Juicy and brassy and fabulous, Lizzo is the 2019 emblem of confidence. A curvaceous black woman with queer leanings, Lizzo has plowed her way to the top armed with her signature flute and unyielding conviction in her own worth. Inspiring people worldwide with her unapologetic aura of self-assurance, here are the many ways we can confirm Lizzo is, 100% our ultimate queen.
1. “Norma Jean Mortenson” Lacks a Certain Something
Shockingly, Lizzo isn’t her real name. The singer’s birth name is actually Melissa Viviane Jefferson, which, y’know, it’s a great name, but Lizzo just has a little more punch.
2. Start ‘Em Young
Lizzo began her music career while she was but a wee babe. The artist now known as Lizzo started rapping as a teenager while living in Alief, a large, suburban community in the south-west region of Houston, Texas.
3. Call Me Lizzo
At the age of 14, Lizzo and her friends formed a musical group called Cornow Clique. It was during her time in this band that the name “Lizzo” emerged. Apparently, “Lizzo” combined Melissa’s nick name “Lissa” and drew inspiration from Jay-Z’s single “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” Shouting out Jay-Z in your stage name would usually doom an artist to stay in the titan’s shadow, but not Queen Lizzo.
4. This One Time, At Band Camp
Lizzo’s musical prowess doesn’t come from nowhere. The singer actually studied classical music at the University of Houston, specializing in flute performance. She was also a member of the marching band, which proves that band geeks are cool, okay haters? She still plays the flute today, often whipping it out in the middle of a live performance to delight crowds with an epic flute solo.
5. An Education In and Of Herself
For your average college student, probably the only thing better than a canceled class is a visit from Lizzo. The goddess herself paid a visit to her alma mater and we are now considering applying for the program just in case she does it again.
6. What Even Is Gender?
Lizzo shared with Teen Vogue that where gender and sexuality are concerned, she doesn’t ascribe to a single given label. “When it comes to sexuality or gender, I personally don’t ascribe to just one thing. I cannot sit here right now and tell you I’m just one thing. That’s why the colors for LGBTQ+ are a rainbow! Because there’s a spectrum, and right now we try to keep it black and white. That’s just not working for me.”
7. Prince? Charming!
In 2014, Lizzo received a rare honor in the music industry. The rising star collaborated with famously flamboyant icon Prince on the song “Boy Trouble.” Written for his 2014 album “Plectrumelectrum,” the song also featured Lizzo’s former Chalicebandmates Sophia Eris and Claire de Lune. Lizzo described the experience of working with Prince as “almost like a fairy tale.”
8. Proud Papa
As Lizzo tells it, her father was extremely supportive of her music and interests. In a reading with Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry, Lizzo brought the flute her father bought her when she was young. “When I felt the flute was annoying and dorky, he thought it was cool and special,” she said.
9. She’s a Glamazon
You better werk. Lizzo was a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2018, bedazzled and glittering. In addition to judging, Lizzo’s music was featured; the bottom two queens, Kameron Michaels and Monet X Change (co-winner of season 4 of Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars) lip-synced (for their lives) to Lizzo’s certified banger, “Good as Hell.”
10. Reality Star
Having just made her film debut in the hit movie Hustlers, you might be surprised to know that Lizzo’s first acting gig was decidedly lower profile. The singer played a performer in the British reality television series Made in Chelsea in 2014. Lizzo treated the cast to a performance of Blondie’s song “Rapture” when they took a trip over the pond to visit New York City. Hey, we all start somewhere.
11. Independent Woman
Lizzo is currently signed with the record label Atlantic Records, however, she was doing quite well before they showed up, thank you very much. Lizzo’s first two studio albums, Lizzobangers (2013) and Big Grrrl Small World (2015), were released prior to her signing with Atlantic in 2016.
12. We All Matter to Lizzo
In addition to advocating for body positivity and the rights of LGBTQ+, Lizzo has spoken up more specifically for the Trans community as well as for Black Lives Matter. While performing at the Sacramento pride festival, she took time on stage to speak up for both of these groups.
13. Collaborations Galore
After moving to Minneapolis (the city of lights! dreams! fame! the Mall of America!), Lizzo got involved with a few musical groups. She formed a musical partnership as half of an electro soul-pop duo called Lizzo & the Larva Ink. She was also a member an all-woman rap/R&B group, The Chalice. Their 2012 album We Are The Chalice was very successful locally.
