If there’s anyone that’s claiming 2019 is their own, it’s Lizzo. The 30-year-old rapper, singer, songwriter, dancer, and flautist has spent the first few months of this year releasing music with Missy Elliott, powering through her debut set at Coachella no matter how many hurdles presented themselves, knocked out the first weekend of the festival sharing that stage with Tierra Whack for Janelle Monae‘s set, and is gearing up to release her next album, Cuz I Love You on April 19 – her first as part of the Atlantic Records roster.
You might recognise Lizzo from her song ‘Good As Hell‘, which has featured as a lip-sync challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and during the credits of both I Feel Pretty and Bad Moms Christmas. Her music has also featured in Broad City, Girls Trip, and Shameless, so you absolutely would have heard her without realising.
In reality, Lizzo is a force to be reckoned with; she’s an unapologetic bigger woman who defies what she’s been told her whole life and succeeds in spite of it all.
PEDESTRIAN.TV got on the phone with Lizzo bright and early to chat about existing outside beauty standards, the importance of representation, and exactly what it’s like to have Missy Elliott in your corner.
Lizzo has had an involved and intimate relationship with music her entire life. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she grew up surrounded by music with a family that loved everything from Radiohead to Queen to Björk to classic southern American gospel.
I love music. I vibrate music. I think that I was in love with it from a very young age, and I just know how to speak it, I know how to communicate it, I can understand it, I know how to listen to it, I know how to talk back to it. Me and music have conversations all the time. It’s a dance, it’s a language.
Her ability to work with music in a way that goes deeper than just the surface level is best seen through her passion and determination with her flute, Sasha Flute.
Despite being told her entire life that loving and playing an instrument like the flute was “lame”, Lizzo’s eternally flipped off those comments and has involved Sasha in every aspect of her career; from TV appearances to intricate and impressive solos both on her tracks and at live shows.
If you caught her performance at Weekend One of Coachella, you’ll know that Sasha Flute played a pivotal role in saving the day when Lizzo was faced with disruptive technical issues.
I always was told that flute was lame and you could never be cool and that if I ever wanted a successful career as a rapper I would stop playing the flute. But I didn’t listen and it’s just who I am, I embraced it, I made it fun, and now it’s here.
I still don’t understand the reason why Sasha’s so popular, but you know, I like Sasha, so I bring her ass around when I feel like it. I play her at my shows and people go crazy. And it’s something that’s a part of my identity, my entire life and you know for me to just abandon that now would be abandoning a piece of myself.
A vital part of her performance, no matter the size of the stage or the crowd, is the representation of larger women who celebrate and practice self-love; a real-life version of self-love and celebration strides more intersectional and inclusive than the representation of women that Lizzo, and a lot of us, grew up seeing on TV, in beauty magazines, and every realm of modern media.
Self-love has become this really trendy thing and I think that it’s gunna be unbelievable soon because it’s just like “love yourself” but like HOW and WHEN, you know? So I feel like as a pioneer in talking about self-love in my music and this generation, in this wave of self-love, I definitely feel a responsibility to push the conversation further.
Lizzo’s live shows are powerful, euphoric, and inspiring. She surrounds herself with dancers and performers who align with and reflect her beliefs; that life within your own skin, your shape, your body, is one to be loved unconditionally and endlessly.
Listen, I’m a big girl. I need girls around me that balance me out, and are big, and I don’t care if it’s on the Coachella stage, I don’t care if it’s on a stage down the street by the grocery store. I don’t care what stage it is. I need girls that look like me up there that are an extension of my story and are an extension of my talents.
That’s all that’s important to me. You know, I am the representation, and I need to represent this body in every way. And that means the girls that are bustin’ it down in the splits need to be big, like me.
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WE KILLED IT. BRUH LIKE WE BEEN WORKING OUR ASSES OFF FOR WEEKS FOR THIS SHOW—I’LL BE DAMNED IF A TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY IS GON STOP US! MY DANCERS @THEBIGGRRRLS KEPT GOIN EVEN WHEN THE MUSIC CUT OFF MY DJ @SOPHIAERIS DIDNT GIVE UP! MY TEAM BACKSTAGE WAS BOSSIN UP ON THEN HOES @QUINNWILSON @JEMELMCWILLIAMS @THESHELBYSWAIN @MARKO_MONROE @IWANTALEXX #TANYA @MRDEVINAIRE! WE MADE THAT STAGE OUR BITCH AND GUESS WHAT—- NEXT WEEKEND WILL BE EVEN BETTER????
And as for that track with Missy Misdemeanour Elliott? Well, despite recording separately on a track that’s in high contention for Bop Of The Year for me, Lizzo tells me that having Missy’s long-standing support is enough.
I can’t fault that. Missy Elliott openly supporting you would be enough to keep you going for as long as you damned well live.
You made this chubby, weird, black girl believe that ANYTHING was possible. And now we have a BANGER together ????— till this day you continue to inspire me to make my dreams come true. Now go fuck it up to the #TEMPO and STREAM OUR SONG!!!! ???????? Love You @MissyElliott ???? pic.twitter.com/xTMbWt3lM6
— |L I Z Z O| (@lizzo) March 20, 2019
Lizzo’s third album, Cuz I Love You is out April 19 through Atlantic Records, which you can pre-order right over HERE. She’ll be playing the Sahara Stage at Coachella this weekend, but is yet to be confirmed for the festival’s HERE. Keep an eye on that one, mates.Image: Supplied