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Melissa Viviane Jefferson (born April 27, 1988), known professionally as Lizzo, is an American singer, rapper, and actress.[5] Born in Detroit, Michigan, she later moved to Houston, Texas, where she began performing music locally. Before signing with Atlantic Records, she released two studio albums—Lizzobangers in 2013 and Big Grrrl Small World in 2015. In 2014, Time named her one of 14 music artists to watch.[7] Her first major-label EP, Coconut Oil, was released in 2016.[4]

Lizzo
Lizzo 2019 MTV.png
Lizzo during an interview in May 2019
Born
Melissa Viviane Jefferson[1]

(1988-04-27) April 27, 1988 (age 31)[2]
Occupation
  • Singer
  • rapper
  • actress
Years active2010–present
Home townHouston, Texas
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • flute
Labels
Websitelizzomusic.com

In 2019, she attracted mainstream success with the release of her third studio album, Cuz I Love You, which debuted at number six on the Billboard 200.[8] The album spawned two singles—"Juice" and "Tempo" —while the deluxe version of the album included her 2017 single, "Truth Hurts", which became a viral sleeper hit.[9] reaching the top five of the Billboard Hot 100.[10]

Aside from singing and rapping, Lizzo is also an actress, appearing in the movie Hustlers and as a voice over in Ugly Dolls, and well known for her ability to play the flute.[11]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Lizzo was born in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 10 her family relocated to Houston, Texas.[12] She began her career in rapping while living in Texas.[13] Lizzo started rapping as a teenager in a southwest part of Houston known as Alief. At the age of 14 she formed a group called Cornrow Clique with her best friends.[14] She studied classical music studies focusing in flute studies at the University of Houston.[15] She moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2011.[16]

CareerEdit

2010–2015: Early workEdit

While living in Minneapolis, Lizzo performed with indie groups including the electro soul-pop duo, Lizzo & the Larva Ink.[17] During this time she helped form three-piece all-female rap/R&B group, The Chalice. In 2012, The Chalice released their first album, We Are the Chalice, which was locally successful.[18][19]

Lizzo's hip-hop-focused debut album, Lizzobangers, produced by Lazerbeak and Ryan Olson, was released on October 15, 2013 to critical acclaim.[20][21][22] Killian Fox of The Guardian gave the album 4 stars out of 5, saying: "At times joyfully nonsensical, Lizzo's stream-of-consciousness rhymes can also be lethally pointed."[23] The album topped Star Tribune's "Twin Cities Critics Tally 2013" list.[24] Music videos were created for the songs "Batches & Cookies",[25] "Faded",[26] "Bus Passes and Happy Meals",[27] and "Paris".[28]

Lizzo toured the US and UK in the fall of 2013 opening for Har Mar Superstar, and additionally sang with his band.[29][30] In October 2013, Lizzo won City Pages' "Picked to Click" award for best new Twin Cities artist.[31] The following month Time named her one of 14 music artists to watch in 2014.[32] The album was subsequently re-released through Virgin Records.[33] Later that year, Lizzo shared the stage with St. Paul and The Broken Bones, performing "A Change Is Gonna Come" together.[34]

Following the release of her first album, Lizzo immediately began working on new music.[23] In 2014, she participated in StyleLikeU's What's Underneath project, where she removed her clothes as she talked about her relationships with her body.[35] Inspired by the experience, she wrote "My Skin",[35] which she described as "the thesis statement" of her forthcoming second album.[36] In an interview with Vice, regarding body image, she said:

You can wake up and change many things about your appearance, but the inevitability of waking up in your skin is what unifies us.[35]

In September 2014, Lizzo was featured alongside her Chalice bandmates Sophia Eris and Claire de Lune on the song "BoyTrouble" on Prince and 3rdEyeGirl's album Plectrumelectrum.[37] On working with Prince, Lizzo says the experience was "surreal... almost like a fairytale" and that it was "something I will never actually get over".[38] On October 7, 2014, Lizzo appeared as the musical guest on the Late Show with David Letterman.[39]

Lizzo's second studio album, Big Grrrl Small World, was released to general critical acclaim on December 11, 2015.[40] Spin placed the album at number 17 on the "50 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2015" list.[41] Hilary Saunders of Paste praised Lizzo's "ability to rap and sing with equal tenacity."[42] Her collaboration with Your Smith (then Caroline Smith), "Let 'Em Say", was featured in the season three premiere of Broad City.[43]

2016–present: Commercial breakthroughEdit

 
Lizzo with fans at Treefort Music Fest in 2017

After signing with Atlantic Records in 2016, Lizzo released her first major-label extended play, Coconut Oil, on October 7, 2016.[44] "Good As Hell" was released as the lead single from the Coconut Oil on May 11, 2016 as part of the soundtrack for the 2016 film Barbershop: The Next Cut.[45] Lizzo co-wrote each song on the album, while enlisting Ricky Reed, Christian Rich, Dubbel Dutch, and Jesse Shatkin for the album's production. The result was a departure from Lizzo's previous alternative hip hop releases. Lyrically, the extended play explores themes of body positivity, self-love, and the journey to those ideals.[46]