14. A Real Bop
Lizzo’s first album, Lizzobangers, produced by Aaron Mader (known professionally as Lazerbreak) and Ryan Olson, was recognized immediately for its originality and, well, for just being dang good music. The Guardian’s Killian Fox described the album as, “at times joyfully nonsensical” but with “lethally pointed […] stream-of-consciousness rhymes.”
15. Sorry, Can’t, I’m Busy
Barely taking a breather following the release of Lizzobangers, Lizzo immediately began working on new music, and toured as the opener for Har Mar Superstar in 2013. The tour traveled the US and the UK, and Lizzo was known to occasionally sing with the band.
16. St. Lizzo and the Broken Bones
Among her many collaborations, Lizzo took the stage with St. Paul and the Broken Bones (for those out of the know, they’re an eight-piece soul band based in Alabama). The performance featured Sam Cooke’s song “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which Lizzo, St. Paul, and the Broken Bones sang together.
17. Skin to the Wind
Lizzo has long been a strong advocate of body positivity and lovin’ your dang self, boo. She participated in StyleLikeU’s What’s Underneath Project. Lizzo spoke candidly about her relationship with her body, but she let her actions speak louder than her words. While participating in What’s Underneath, Lizzo really committed, deciding to remove her clothes. And have you seen the album cover for Cuz I Love You? Slay, mama, slay.
18. My Body, My Music
It seems the experience of doing the What’s Underneath Project really stuck with Lizzo. She credited it with inspiring her to write the tender song, “My Skin.” She even described this song as the “thesis statement” for her second album.
19. It’s All Me, Baby
Lizzo’s first major-label EP was Coconut Oil, released in October of 2016. Lizzo had her hands fully immersed in the creative process and co-wrote every song on the album.
20. Glamour Shot
When doing an interview with Glamour, Lizzo shared (sounding kind of surprised herself) that she had 680 selfies on her phone. She says her most memorable selfie was taken while shooting the music video for “Phone.” Why? Well, there was a particularly seductive bodysuit that Lizzo initially found intimidating. Naturally, Lizzo later realized she, in fact, rocked that bodysuit.
21. My Life; a Soundtrack
When creating the playlist of her life with Teen Vogue, Lizzo said Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” will be the first song she’ll dance to at her wedding. Other song-picks include Missy Elliott’s “The Rain,” Destiny’s Child’s “Lose My Breath,” and the Jurassic Park theme song by John Williams. I mean, she needed a flute moment, you guys.
22. High Score!
When playing Elle’s ‘Song Association Challenge’ (where singers have to sing a song with a random keyword within 15 seconds. It’s harder than it seems!), Lizzo scored a rare 15/15. She accepted her win by saying, “Is it even a challenge?”
23. Hostess With the Mostest
Although the show was short-lived, early in her career, Lizzo was a host on MTV’s Wonderland, a live music performance series.
24. Bravery is Overrated
Lizzo, like many confident, plus-size women in the public eye, has been described as “brave.” While that might sound like a compliment, Lizzo spoke her mind. She was not having it. The singer said to Glamour Magazine, “When people look at my body and be like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so brave,’ it’s like, ‘No, I’m not.’ I’m just fine. I’m just me. I’m just sexy.”
25. So Good Y’All Don’t Even Know
“Good as Hell,” one of Lizzo’s most popular songs, was released on the soundtrack for the 2016 film Barbershop: The Next Cut (by the by, the film is rate 90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). “Good as Hell” was also the lead single for Coconut Oil, for obvious reasons. Have I listened to “Good as Hell” at least 100 times? Maybe so. Maybe. So.
26. Big Girls, Small World
Lizzo likes her dancers with curves, if you please. Her back-up dance crew consists entirely of plus-size dance artsits, and lest there be any mistake as to whether that’s deliberate the group is called The Big Grrrls. (Presumably an homage to Lizzo’s second album).
27. Custom Made
FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) is known for its annual Future of Fashion runway. In 2018, Lizzo made fashion history by sporting the first plus-size outfit made for the event. She wore an eye-boggling rainbow bodysuit and matching sweater created by FIT graduate Grace Insogna. The outfit was appropriately worn at a Pride Island LGBTQ event.
