Lizzo's song "Truth Hurts" recently earned her spot at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

By Helen Murphy
September 20, 2019 11:35 AM
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Lizzo is getting candid about her path to stardom.

In a new Billboard cover story for the magazine’s 2020 Grammys preview, Lizzo opened up about dealing with her “haters” and how she discovered her own unique musical style in self-love anthems like “Good as Hell.”

“I’ve always had to turn haters into congratulators,” the singer, 31, said. “That’s the thing with my songs and my live shows: I’ve never lost that mentality of ‘I have to win you over,’ and I’m never going to, because I didn’t learn that way. I have muscle memory in this.”

The musician told the magazine that her “story has been more about refining who I am versus creating it.” When she started singing about self-love rather than imitating other artists she admired, Lizzo said, “it just vibrated better in the music.”

“When I wrote songs like ‘My Skin’ or ‘En Love,’ that was like, ‘Oh, s—, I found it. I’m starting to discover who I am,” she explained.

Lizzo
| Credit: Heather Hazzan

Though she’s had viral performances at both the MTV Video Music Awards and the BET Awards this year, Lizzo — who also plays the flute — told Billboard that she originally saw herself as a different type of artist.

“I saw myself as a successful musician, and I visualized it like, ‘Man, I want to have a career like Björk, where I can put out albums and do exclusive shows and do a whole flute album like that bitch did,’ ” she said. “This s— is way different. I’m like, ‘VMAs, BET Awards?’ That is wild to me.”

“I can do anything, you know?” Lizzo added. “You want a polished, choreographed performance? I can give you that. You want a wild rock’n’roll show? I can give you that. You want to feel like you’re in church? I can give you that.”

“There’s that pop moment, when people can’t really replace you. They’re like, ‘What is this? I can only get this here,’” she continued. “That’s that good s—. That’s that pure s—.”

Lizzo
| Credit: Heather Hazzan
Lizzo for Billboard
| Credit: Heather Hazzan

It’s been a busy year for Lizzo, who in addition to performing at the VMAs last month, can currently be seen in the Jennifer Lopez stripper drama Hustlers. Last week, Rihanna, who is a fan of the artist, said that she’d love to collaborate with Lizzo on her Fenty x Savage lingerie brand.

“Gosh I love Lizzo. She’s so badass,” Rihanna told Entertainment Tonight. “I would collaborate with her on the lights for this interview right now like Lizzo is so badass.”

She continued on to say that Lizzo represents “everything” her Savage brand stands for. “A confident woman, no matter what size, color, shape. Your attitude is what makes you savage. It’s the confidence that you have in yourself and it’s the confidence that you can give off to people who look like you and feel like you and those are the people that identify with the brand.”

Lizzo
| Credit: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

Despite her many successes, the breakout artist — born Melissa Jefferson — has said she wasn’t always so confident about her talents or communicating her feelings.

In a recent interview with ELLE, Lizzo revealed that her “songs feel happy, but they come from a sad or frustrated place” and that she wasn’t always comfortable sharing such personal stories. She admitted that it has been “revolutionary” learning to communicate her feelings through songs like “Truth Hurts,” which recently earned her spot at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Being in those places is inevitable for me; I’m going to end up there again,” she explained. “But the fact that I’m prepared now to go to those places—and I have a toolbox, and I know I can pull myself out — is really helpful to me in my mental health journey.”