LB: Did you just call me Lizzy Lamb?
CB: Yeah, because they probably don’t know who Elizabeth Baxter is.
LB: It just sounds really weird when you say it, I never hear you reference me like that. I suddenly feel naked.
CB: Please don’t talk about being naked on my show. Anyway, this is Lizzy Lamb, my beautiful cousin who has graciously accepted my invitation to be on the podcast today! Lizzy’s given me carte blanche to ask her anything, so please don’t get angry with me if I ask her something you think is rude-
LB: Yeah! She’s a baby, don’t be mean to her or I’ll kick your ass.
CB: I appreciate that you guys are protective of her, but I promise that I love her more than you do, ok? So just sit tight.
LB: This girl puts up with me drinking all the spiked fruit punch at family Christmas parties then playing Bonnie Tyler songs on the piano for the rest of the night. Don’t be mean to her.
CB: She’s not joking, I-
LB: When we were kids, Alaska convinced her to eat cat food.
LB: What? She did. I’m just saying you’ve already taken a beating here, so you deserve to roast me a little bit.
CB: Well if I weren’t going to before… The point is, I’m family so I get to say things you don’t. Plus her publicist isn’t here to aggressively make that “shut the hell up” gesture.
LB: [laughs] She’s going to hear you making fun of her, my texts are about to blow up- oh! I should turn my phone off. That’s unprofessional as fuck, Jesus.
CB: Wait, is your text tone still- why don’t you tell everyone what your text tone is?
LB: It’s uh, Bianca Del Rio saying “Not today, Satan!” [laughs] And I’m not ashamed of that, fuck you.
CB: Ok, so we’re gonna start off with something I saw on Twitter-
LB: Oh god-
CB: Someone tweeted this to you- I thought it was pretty funny when I saw it, and they said, “Do you feel like you’re the Leonardo DiCaprio of the Grammy awards?”
LB: Um, okay first of all, I love Leo so I’m not sure if that was supposed to be a compliment or an insult, I know that’s kind of a meme right now so I’m not sure what they’re trying to get at here-
CB: I think it was kind of a dig, personally.
LB: Well the thing is, Leo’s been up for an Oscar what, four or five times? He just got it, I don’t know how many but if I had to venture a guess that’s how many I’d say it was. I’ve been up for 13 Grammys now and still no win. Now, to be fair, I get nominated in multiple categories a year- not that I’m winning any of them- but Leo only gets that one big nomination a year, because feature films are critiqued differently than albums and songs.
LB: I’ve never really cared about the awards. If they hand me one I’m not gonna spit on the ground and tell them to shove it up their asses or anything, but I don’t go home crying when I don’t get one either. I know my fans love me and my work and that’s all I ever set out to do, so the awards are secondary. Almost superfluous. So the long and short of it is, I think Leo never really gave a fuck about the Oscars anyway-
CB: Do you really think so?
LB: Yeah! I mean despite the memes and the jokes, he was rolling in cash, he got to fuck models all the time, he got to dance at Coachella, he has Jennifer Lopez’s phone number- what the fuck does he care?
CB: Would you fuck him?
LB: Watch your mouth!
CB: Oh, you can say it but I can’t?
LB: As soon as you’re of legal voting and gambling age, I’ll let you say an eternity’s worth of fucks. Just kidding, I don’t give a fuck. Much like I could give two fucks ‘bout where the Grammy’s go.
LB: Throw another question at me before I sing the rest of it.
CB: What are your favorite and least favorite things about what you do?
LB: Oh god, I’m about to go into a rant. Prepare yourself.
CB: Here it comes.
LB: The thing I love most about my job is that people can hear the songs that I write and connect to them, and it kind of helps them through these dark places in their lives- I don’t give a fuck how cheesy people think some of my songs are, all of them have connected with one person or another and made things a little brighter, and that’s just a really cool thing to get to experience. I get a kind of self satisfied feeling when people relate to my music because it means I’m conveying it properly, but it’s also just really gratifying to put a smile on someone’s face when they need it. As for the worst part…
CB: This is the rant, right?
LB: Yep. The thing I hate most about this industry is that people, women specifically, are supposed to never trip up, never make mistakes- people can find something I said about someone in MySpace in 2004, and they’ll plaster that everywhere and say it proves that I’m not a good person, that I’m unkind or that I’m a bitch or that I don’t care about people. If you just did that to a random person you know- everyone would be like, who cares? She said that shit a decade ago. She’s a whole different person now. But celebrities are expected to be just totally put together and polished from the moment they entire the ring, and that’s just impossible. It’s an impossible standard. And I think it’s important to teach kids that sometimes you fuck up, but you can apologize and move on and be better- not teach them that no one ever fucks up, not ever, and to do so would be disastrous.
CB: And you’ve been very open about some apologies in your career.
LB: Right. I’ve said and done things I’m not proud of, genuinely apologized, tried to make amends and didn’t make those mistakes again. Everyone in this industry has done something they regretted, I promise you that- just because you don’t know about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. You don’t have to be proud of your mistakes but you also shouldn’t feel like a leper for them. And that only goes for women in this industry- it’s always only women in this industry. Sean Penn- I won’t go into that because it isn’t my business, but I just think it’s a very gendered issue. Or even maybe just white guys- white guys can’t really do any wrong in this space. Anything can be swept under the rug. The rest of us, you know, we’re not so lucky.
CB: And as a loved one, I can say that can be extremely frustrating. You have to learn really quickly that you can’t listen to the shit people say- cause it’s like, I used to want to swarm these blogs and defend you and tear these people apart, because I know you and know how big your heart is, and it’s like- you’re just believing everything you hear! And it’s hard to realize that you can’t- that defending the person doesn’t do anything but add fuel to the fire.