Coconut Oil received positive reviews from music critics. Syra Aburto, writing for Nylon, wrote that "like the product it's named after, [Lizzo's] latest project, Coconut Oil, is essential for healthy living."[47] Rolling Stone placed it at number 14 on its list of the "20 Best Pop Albums of 2016".[48] Commercially, Coconut Oil peaked at number 44 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, making it Lizzo's first release to chart. To promote the extended play, Lizzo embarked on the Good as Hell Tour in 2017.[49] That year, Lizzo also appeared as a guest judge on the tenth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.[50] In early 2018, Lizzo toured both with Haim and Florence and the Machine.[51]

 
Lizzo performing in 2018

After struggling with body issues at an early age, Lizzo became an advocate for body positivity and self-love as she attracted more mainstream attention,[52] while making diversity the focus of her music, in regards to one's body sexuality, race, and more.[51] Her group of back-up dancers, the Big Grrrls, consists of all plus-size dancers.[53] Highlighting body inclusivity and celebrating individuality, Lizzo appeared in ModCloth's "Say It Louder" campaign, which launched on June 11, 2018.[54][55] In the same month, she sported the first plus-size outfit made for FIT's Future of Fashion runway show by Grace Insogna at a Pride Island LGBTQ event.[56] Lizzo was profiled in the June 2018 Teen Vogue Music Issue.[57]

Her lead single from her forthcoming third studio album, "Juice", was released on January 4, 2019, by Atlantic Records.[58] The next month, she announced the title of the album, Cuz I Love You, which was eventually released on April 19, 2019.[59] This album marked a turning point in her career, as she began to attract more mainstream attention; Cuz I Love You debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 and remained inside the top 10 for several weeks.[8] That month, she performed at the Coachella Music Festival for the first time.[60]

After being featured in the 2019 Netflix film Someone Great,[4] Lizzo's 2017 single, "Truth Hurts", began to gain popularity and was added to the deluxe version of Cuz I Love You. The single became a viral sleeper hit,[9] reaching the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 chart two years after its initial release,[61] and, in turn, increasing interest for Cuz I Love You, which remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for several weeks.[62] "Truth Hurts" has since peaked at number four on the Hot 100.[63] The music video for the song, in which Lizzo "marries herself",[64] has amassed more than 70 million views on YouTube.[65]

Lizzo is also well known for her ability to play the flute.[11] She began playing as a child, and has continued to improve her flute playing skills into adulthood.[66] She has performed with the flute in several of her musical performances, including when she performed "Truth Hurts" at the 2019 BET Awards.[67] Her performance at the BET Awards earned her a standing ovation from the crowd, which included fellow singer Rihanna.[68]

Throughout the summer of 2019, Lizzo performed frequently, including on the West Holts stage at the Glastonbury Festival,[69][70] and as a headliner at the Indianapolis and Sacramento pride festivals.[71][72]

In 2019, Lizzo also ventured into acting, with a voice performance in the animated film UglyDolls; she is also slated to star in the crime comedy-drama film Hustlers.[73][74]

On July 23, 2019, Lizzo was nominated for Push Artist of the Year and Best New Artist at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards.[75]

Personal lifeEdit

When asked about her gender and sexuality, Lizzo revealed her lack of commitment to identities, explaining that she prefers not to use "labels".[76]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Show Nominee/work Category Result Ref(s)
2019 BET Awards Herself Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
2019 Teen Choice Awards Herself Choice Breakout Artist Nominated [77]
Choice Summer Female Artist Nominated
"Truth Hurts" Choice Summer Song Nominated
2019 MTV Video Music Awards Herself Best New Artist Pending [78]
Push Artist of the Year Pending
"Tempo" Best Power Anthem Pending
"Truth Hurts" Song of the Summer Pending

DiscographyEdit

FilmographyEdit

Film
Year Title Role Notes
2019 UglyDolls Lydia Voice role
2019 Hustlers Liz Post-production
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2016 Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio Herself 4 episodes
2016 Wonderland Host 10 episodes
2018 Yeti! Yeti! Magic Mushroom
Guest appearances as herself
Year Title Notes
2014 Made in Chelsea: NYC Season 1, episode 4
2014 Late Show with David Letterman Season 22, episode 29
2015 Access Hollywood
2015 The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Season 1, episode 56
2016 Sooo Many White Guys 1 episode; podcast
2016 The Real 1 episode
2016 Party Legends "Make Mistakes"
2016 Full Frontal with Samantha Bee "Post-Election"
2017, 2018 Trivial Takedown 2 episodes
2018 Articulate with Jim Cotter "Caroline Shaw, Lizzo, Robert Janz"
2018 Hannibal Buress: Handsome Rambler "The Lizzo Episode"
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10, episode 10
2019 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 1 episode
2019 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 1 episode
2019 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah April 2019
2019 2 Dope Queens 1 episode; podcast
2019 C à vous 1 episode
2019 Neo Magazin Royale 1 episode
2019 The Jonathan Ross Show 1 episode

Concert toursEdit

Headlining

  • Good as Hell Tour (2017)[79]
  • Cuz I Love You Tour (2019)[80]
  • Cuz I Love You Too Tour (2019)[81]

Supporting

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit