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Lizzo: ‘Cardi B is the ultimate. She, to me, has always done it right’

Written by on 16/08/2021

Lizzo joins Zane Lowe on New Music Daily on Apple Music 1 to discuss her return and new single “Rumors” feat. Cardi B.

She tells Zane why she enlisted Cardi B for the track, what she loves about her, and how the lyrics foreshadowed events in her own relationship. She also discusses being confident in her music, wanting to be ‘cool’ and how rejection builds character.

She also talks about working with Mark Ronson and says “I wrote one of the greatest songs of all time, to me”, reflects on dedicating The Grammys to Kobe Bryant and more.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About The First Verse of “Rumors” and How It Reflects her Own Relationship…
Here’s the Apple exclusive. I said “my ex, he blew it”. Now, the tea is, I wrote that. I’m almost a self-fulfilling prophecy sometimes because I was in a relationship during the quarantine and that person, I was with that person when I wrote it. It wasn’t even about him. It was a reference back to “Truth Hurts” and then we broke up [laughs] It’s not funny. It’s not funny. What is life? That first verse of ‘Rumors’, I’ve been worried about it. A lot of the things that I say did happen, but not before I wrote them. They were maybe on the way to happening. Then, after I wrote them, all those things really happened. They were all references to things that happened to me in the last two or three years, but then after I wrote it, literally I wrote the song in February, the breakup, losing good friends in my life, all of that really came to a head afterwards. I was like, “What the …”

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Enlisting Cardi B for “Rumors”…
There was no one else for it. There was literally no one else. From the day the ink dried on her Atlantic contract, I said, “Please get me on a song with Cardi B.” She’s just funny. I like funny people and she can rap. You know what I’m saying? Seriously be rapping.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music What She Loves About Cardi B…
Cardi B is the ultimate. She, to me, has always done it right. Everything that she said, every way that she’s reacted because you know why? It’s because she was true to herself the whole time. She’s a ground breaker. You can’t deny her ability. She’s a superstar. She has changed the game forever for a lot of us, a lot of women. I don’t even think she realises she’s doing it because it’s just like, I’m trying to just be successful. I’m trying to get this money. I want to live a happy life. She just follows her heart. That’s what I love about her.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Referencing Drake in “Rumors”…
I just thought it would be so funny to say. I have a small relationship with him. He’s very cool.I just feel like women, there’s so many times where girls’ names get dropped in songs because they’re fine.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Being Confident in Her Music…
I feel like everyone around me is like, “Well, I hate to say that there’s pressure, but there’s a lot of pressure here.” I’m like, “Baby, you okay? Because I feel like you’re feeling the pressure more than I am.” I’m so confident in the music that I make. It’s so honest, and it’s so fun, and it’s so good. It’s just f****good. Like, I’m good at music. And this is no shade to artists that are like this, but I’m not that person who’s just waiting for songs to show up in my email hoping I get a good one. I’m in there, really in the trenches being like, “Let me make sure this shit is good.” I have more control over it.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Being a ‘Nerd’ as a Child and Becoming Lizzo…
My name was Melissa for a long time. And then the eighth grade, they were like, Lizzo, I’m Lizzo now. And I think that was my coming out and I felt cool for the first time ever. I got a nickname, I’m wearing Jordan’s, I got cornrows in my head. I’m cool. I was a nerd. All the people back home in the SWAT and A Leaf who are going to see this music video, I’m in a music video with Cardi B. And I was walking through the hallways with sweaty hair, reading fantasy novels. A nerd, a geek, a band nerd. And I cried because I was like, what a full circle moment. I made it. I always wanted to be cool. You know what I’m saying?

Lizzo Tells Apple Music How Rejection Builds Character…
It builds character being rejected over and over and over again. I think it’s … Well, I had friends. You know what I’m saying? So let me not say that. Shout out to the SWAT crew. I had friends, but when don’t nobody want you, I got to want myself. It forces you to want yourself. But mind you, I wasn’t that cognizant and sharp. And I was like, yeah, in 10th grade, I’m going to love myself. I wasn’t that cool. I wish I had that bravery. But I discovered it later on sooner than most people. Because everyone’s always like, how did you do it? How did you love yourself? Yeah. Didn’t nobody like me.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music “I Wrote One Of The Greatest Songs of All Time To Me”…
Y’all going to get sick of my mother f****** confidence, but I’m not. I’ve made some of the … Listen, and by the way, I remember when I made ‘Because I Love You’, the song. I called my mum, I was crying. I said, “Mama, I think I wrote one of the greatest songs of all time. They’re not going to know it yet, but one day they going to know.” And I think I did it again. I think I did it again. Oops I did it … Well, you can’t clear that. But I think … And free Brittany. I think I did it again. I wrote an amazing … I wrote one of the greatest songs. And for me, it’s to me. How about that? I wrote one of the greatest songs of all time to me. Me and Mark. We did something real crazy. I would sneak pictures of him and s*** for me later down the road. But then once we wrote that song, I said, “Everybody going to know we in the studio, baby, because this song about to change the world.”