LB: Right. People who want to hate me- they have their reasons, and they’re not going to change their minds. There’s a safety in Internet haters because they have anonymity- they can say whatever they want, and sometimes it feels good to have someone to shit on. But it doesn’t get to me- the hate, anyway- I just wish there wasn’t a double standard. But Hollywood is very gendered, even in ways you wouldn’t expect.
CB: Okay, let’s talk about songwriting for a minute. There are a few songs on Teenage Dream that most fans assume are about your ex-husband, can you confirm that?
LB: Yeah, I can say definitively that a handful of the songs on Teenage Dream were fueled by that relationship.
CB: Do you care to share a story about one of the specific songs? I know you’re generally very open about your life but I think your divorce seems to be a sort of open wound for you.
LB: Um, my favorite is probably “Pearl”- it reminds me a lot of that monologue Cristina Yang gives about how Burke shaved away parts of her to make her fit him until she didn’t have a lot left. It was kind of like that. I felt very trapped, I felt like all the energy I had was really just being depleted. You get into a relationship where you want nothing more than to make it work and you’ll just keep chopping off limbs to try to fit the mold he wants. But then at some point, at least for me, it’s like- you remember suddenly that you can’t live for another person. You can’t live and die by what another person thinks of you, it’s too painful. So you get off your ass and you love yourself again. You become your own superhero. And I’m very- I’m very cliche about that kind of thing, I’m very Pinterest- but it’s true, and I’m not ashamed of that.
CB: Speaking of superheroes, do you consider yourself the hero or villain of the story?
LB: My own story, I’m definitely the hero- for me, I mean from my perspective and knowing everything I know about myself and what I’ve been through- how I bounced back after my mom died, especially- I’m the hero. For a lot of people, I’m the villain- and that’s fine. Seriously, I don’t mind playing the villain- I said that a little bit ago, I think. If I motivate people to do their best, I don’t care how I do it. If you don’t like me, do it better than me. Then come into my Instagram comments to talk shit. Then I’ll listen. Until then, I don’t care.
CB: This question is a lot less polarizing but still a pretty fun one for you- what’s the story behind your stage name?
LB: You’re asking this because you know the story behind my stage name, right?
LB: Okay, so what Cassie is trying to get at here- and this dates me a little bit, so you youngsters might not remember this- but back in the early 2000’s when I was trying to reach a bigger audience, I used MySpace to do that- cause it was really popular at the time, I think some other artists you know today really got their start there, too- but it was very cool back then for girls to call themselves alliterative names, like Dana Dinosaur, Maria Monster-
CB: Cassie Cupcake-
LB: Yeah! Food was actually a big one. Anyway, so because I was a conformist, I made my stage name Lizzy Lamb- it was very in at the time, the whole alliteration thing, so it helped me get attention from people who might not have noticed me as Elizabeth Baxter, which is just a really serious sounding name.
CB: Cupcakes with Cassie is kind of an homage to that. I tried to kind of take the thing that made your persona what it was and make it my own, kind of make it a little more new age because I’m not a MySpace scene queen, you know.
LB: Lizzy is totally a MySpace scene queen at heart, I think. Lizzy Lamb kind of became a creature within herself- she’s kind of a character, definitely, She just sounds like a girl who would call herself Lizzy Lamb- she likes big puffy pastel dresses and pink and things that look like cotton candy and rainbow wigs and scented lip gloss. That’s Lizzy Lamb. But I also kind of did this thing with Roar-
CB: Which was on Prism-
LB: Yep, which was on Prism- there’s this line that says um, “louder than a lion,” that’s in the chorus. And that was kind of my nod that the whole song is telling you that I’m not really in that Lamb era of my life any more. I’m still Lizzy Lamb in name, but I don’t really see Lizzy as a lamb any more- she’s kind of grown up and started to be a badass.
CB: That’s really cheesy.
LB: I know! I’m cheesy. My life is cheese.
CB: Do you find that a lot of people are surprised to find that your on stage persona can sometimes be quite different from your real life persona?
LB: Yes! Definitely. I think a lot of people think artists in my field are always kind of being themselves on stage. And Lizzy Lamb is me, but she’s a very focused- like, a very intense side of me. Lizzy feels everything really intensely, and Elizabeth kind of just wants to sit at home, drink whiskey and hang out wth her dog- and Lizzy, you know she’s wearing those rainbow wigs all night. Lizzy is still crying over her exes. Lizzy wants to party every night. I think a lot of people underestimate my intelligence because the pop music side of me is so concentrated that they almost get blinded by it, and they think that that’s just how I live. I am very cheesy-
CB: She is, guys. She is very cheesy.
LB: But there are a lot of sides to me and people expect me to be pretty one dimensional. I don’t wear those fucking false eyelashes every day. They’re a pain in the ass. I think that speaks to gendered expectations in media as well, that I’m kind of seen as a bimbo because of the things I like- but before Cassie murders me, I won’t get into that.
CB: She’s saying that cause I just started pointing at my watch. I hate to cut this short guys, but we have to go-
LB: We’re going to go eat some cheese-
CB: -Other than with a dairy product, how would you describe yourself in five words, Lizzy?
LB: Blonde Jane Lane…… loves flannel.
CB: Truer words have never been spoken. See you next week, when I try to get Lizzy to talk more about cheeses!
LB: Oh, I could go on all day. Cheese fries, fried cheese, nachos… [fade out music]