Lizzo Says She Was the 'Worst Communicator' as a Kid and Calls Learning to Express Herself 'Revolutionary'
In the cover story for ELLE's Women in Music-themed October issue, Lizzo opens up about what she learned about others' willingness to help once she shared her feelings
Lizzo hasn’t always had the confidence of being 100% that bitch.
In her cover story for ELLE’s Women in Music-themed October issue, which also features Billie Eilish and Camila Cabello on separate covers, the breakout artist born Melissa Jefferson revealed that communicating her feelings didn’t use to come easy for her.
She grew up an insecure child, always wanting to perform in groups because she didn’t feel her look was accepted enough to be a frontwoman — that she “was inadequate” or “wasn’t enough” — she told the magazine.
While her upbeat bops like “Truth Hurts” and “Like a Girl” have since become female-empowerment anthems, Lizzo explained 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. (Though she’ll easily cop to the real anecdotes behind her cheekiest lyrics — “‘New man on the Minnesota Vikings’ — that happened to me.”)
“I was the worst communicator, emotionally, when I was younger,” she told ELLE. “I would stop talking to my family; I would stop talking to my friends. I would go deeper and deeper into that dark place, and the deeper I went, the harder it was to reach out of it.”
As time went on, she became more vocal about her feelings, even opening up about her depression on Instagram in June, which quickly sparked supportive messages from her fans.
Following her post, she admitted she “learned in the last 24 hours that being emotionally honest can save your life.” While “reaching out may be hard,” she recalled being “immediately covered in love” after doing so.
The rapper said it has been “revolutionary” learning to communicate her feelings, so much so, that the music icon earned her spot at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week for “Truth Hurts” which debuted nearly two years ago. Even more, Lizzo is only the sixth female rapper to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard reported.
Now, the “Boys” singer revealed to ELLE that she tells others when she’s feeling upset, and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.
“You realize that people truly care about you and they’ll help you, and they don’t mind helping you,” she explained.
“Being in those places is inevitable for me; I’m going to end up there again,” she admitted. “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.”
The rapper exudes confidence — and her twerk-filled, flute-playing performances are a lesson in self-love, which Lizzo said she takes “very seriously.”
“I take it seriously because when I was younger, I wanted to change everything about myself,” she said. “I didn’t love who I was. And the reason I didn’t love who I was is because I was told I wasn’t lovable by the media, by [people at] school, by not seeing myself in beauty ads, by not seeing myself in television…by lack of representation. My self-hatred got so bad that I was fantasizing about being other people. But you can’t live your life trying to be somebody else. What’s the point?”
But now, the artist whose third studio album Cuz I Love You, released in April has made quite the point in the music industry by being unapologetically herself, becoming a “self-love” role model, and of course, creating a girls night anthem that women want to believe in.
Lizzo added that she is already grateful for the success she’s had, and told ELLE she is working on new music for 2020.
“I’ve been touring for a long time — why would that stop?” she said. “I’m gonna continue to do that forever.”
ELLE’s Women in Women in Music-themed October issue hits newsstands Sept. 24.