Lizzo is the new queen of R&B and she knows it

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An overwhelming sense of self-love and self-worth? Check. Dance moves that rival even Beyonce’s? Check. An astounding amount of unsolicited DMs on Instagram? Check (at least according to her lyrics). All of these things and more are what make Lizzo the shining female R&B icon we never knew we needed.

Melissa Jefferson, better known by her stage name Lizzo, has been performing her whole life. In an interview with Teen Vogue this past August, Lizzo explained how every morning before going to high school she would choose her favorite song and execute a fully choreographed dance in her bedroom. Hearing this story makes perfect sense when looking at today’s version of Lizzo: A beautiful, bold woman oozing confidence and style. There’s no doubt about it; through her music and performances, Lizzo truly sparkles.

However, she wasn’t always this way. From an early age, Lizzo struggled with body image issues, which is why body positivity and inclusivity plays such a central role in her music.

“I had to really look myself in the mirror and say, ‘this is it. This is the person I am going to be for the rest of my life and it is not going to change,’” Lizzo said in an interview with The New York Times. Lizzo has since made it her mission to create what she terms “feel-good” music in order to inspire confidence in herself and others.

Lizzo’s musical experiences began while growing up in Houston, Texas. At age 14, she and her friends formed a rap group called the “Cornrow Clique.” After moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2011, Lizzo continued to experiment with her sound and musical capabilities. She performed with indie groups, including an electro soul-pop duo called “Lizzo & the Larva Ink,” and formed a three-piece all-female rap/R&B group entitled “The Chalice.”

Lizzo first met major success with the release of her debut album entitled “Lizzobangers” which was released in 2013. A second album, “Big Grrrl Small World” was released in 2015. In 2016, Lizzo put out “Coconut Oil,” released by Nice Life and Atlantic Records. “Coconut Oil” was Lizzo’s first debut on a major record label and features her most popular song to date, “Good as Hell.”

Other notable hits include, “Truth Hurts,” “Boys,” “Water Me” and “Fitness.” Lizzo just released her newest single, “Juice,” on Jan. 4. “Juice” quickly became a new fan favorite and she’s performed the single on both “Ellen” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Her next studio album, “Cuz I Love You,” is set to be released on April 19.

Lizzo’s early experimentation with different forms of genre and performance is still apparent in her current work. Like many of today’s most popular artists, Lizzo doesn’t stay within one genre but instead utilizes multiple to create her unique sound. Traces of everything from gospel music to classic hip-hop to soulful R&B to heavy metal can be found in Lizzo’s work. This genre-defying sound, when combined with her “feel-good” lyrics, is what makes Lizzo and her music such a powerhouse.

Lizzo’s inclusivity and confidence-boosting doesn’t solely come out in the lyrics of her songs but also in how she presents them. Just like when she was a teenager, performance is still an integral aspect of Lizzo’s artistic persona and continues to define her as the show-stopping artist she is. When touring, Lizzo’s back-up dancers consist of a dance troupe called The Big Grrrls, all women size 14 and up who stun the crowd with their incredible moves.

Lizzo herself is hypnotic to watch on stage, sashaying, twerking and twirling about while singing her hits. Lizzo radiates such a positive energy while performing that it’s impossible to leave one of her shows without, in the very least, a huge smile; most likely, however, you’ll walk away with a greater sense of self.

Lizzo is sexy but funny, beautiful but down-to-earth; she knows her worth but she also doesn’t take herself too seriously. Essentially, Lizzo is comfortable being herself, which is what everybody should aspire to be. It’s her catchy beats and heartfelt lyrics that make us listen to Lizzo in the first place, but it’s her confidence and overwhelming message of self-love and inclusivity that make us stay.


Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucie.turkel@uconn.edu.

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