The Break Presents: Lizzo
If you're having a bad day, leave it to Lizzo to put a smile on your face with her witty rhymes and breezy vocals. The artist, who both raps and sings, has been steadily making a name for herself in the music industry over the last three years. The Atlantic Records signee (she's an artist on the label's imprint Nice Life Recording Company, led by producer Ricky Reed) debuted her first album, Lizzobangers, in 2013, and made some noise with her first single, “Batches and Cookies” featuring Sophia Eris.
Two years later, she dropped, Big Grrrl Small World, a 12-track collection of bold lyrics and funky vibes. But this was only a start to the accomplishments to follow. With her song “Good as Hell” debuting in the movie Barbershop: The Next Cut, Lizzo proved her skills as not only a vocalist but a songwriter with spunk.
Lizzo continues to showcase what she has to offer -- even outside of the music. She co-hosted the MTV 2016 Video Music Awards pre-show along with Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Khaled in August. And she hasn't stopped there. The 28-year-old has more work to do with MTV, as she serves as the host of Wonderland, a live music series similar to the network's past offerings. “TRL, Spring Break, any music festival or block party you’ve ever been to,” Lizzo says.
Recently, she dropped the EP, Coconut Oil, her first Atlantic Records release. The six tracks cover topics of body positivity, love ("I thought I needed to run and find somebody to love, but all I needed was some coconut oil”) and a rough night at the club.
If her busy year has you excited for more, keep reading as Lizzo talks more about the artists that have inspired her diverse sound and her goals in hip-hop. -- Jacqueline Roberts-Kpan
Hometown: Detroit-born, Houston-bred, Minneapolis-based
I grew up listening to: “Well, in the first half of my life, a lot of gospel because I was raised in the ch-o-i-ch, with an o and an i. So I listened to the Winans [CeCe Winans, BeBe Winans] a lot, The Clark Sisters, Fred Hammond and just a lot of whatever my parents said was cool.
"When I got older and moved to Houston, I started listening to a lot of rap. I love Lil’ Flip, he was one of my favorites. Crime Mob and Missy Elliott, obviously was a big, big influence. I listened to a ton of freestyling, the whole SUC Clique like Zero and Trae Tha Truth.
"Of course I found the alternative music through my sister. She introduced me to Radiohead and The Mars Volta, just really weird shit. The good shit, diverse shit. I’m classically trained, so I listened to a lot of classical music. I never really listened to jazz because a lot of the hip-hop heads listen to jazz. I’m more nerdy and I always listened to the classical music more.
"Some of my favorite stuff is what Future is doing. It just feels like he is spur of the moment, and Kanye how emotional he can get sometimes and just let loose. So things like that, things that are very raw and natural, that’s what I’ve been putting in my music lately and that’s also why I’ve been singing more because it’s just been coming out.”
Most people don’t know: “People don’t know that I am a classically trained flute player, let’s just keep ramming that one into the ground until I am performing live at Carnegie [Hall]. I can speak a little Spanish. They know I can eat, but they might not’ve known that I can cook. Follow me on Snapchat for all of my home recipes.”
My style has been compared to: “I’ve been compared a lot to Missy Elliott and that is an honor because she’s one of my major influences. I would say my style is good music, I make feel-good music even when I’m not trying to. It’s a mixture of soul, my gospel roots and it has that hip-hop attitude. It’s me refined, a polished me.”
Standout moment to date: “I feel like doing Letterman in his final year was pretty historic and it’s something I will never forget.”
Standout record to date: “A big one is 'Batches and Cookies,' featuring Sophia Eris because people really like that one. Some other big ones are 'Humanize,' 'Good as Hell' and then 'Ain’t I,' which we did on Colbert.”
My goal in hip-hop is to: “I just want to be a successful artist. I want to continue to make music and I want to have the privilege to be able to change and evolve. But success to me is truly defined by how much I can take care of my family, so I’m getting pretty successful. I’m also a very insatiable workaholic, you never know where it’s going to go. I want to make a lot of art.”
I’m going to be the next: “Artist you can’t get out of your head.”
Standout: "Good as Hell"
Big Grrrl Small World
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