9 April 2021 • Alums "I Can't Change" with Grammy-nominated Mary Lambert

This month, HWS will host a performance by singer and composer Mary Lambert, followed by a discussion on authenticity, mental health awareness and LGBTQ+ lived experiences.

On Tuesday, April 20, Grammy-nominated singer and composer Mary Lambert will join the Hobart and William Smith Colleges community for a virtual performance. The event, titled “I Can’t Change” — which includes a Q&A forum and a moderated discussion on authenticity, mental health awareness, and LGBTQ+ lived experiences — will begin at 7 p.m.

Lambert, who rose to fame in 2012 while juggling multiple food service jobs, is best known for her heart-wrenching work on the marriage equality anthem “Same Love,” from the Grammy-winning Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album, The Heist. Writing and singing the hook to “Same Love” led to two Grammy nominations for “Song of The Year” and “Album of The Year,” and her pop career flourished after signing to Capitol Records. Her confessional tongue-in-cheek single, “Secrets,” shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Dance charts, and was certified RIAA Gold in 2015. She released a few EPs and a full-length album, Heart on My Sleeve, which The New York Times called “refreshing and severely personal.”

Despite just turning 30 years old, Lambert has seen much of life and speaks candidly about trauma, her bipolar disorder, queerness and a previous suicide attempt. This vulnerable approach to her art allows a unique connection between artist and listener, where the usual untouchable barrier of a performer does not exist.

Lambert’s sophomore full-length album, Grief Creature, was self-produced and crowdfunded, the album was released in late 2019. Featuring musician-friends like Macklemore, Hollis and Julien Baker, the songs showcase Lambert’s uncanny ability to leave her listener spellbound. In 2018, Macmillan published Lambert’s devastating poetry collection centered around mental illness called Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across. She is starring in an unnamed Netflix animated movie for cinematic release in 2021, and is currently composing music for 1946, a documentary about LGBTQ rights and biblical scripture.

Lambert’s appearance is sponsored by the Office of Campus Life, the HWS Counseling Center, the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the Chip R Carver Sr. Memorial Fund.

Established by HWS Trustee Calvin “Chip” Carver, Jr. ’81 and Anne DeLaney in honor of Chip’s father, the memorial fund supports two primary objectives: first, to secure one speaker each year to address a topic intended to promote inclusiveness, resiliency, and positive mental health; and second, to directly assist those students who may be experiencing mental or physical difficulties stemming from developmental, personal or family circumstances, through financial support of programmatic and staffing expenditures.