Melissa Jefferson, better known as the indie rapper Lizzo, is renowned for being charismatic, confident and quite frankly unparalleled. She grew up in Texas before moving to Minnesota at age 23 where her music career really took off. She made a name for herself as the founding member of Lizzo & The Larva Ink, The Chalice, Grrrl Prty, The Clerb, Ellypseas, and Absynthe.
She grew up with a focus only on classical and gospel music, playing the flute and studying music theory right up until she went to college. However, her introduction to hip hop and indie rock opened her eyes to how diverse her music could be, and by moving to Minnesota she learnt the art of blending the genres which were originally pulling her in different directions. Thus came the self-proclaimed “weird” sound of Lizzo.
She released her debut solo album Lizzobangers in late 2013, which was produced by Doomtree’s Lazerbeak and Marijuana Deathsquads’s Ryan Olson who have separately worked with the likes of Mike Mictlan, Dessa and Poliça. Drowned In Sound rated it 8/10, remarking on “The richness of her voice (Midwestern-by-way-of Texan) fluctuating in cadence and rhythm, to produce cartoonish vocal caricatures, while never forsaking clarity” and calling it “one of the finest hip-hop records you’ll catch in 2014”. Her following records Big Grrrl Small World (2015) and Coconut Oil EP (2016) were met with just as much success as Pitchfork said of the former “The album is full of unexpected turns and immaculate codas. Lizzo bends each track to her will, twisting them until they’re anything but obvious.”
Since Coconut Oil, she has released four singles, ‘Water Me’, Truth Hurts’, ‘Fitness’ and ‘Boys’. ‘Boys’ in particular is currently a BBC Radio 6 favourite and been labelled the summer anthem of 2018. Full of contrasting elements like screeching electric guitar solos, funky RnB rhythms and hip hop bars which any other songwriter would struggle to make flow, ‘Boys’ is a work of art with very little to compare it to.
Her talents have gone on to be recognised by none other than Prince as she featured on his track ‘BoyTrouble’ along with The Chalice bandmate Sophia Eris, off his 2014 chart-topping album Plectrumelectrum.
Her TV appearances include performing on The Late Show With David Letterman in 2014 as well being a guest judge on the tenth series of the iconic RuPaul’s Drag Race this March in the same episode where her single ‘Good As Hell’ was used as the ultimate Lip Sync For Your Life challenge.
She has toured with the likes of fellow Minneapolis performer Har Mar Superstar while also joining his set for guest vocals, feminist punk trio Sleater-Kinney on their 2015 reunion tour, and indie rock group HAIM earlier this year. She’s also shared the stage at Minneapolis Varsity Theater with St. Paul and the Broken Bones for their encore which included covers of Sam Cooke’s 1964 single ‘Change Is Gonna Come’ and Wilson Pickett’s version of ‘Hey Jude’. Her first solo headlining tour took place earlier this year, and will be followed up this August at London O2 Academy Islington for her sold Reading & Leeds warm-up show. Click here to join the waiting list for tickets!
Tags: introducing / lizzo