Miranda Lambert is one of the biggest names in country music. She’s won Grammys, CMT Music Awards, CMAs, and more. She’s released numerous albums that have gone platinum and has a whopping 16 singles that have made it into the Top 10 charts for Billboard’s Hot Country Songs.
Now, almost two decades into her career, Lambert is focusing on more than just success. She’s focusing on family and a better world. With the recent release of a remix and new music video for her hit single ‘Tequila Does’, Lambert has come forward to show her allyship to the LGBTQ community. Passport was lucky enough to catch up with the busy star to talk about her new remix, her hopes for the country music industry, and what’s next for one of country’s biggest stars.
You recently released a remix of your hit song ‘Tequila Does’, which is officially titled ‘Tequila Does (Telemitry Remix)’. And from what I understand, this is the first remix you’ve ever released. How did this all come about?
Yeah, for starters, I love this song. I actually have three versions of it! The first was on The Marfa Tapes, which was a collaboration with two other artists, then I released another version of it on my Wildcard album, and now I have the remix.
The story behind the remix is actually kind of funny. In 2020 I performed at a private party. Because of COVID, I couldn’t be on the road, so I was just doing a few small, private gatherings. And at this party, people were just dancing like crazy to the original country version of ‘Tequila Does’. I loved it and thought it was so crazy because the original isn’t even a party song!
Then, on the plane home from the party, I may have had a few drinks, and turned to my manager and said that I wanted to do a remix of the song and see what happens (Laughs), because, why not? My manager ended up following through and reached out to my friend Jesse Frasure, who goes by the name of Telemitry in his music.
After we finished the track, I was like, I think it’s awesome…but I’m worried because it’s so different from the rest of my music. I knew I needed to send it to someone who would give me an honest opinion. So, I sent it to my brother, and he and his husband listened to it and then shared it with all their friends. Everyone loved it. Thanks to their feedback, I had the courage to release it, and it all ended up working out perfectly!
Your brother came out earlier in the decade, which really helped open your eyes to LGBTQ issues, and I know you’ve been on a journey since then to be an ally to the community. But I’m curious as to how so many LGBTQ influences made it into your music video for the remix. I mean, it’s so bright and colorful, and it has people from all walks of life…including your hunky husband and his brothers. Can you tell me how the music video came to be?
So, the origins of the video actually go back to 2019. Me, my husband, and my brother and his husband all went to World Pride that year. It was my first Pride ever, and it was completely crazy. Just that vibe of complete celebration, and all the colors, and everyone dancing, it was just so much fun! I wanted to transplant that feeling into the music video. It was also a great way to really inject a sense of Pride into the song without it coming off as overly preachy.
Yeah, I think the representation alone says a lot, especially in a genre like country, which has been historically more reserved than a lot of other genres. I think just being a famous country singer who shows that being LGBTQ isn’t weird or bad is a great step in the right direction.
I really appreciate you saying that because I get anxious when I feel like I have to tip-toe around. I just want to love everybody, and not have to worry about accidentally offending someone and it becoming a huge deal. When you think about how much you have to tip-toe right now, and how everyone is so offended by everything these days, I think it distracts you from the bigger picture, which is to just love everyone for who they are. So that’s really what I wanted this video and a lot of my music to be. I wanted a fun way to show acceptance, without any kind of heavy messaging weighing it down.
I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, and personally, I think your music has always been sort of like “queer anthems”, if you know what that term is.
Yes, and that’s actually such a compliment to me!
Going from my own experience of life as a gay person who grew up in Ohio, tons of your songs, especially older ones like ‘New Strings’ and ‘Mama I’m Alright’, just really spoke to me. They were all about moving away and finding yourself and becoming who you were meant to be. I think tons of LGBTQ people relate to that, and that’s probably why you’ve always had such a large gay following.
Oh, you just went way back to my first album! But I really appreciate you saying that. You know, everything I sing about, I’ve gone through myself. And I love that while the exact situation may look different for everyone, people can still relate and feel the power of my music. And if you’ve been listening to me since my first album, you know that my music has changed over time, because as you grow up, you change, and you discover things.
I think a good example of that is my song ‘All Kinds of Kinds’, which I recorded after I found out about my brother. The song is all about how boring this world would be if we were all the same. You know, it’s like I welcome everyone. I mean, I’m an entertainer, so I basically joined the circus for a living!
It’s funny you say that because ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ was my favorite song from your Four the Record album. And again, it’s one of those things where the song never came out and was preachy about diversity and acceptance, but it was so obvious and there were just these strong vibes throughout the whole song.
Yeah, I mean the song literally talks about a crossdressing congressman! How could that not make you happy? Recording ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ actually felt pretty badass, and I thought it was such a cool way to touch on these issues through music. I try to use my songs to say that I love all of y’all…unless you’re an asshole (Laughs)!
Where do you think the country genre will go from here? Obviously, in the last few years, it’s rapidly starting to become more accepting. There are even a few prominent openly-LGBTQ country singers now. But I think there’s still some work to be done. Where do you see the genre heading?
Thankfully we have a lot of artists now who are talking about being inclusive. People like T.J. Osborne, who I’m just so proud of for being his true self. And, you know, my personal belief is that it shouldn’t even be an issue. My goal would be for there to come a day when being LGBTQ doesn’t matter, and that nobody would judge you for it. Let people just be who they are, right? But yeah, I actually think country music has really started heading in a good direction, and I’d be thrilled to be part of that change.
Ok, now it’s time for a few fun questions that I’ve been dying to ask you.
Are there any songs from your earlier albums that you still love to perform live to this day?
You know, it’s interesting, I go through phases. Sometimes I go through a stretch where I love performing a song, but then sometimes I get sick of it and won’t perform it for a while. A good example of that is ‘Only Prettier’. I left it out of my shows for like six years, but now I just brought it back and I’m having a total blast with it!
Is there any song from your entire career that never became a big hit or anything, but that has always been very close to you?
From my very first record, there’s ‘Love is Lookin’ for You’. I wrote that song by myself when I was about 18. It’s one of those songs that’s always just been really special to me. Sometimes I still put it in a show just for fun.
Who are some of the musicians that you’ve always looked up to and that have impacted your music?
Oh, gosh, there’s so many. I grew up listening to a lot of singer/songwriters, like Guy Clark. My dad is a singer and songwriter as well, so he was a huge influence on me too. But I was also heavily influenced by the women of country music, like Loretta, Dolly, Reba, and Patsy. When I was a kid, they were who I looked up to and dreamed of being.
Where can fans expect to see you next?
I’m actually heading to a soundcheck right now! I have shows booked all throughout the year, and I hope they’ll all be able to happen. And in 2022 I have my next album coming out. So yeah, you can expect to see some new music coming…and I also have a few surprises up my sleeve that I’m not allowed to talk about yet!