Lizzo

  • R&B, soul and rap singer and songwriter born Melissa Jefferson in 1988 in Detroit Michigan.
  • Lizzo grew up listening to gospel music and taking flute lessons. Her family moved to Houston when she was 10 years old, and she began to perform rap at 14, when she formed a group with her friends called Cornrow Clique. During this time, she acquired the nickname Lizzo, and she started using it when she performed. After high school, she studied the flute in college, but she dropped out when her father died. She was devastated, and lived out of her car for a year, trying to start a career in music. In 2011, she moved to Minneapolis for a fresh start.
  • In Minnesota, she quickly connected with the local music scene. She sang for a couple of groups – Lizzo & the Larva Ink and The Chalice, establishing a local following. The Chalice released an album in 2012, and the following year, she worked with 2 Minneapolis based producers and released her own debut album, Lizzobangers. She supported the hip hop album with a tour in the U.S. and UK, and she received national acclaim for her work – Time magazine named her as an “artist to watch in 2014.”
  • In 2014, she sang on a track from an album by Prince, and also contributed to music by Clean Bandit, Bastille, and others. In October that year, she was the musical guest on The Late Show with David Letterman.
  • Her second studio album, Big Grrrl Small World, was released in late 2015. She released it on her own private record label, and it received widespread acclaim, though she still was not a commercial success. The song My Skin from the album was inspired by an interview in 2014 where she removed her clothes as she discussed her relationships with her body. The album led to a national record deal.
  • Her first major label release was an EP in 2016 titled Coconut Oil. The songs on the EP exhibit less of an emphasis on rap, and more on R&B, soul and pop. Rolling Stone placed it on their Best Pop Albums list for the year, and it charted on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, her first record to chart. It included the single Good As Hell, which was included in the soundtrack for the film Barbershop: The Next Cut. In 2017, she released a single that went nowhere, but all that would change in 2019….
  • Her Cuz I Love You album was released in April 2019. The album became her commercial breakthrough – certified platinum, it peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The first single from the album, Juice, was certified platinum as a single, reaching #27 on the R&B chart. The second single was Tempo, featuring Missy Elliott as a guest rapper – its best performance was on the Rap Digital Songs chart, where it peaked at #5.
  • Meanwhile, the phenomena of Truth Hurts began. The song initially did not chart in 2017, but after it was featured in the TikTok video sharing app and it was used in the Netflix movie Someone Great, its popularity exploded, and it became Lizzo’s anthem. The song topped the Hot 100 for 7 weeks – Lizzo became the first black solo female R&B artist to top the chart since Rihanna in 2012. The song was later included in a deluxe edition of Cuz I Love You. Even though the song was released in 2017, it was eligible for the Grammy awards in 2020. It was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and it won the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance. Her album Cuz I Love You won the Grammy award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Finally, she won her third Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance for Jerome from the album.
  • Her 2019 success continued when Good As Hell was re-released as a single after she performed it on the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. Three months later, it peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 chart. Lizzo finished a breath-taking 2019  when she performed on Saturday Night Live at the end of December – the final musical performer of the decade.
  • After years of grinding it out in the music business, Lizzo finally became a star in 2019. I’m guessing she will continue to be successful. I prefer Good As Hell over Truth Hurts – here’s the video.

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