Mendocino County–native Michelle Lambert pulls from many talents and influences when she makes her genre-bending music.
“I have a lot going on in my mind, so I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager,” Lambert says.
The multi-instrumentalist first picked up the violin, then played keys and drums and performed all over Northern California as a teenager before studying vocals at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston. When she graduated in 2011, she promptly moved to Nashville, met her now-longtime-guitarist Robbie and took a four year–deep dive on being a singer-songwriter.
“It was a great spot to find myself as an artist and to get tons of experience and hone my skills,” Lambert says. “I put my background to use—I have classical influence, some Celtic in there and the pop music that I’ve loved since I was a kid.”
After several years of living away from her home state, Lambert wrote a song in 2017, “My California,” that immediately went viral on the West Coast and propelled her and Robbie to move to the Bay Area.
Since then, Lambert has performed steadily, and while she regularly plays all over California, she says the North Bay feels like her home.
“When I get up there it looks like home and I really dig the people up there,” she says.
This weekend, Lambert is in Santa Rosa to perform at Steele & Hops on Saturday, Nov. 30, as part of a launch party for the brewery’s latest releases.
Musically, Lambert has her own release on the way, debuting her new single “Girl of Fire” in January of 2020. The single marks her first new music released in two years, and is a thematic sequel to her 2015 single, “I’m Just a Girl.”
“It’s me going from being that girl trying to jump into the music scene, to having the courage to do it and going for it,” she says. “It’s got a raw personal side, and then it’s got classical violin hooks.”
That juxtaposition from raw, emotional singer-songwriter to classical musician is one that Lambert relishes in her genre-crossing pop music.
“It’s cool to get out of the box,” she says. “I feel like with music especially, you have the power to reach different kinds of people and it’s exciting to take something and do it a little differently.”
Michelle Lambert plays on Saturday, Nov. 30, at Steele & Hops, 1901 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 7pm. Free admission. michellelambert.com.