Lizzo (real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson)
April 27, 1988 in Detroit, Michigan, USA
Los Angeles, California, USA
2010 – present
approximately $3 million
With an electrifying stage persona, a voice straddling soul, hip-hop, rock, R&B and gospel, along with a string of undeniably infectious tunes to her name, the American singer and rapper Lizzo has been making headlines. Her anthemic feel-good funk number “Juice” was one of the biggest summer hits of 2019, and the classically trained flutist’s signature brand of twerking while playing the flute has brought down the house everywhere from the Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Jonathan Ross Show to Coachella and Glastonbury. Her flute – named Sasha Flute after Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce album — even has its own Instagram account, and Lizzo has been winning over social media in spades with her larger than life personality, humor and a healthy dose of self-love. The flute also spawned a brilliant “Juice” Anchorman parody flute scene.
Lizzo’s way to mainstream stardom did not come overnight. Born in Detroit, she grew up in Houston, Texas playing the flute in her junior high marching band, while simultaneously dabbling with rap in various girl groups. Following a move to Minnesota in 2011, Lizzo started pursuing a music career in earnest, forming various bands locally – including the raucous girl group GRRRL PRTY – and working on her music. Twitter at the time proving to be an important facilitator between up and coming talent and established names, Lizzo famously tweeted fellow Minnesota-resident Lazerbeak looking for a collab. He responded that he would do it for a box of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. The result was her 2013 debut solo album Lizzobangers, which was followed by Big Grrrl Small World in 2015, along with a busy gig schedule (including being invited to play at Prince’s Paisley Park together with her GRRRL PRTY crew).
Her first major-label EP, Coconut Oil – produced by Ricky Reed (of Kesha, Pitbull and Fifth Harmony fame) – was released in 2016 on Atlantic Records to much acclaim. The smash-hit “Good As Hell” from the album made it onto the soundtrack of Barbershop: The Next Cut racking up millions of Spotify streams and YouTube views, and it was also featured in an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Following tours with Haim and Florence + the Machine in 2018, Lizzo released her third studio album, Cuz I Love You (containing the smash-hit “Juice,” its video a retro mash-up of an 80s-style workout tape, infomercials and a late-night talk show) along with Truth Hurts in 2019. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 and cemented Lizzo as a household name.
In 2019 Lizzo also added acting to her repertoire, lending her voice to the animated film UglyDolls and also featuring in the highly-anticipated film Hustlers, starring Jennifer Lopez and fellow rapper Cardi B. She also released a club track with Missy Elliott called “Tempo.”
Label: Totally Gross National Product, Virgin
Big Grrrl Small World (2015)
Cuz I Love You (2019)
Label: Nice Life, Atlantic