Lizzo: Soundtrack To My Life
The supremely gifted talent known as Lizzo has been name-dropped as an “Artist to Watch” ever since her debut album, Lizzobangers, first saw the light of day back in 2013.
She’s been carefully nurturing her career ever since, supporting CHVRCHS on tour and working alongside Clean Bandit, Bastille and Prince. In 2015, Lizzo took things a step further with her critically acclaimed follow-up, Big GRRRL Small World. Bold and brassy one minute and devastatingly sincere the next, Lizzo is an artist that defies easy categorization. Among other skills, she’s a gifted rapper, a hair-raising gospel singer, a razor-sharp wordsmith, a classically trained flautist and a passionate advocate for feminism and black empowerment.
All of this is evident on Big GRRRL Small World, an album that ranges from quieter moments featuring gospel organ progressions, to astronomical blips and blops and even throttling, bass-driven, rap throw downs. Most recently, Lizzo – who also co-hosts the new MTV music series Wonderland – put out her Coconut Oil EP, a characteristically genre-bending and rewarding record that has us eager to hear what’s next.
We sat down with Lizzo and talked about the songs that have soundtracked her life.
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Best new song you recently discovered?
“Subway Art” by Tish Hyman. She was just a guest on my MTV show Wonderland and we freestyled together. She’s the truth.
Favorite song to listen to in the car?
“X (feat. Future)” by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin. Also goes in the strip club FYI. Metro Boomin might be my favorite producer right now.
A song you like to sing in the shower?
“Flaws and All” by Beyoncé. I’ve been using this as my warmup song since I started singing. I also covered it once for a live show. It’s my top 5 favorite Beyoncé song.
Best song you’ve ever experienced live?
“Untitled (How Does It Feel)” by D’Angelo. It was the first time he’d done it in years and I was in the front press pit all by myself. It was a spiritual experience.
A song that inspired you?
“Subterranean Homesick Alien” by Radiohead. The chord progressions in that song still give me chills. Also I just love songs about space.
Favorite song that you’ve written?
“Humanize.” I wrote that song in Philly during the Sleater-Kinney tour. I wrote it in on my laptop and sang it to my photobooth and sent it to BJ Burton. Then he and I composed it together.
A song you wish you had written or performed on?
“Pretty Girl Rock” by Keri Hilson. Guilty! I just love that piano riff! And the nursery rhyme in the beginning is kind of timeless.
First song that you learned to play?
“Flight of the Bumblebee” on flute. It’s a right of passage for every young flautist. Now I’ll never forget it.
Best song to listen to while on tour?
“Hold On We’re Going Home” by Drake. It seems like every time we go on tour a Drake album drops.
A song that represents your childhood?
“Rhapsody in Blue” by Gershwin. That was my introduction to jazz! Something about that clarinet glissando in the beginning gets me every time.
A song that represents you as a teenager?
“Stellar” by incubus. Incubus was the extent of my teenaged angst. Which wasn’t that bad compared to most.
The first song you kissed to?
“Lollipop” by Lil Wayne. I’m a ratchet ho.
Best song for when you’re head over heels in love?
“Happy Face” by Destiny’s Child. Because I love myself! And when I feel alone or sad I sing it to myself and remember my happy face!
Best song for a broken heart?
“Woods” by Bon Iver. No one sings heartbreak like my boy J.V. This song epitomizes loneliness.
A song that always brings a tear to your eye?
“Daddy” by Beyoncé. I’m a tried and true daddy’s girl. And even when he was alive this song made me cry.
Best song for going out on the town?
“Pour It Up” by Rihanna. Never fails. First female pop star to make a song about strippers?? Somebody fact check me!
A song you’re embarrassed for loving?
“The Two of Us” by *NSYNC. But I’m not embarrassed! Max Martin is a genius!
The song you’ve probably heard more times than any other.
“Airbag” by Radiohead. Mostly because it is the first song on OK Computer, which I listened to a million times. It was also my ringtone and my Myspace song.
The song of yours that will live on the longest?
I haven’t written it yet! I’m a chef, let me cook!
The song that means the most to you?
My song “1 Deep.” It was the first time I addressed my depression episode on a song. And if you listen to the end, I’m reading very personal letters I’ve written.
The song that best describes your life?
“Coconut Oil.” It’s got gospel organ, rapping, dirty guitar, my flute, and my family all in one.
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