28. Cuz WE Love You
The release of her 2019 album Cuz I Love You is largely said to be the most pivotal turning point of her career. With this record, Lizzo truly became the social and music icon she is today.
29. First Class Traveler
If you’re going to do it, do it in style. Lizzo knows this, and has been seen boarding a plane on at least one occasion wearing a fluffy, fuchsia coat and accompanied by a large monkey plushy wearing an eye-mask that reads “PRIVACY PLEASE.”
30. 100% Whatever You Wanna Be
“I just took a DNA test. Turns out, I’m 100% that [B-word].” This lyric from “Truth Hurts” became a recurring template for TikTok videos. As you probably know, the internet is a strange place. Soon enough, the Lizzo meme grew as ridiculous as marshmallow puppets discovering they were, you guessed it, 100% marshmallow. Lizzo had words: “What the [freak] is this?” Girl, same.
31. Give It Time
“Truth Hurts” was not the sudden success Lizzo thought it would be when she released the song. At the time, Lizzo felt like it was her best song to date. When it didn’t make an impact, Lizzo pondered some very dark thoughts, even wondering if she should quit the music industry. Fortunately, the song experienced a huge turn-around, even being re-released on Cuz I Love You.
32. Flutes are People Too
A flute with as rich a history as Lizzo’s deserves a title, and Lizzo knows it. She has affectionately called her instrument Sasha Flute.
33. A Queer Old Time
Lizzo, herself sex-and-gender non-conforming, is an adamant supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. She performed at both the Indianapolis and Sacramento pride festivals, and she refers to her fans with a, ahem, suggestive nickname. She calls them “Lizzbians.” Let me join your coven pls.
34. Gay for Lizzo
With the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in June 2019, Queerty compiled a list of the Pride50 “trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance, and dignity for all queer people.” Lizzo was named as one of the 50.
35. Partying in Style
Why settle for a S’Well when you could have a jewel-encrusted glamour-bottle? Lizzo attended the VMA’s with just such a jug in tow, just in case anyone was questioning her fabulousness. Referencing a lyric in her hit “Good as Hell,” Lizzo had a bottle of tequila covered in diamonds. She took a shot right before her acceptance speech.
36. Get Those Cookies
Looks like Elmo and his friends are Lizzo fans. In lieu of the “Truth Hurts” craze, Cookie Monster tweeted, “turns out me 100% cookies.” Lizzo loved this so much that she re-tweeted the post with extended lyrics for a Cookie Monster-Lizzo mash-up. Like the angel that she is, Lizzo even did a remix of “Truth Hurts” featuring Cookie Monster.
37. Desk Job
Lizzo’s Tiny Desk Concert, complete with four-piece band and a signature flute solo, gained viral attention online. The desk in question may never recover.
38. She Likes Big Butts, and She Cannot Lie
It’s a wonder Lizzo’s bedazzled VMA bottle got so much attention and wasn’t eclipsed by an even more outrageous piece of stagecraft: the giant, thong-wearing butt that she performed in front of. Yes, that’s a real thing.
39. Getting With the Hype
Whether you play the game or not, you’ve definitely seen some rendition of the infamous Fortnite dances. Well, Lizzo wins because of the time she performed the ‘Hype’ (basically a one-legged hop with fist a-pumping the air) in a green morph suit.
40. The Show Must Go On
Nothing brings a performance to a screeching halt like the music cutting out—unless you’re Lizzo. When the backtrack suddenly died during her Coachella performance, Lizzo kept right on with the show. Her dancers and DJ quickly followed her lead. “It’s my first time playing Coachella,” As she told the crowd, “so ain’t nothing gonna f—- my time up!”
41. Rest In Peace
When Lizzo was a young woman, tragedy struck. Her father died in his 50s and sadly, Lizzo was the last to find out, due to a missed phone call. However, at his service Lizzo said goodbye with a heartbreaking tribute. She played the flute and honored her father, who always encouraged her to play the instrument. (Omigod stop crying there are 30+ more facts to go).
42. House on Wheels
When Lizzo was 21 years old, she hit rock bottom. The young singer lived out of her car for a whole year as she struggled to break into the music industry. But that’s not even the worst part. Sadly, this was the same year that her beloved father had passed away.