In music there are always descriptors like singer-dancer or singer-songwriter-guitarist. But what about singer-rapper-flautist? Those are just a few of the ways people try to describe the artist, Lizzo. Born Melissa Viviane Jefferson in Detroit, she was raised in Houston where she started her musical career, before moving to Minneapolis to hone her craft.
She’s since dropped two full-length albums on smaller labels and several digital-only singles. One of these first opened my eyes to Lizzo’s bad babe vibe. “Truth Hurts” oozes self-confidence, pride, and being worthy of and accepting the best. When you need that extra boost, it’s the perfect song in which to envelope yourself.
Last week, Lizzo released her first full-length album on a major label, ‘Cuz I Love You‘ on Atlantic Records. Like a lot of her music, this album is filled with catchy, easy-to-learn lyrics steeped in positivity, self-love and acceptance. Plus, it’s a bop, an incredibly danceable song.
Honestly if you were like me and have been sleeping on Lizzo’s music, now’s the time to wake up. This album has got a lot of people talking, mainly because of the refreshing vibe of self-authenticity that she puts in her lyrics.
The first single from the album, “Juice” set the tone back in January. The song has got the recognizable 80s synth and the pop beat of the early 90s – a very Prince feel. That makes sense since Prince is from Minneapolis. And once again she displays positive self-affirming imagery with her lyrics that is universally accepting.
Lizzo’s musical influences are very much of her generation – well, really our generation.
We’re the same age – 30. And when I listen to her music style and rapping, I can immediately see little 11, 12 year-old girl Lizzo listening to Missy Elliot’s “Work It” – one of the best songs to come out of the 2000s. I can see her in my head because I was doing the exact same thing. She also gives nods to TLC, Chaka Khan and Lauren Hill in her song ‘Like A Girl.’
But what’s really great, and I pretty much lost my mind when this single came out a few weeks before the album, is that she actually gets to do a song with Missy on the album. “Tempo” is my favorite song on the album. The beat and the vibe has Missy Elliot all over it. Some great features on “Tempo” include Lizzo’s signature flute playing and Missy’s fun choice of style when it comes to her lyric delivery. This song will quite possibly be the song of the summer. You’ll hear it everywhere, so please start loving it now.
When Lizzo sings and talks about loving herself, it’s clearly not lost on her that she is leading by example, so that other people can feel empowered to do the same. But what’s interesting is the conversations she is starting. She has said in many interviews that society has decided to applaud her for just existing. She often puts forth the question, “Why should saying ‘I love myself’ be considered a brave thing to do?”
It’s interesting to hear her talk about the roles the industry and other people put onto an artist, in order to fit them neatly in a genre or in a certain niche. Her words, music and talent are special and invigorating. She has us celebrating and then leaves us with the question, “Wait…shouldn’t this just be the norm?”