. All of those things!

Mary's new single 'She Keeps Me Warm' and album 'Heart On My Sleeve' are released on Friday, July 31.

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