Everything to Know About Lizzo, the Rapper Shawn Mendes Couldn't Stop Staring at in Viral Video
Lizzo will release her first major-label album, Cuz I Love You, on April 19
A video of the pop star admiring the rapper on the red carpet at the BRIT Awards in London on Wednesday has gone viral online. On Thursday, Lizzo shared the clip, in which Mendes enthusiastically watches her conduct an interview ahead of the awards show.
“Get you a man that looks at you the way @shawnmendes looks at me doing press,” Lizzo captioned the hilarious video on Instagram. In her Instagram story, she added: “@shawnmendes loves me. That’s PERIOD. NO QUESTIONS BITCH.”
So who is Lizzo?
Raised in Houston, the 30-year-old artist (real name: Melissa Jefferson) moved to Minnesota and became a rising star in Minneapolis’ underground hip-hop scene. After earning regional acclaim for her debut album Lizzobangers (2013) and sophomore effort Big Grrrl Small World (2015), the rapper scored a major-label record deal with Atlantic.
In 2016 Lizzo dropped her acclaimed Coconut Oil EP, which included her breakout hit “Good as Hell.” Now, after a string of underrated singles (her funky bop "Boys" was arguably the best song of 2018), the musician — who dropped her retro banger "Juice" in January — is preparing to release her first major-label album, Cuz I Love You, on April 19.
Below, everything you need to know about Lizzo.
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She’s a classically trained flautist.
“I was in marching band from eighth grade all the way up until college, the Cougar marching band at University of Houston. I was a piccolo player. I was the baddest piccolo in the land, ’cause I got big lungs,” Lizzo told NPR. “And I was really determined. I rented the flute, and I just started listening to James Galway and songs on the radio, really trying to sound good and be the best.”
Lizzo plays the flute in many of her tracks, and she’s incorporated the instrument in her live performances. Don’t believe it? Just take a look at her Instagram feed, where she frequently shares impromptu flute solos.
She collaborated with Prince.
Lizzo appeared on The Purple One’s 36th studio album, Plectrumelectrum, in 2014; she was featured on the track “BoyTrouble” alongside her longtime collaborator Sophia Eris.
“It gave me confidence to be an artist, not just a rapper or a singer or a girl in a band,” she told Rolling Stone of working with the icon. “When you’re an artist, you become eternal. … When you’re an artist, your career isn’t defined by trends or age. That’s the biggest lesson I learned from Prince: perpetuate positivity, and also art is forever. Be eternal.”
She’s a major body-positivity advocate.
Lizzo is happy in her role as a body-positivity advocate — “But it’s not a label I wanted to put on myself. It’s just my existence,” she recently told New York Magazine‘s The Cut. “All these f—ing hashtags to convince people that the way you look is fine. Isn’t that f—ing crazy? I say I love myself, and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s so brave. She’s so political.’ For what? All I said is ‘I love myself, bitch!’”
Indeed, Lizzo is comfortable in her own skin — and she’s comfortable posing naked for photoshoots and on her social media feed.
“Even when body positivity is over, it’s not like I’m going to be a thin white woman. I’m going to be black and fat,” she added in The Cut interview.
You’ve definitely heard her song “Good as Hell.”
The upbeat, empowering anthem “Good as Hell” made a splash in pop culture following its 2016 release — from appearing in a Super Bowl ad (for Minnesota-based company HealthPartners) to movies like Barbershop: The Next Cut and Blockers.
She’s guest-starred on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In 2018, Lizzo made a memorable appearance as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and contestants lip-synced to “Good as Hell.”
“To work with RuPaul is a dream. It was a bucket list [item]. I’m very fortunate to have been in the same room as RuPaul. You learn so much just by watching the way RuPaul operates,” she told Rolling Stone of her cameo. “Apparently there are some petitions for me to be a permanent judge.”
She has several celebrity fans in addition to Shawn Mendes!
Several A-list artists have invited Lizzo out on the road with them: Last year she opened for Taylor Swift BFFs-slash-sister act HAIM, as well as Florence + the Machine.
And a quick scan of her Instagram account shows that she has a slew of famous followers, including: Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness, Awkwafina, Beyoncé protégés Chloe x Halle, SZA, John Mayer, Matt Bomer, and The Good Place stars D’Arcy Carden and Jameela Jamil.
She’s about to make her big-screen debut.
Lizzo is set to make her cinematic debut, lending her voice to the upcoming animated adventure UglyDolls. The rapper rounds out an all-star cast of music stars, which includes Janelle Monáe, Nick Jonas, Bebe Rexha, Kelly Clarkson, Charli XCX, Blake Shelton and Pitbull.
Lizzo’s record label will distribute the movie’s soundtrack, so there’s a solid chance she’ll record a new track for it.