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Working with Mark Ronson…
Mark Ronson is … That’s one of those people that you think you’re never ever going to work with, and then you get with him and you’re like, “Oh, this is once. This is a one time thing.” And then you make something amazing and you do it again, and you’re like, “Am I really doing this?” And then he’s also just like … He has the energy of 16 year old kid making beats in his … Or in a rock band. He is such a fan of music. And you can tell. And like, it’s just real in the room with him.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Acceptance and Celebrating Self Love in Her Music…
This is the part of my career that’s really hard for me to grasp, is accepting that I’ve done something that has never really happened or that I was a part of a new movement or a wave. Because I was just being myself. I was just being me, what the hell? I’m still dealing with it. Everybody’s been like this. Right? This has always been the status quo. But I remember when I made a song and it was, I’m in love with myself. I’m in love with myself. I was like, you know what? I’ve never heard anyone say that in a song so I’m going to say it. And I did it just kind of off the cuff, silly, funny, but I didn’t realise it would start this whole thing. I was watching a commercial and it was these big girls in it and it had nothing to do with being big. And I was like, did I do that, did i do that?

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Body Confidence. And Why ‘Fat Is The Worst Thing People Can Say’…
I also, I feel like I just didn’t have the luxury of hiding behind anything. Because I’m fat, you know what I mean? So it’s like, I immediately am out here. I don’t know how to describe it. How do I put this in a way that makes sense? I feel like fat is the worst thing people can say about me at this point. This is the biggest insecurity. It’s like, “How dare a pop star be fat? How dare…” I had to own that. I feel like other people who were put on that pedestal, or who become pop stars, probably have other insecurities or have other flaws, but they can hide it behind a veneer of being sexy and being marketable.They always ask me about change. “How has it changed?” and I’m like, “There’s two worlds going on here.” Do you know what I’m saying? There’s the media, there’s mainstream culture, the surface of things, the veneer, and then there’s the infrastructure. I feel like music can influence the culture and the way things look, commercials, billboards, but that changes so much. The infrastructure has not changed as much. There’s still so many people who suffer from being marginalized systemically. Meanwhile, there’s a plus-sized black girl at the GRAMMYs, but plus-size Black women are still not getting the treatment they deserve in hospitals and from doctors and at work, you know what I mean? We got a long way to go.

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Expressing The Full Spectrum of Emotions In Her Music…
I am able to express the full spectrum of emotion. Even when my songs are happy, it comes from pain. “Good as Hell” is a sad song. He doesn’t love you anymore. I say that. I say that in the second verse, “He don’t love you anymore.” What? You know what I mean? “Truth Hurts”, oh my God, was written about one of the saddest days of my life. I’ve given myself the space to have that, to have emotion, to be real, to be human.I’ll keep it real with you. A lot of artists don’t get that same space and my heart goes to them because it’s not easy. I saw that happening to me early on. They’re like, “You’re really this happy? You’re really this happy?” No, bitch. I’m not really this happy. I work hard to be this happy. Sometimes, the happiest people are that way because they’ve been the saddest. They’ve come out and they’re appreciative of the light, but I’m going to share my light and I’m going to share my darkness with y’all so you understand that I worked hard for this. Do you know what I’m saying?

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Her Musical Evolution…
I was being really internal and selfish on Lizzo Bangerz. Because I had had this horrible writer’s block and I was always sharing my story with other people because I was in rock bands and girl groups. And so I was always giving a third of the story. And I think Lizzo Bangerz was me just being like, this is everything I’ve ever wanted to say. And I just said it all and I was like, I don’t care if it sounds good. I don’t care if it’s cool or not. I’m just going to say everything that’s on my chest because I can finally do it. And so there’s a lot of anger in Lizzo Bangerz. Yeah, it’s chaotic and I needed it. I use all my music as therapy. And then when Big Grrrl Small World came along, I was like, now I want to sound cool. I want to make artsy music. And then I went to April bays with Justin Vernon and BJ Burton. And I just made the artsiest, fartsiest rap project of all time. And then I wrote “My Skin”. And “My Skin” was simple and it touched people and it meant something and it mattered and my intention with music changed upon writing that song. Okay, I’m writing this music to be cool or be artsy. But now, I want to write music that helps people, that heals people. And I learned, less is more. If you want to help somebody, you don’t sit and read them the Pythagorean theorem. You don’t go open an encyclopedia and say, okay, well this is how you’re going to feel better. You just hold them. You know what I mean?

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About The Challenges of Early 2020, Doing SNL While Sick, and Dedicating The Grammys to Kobe Bryant…
It was a difficult time. That was difficult. SNL was great, but I was so sick that day. I should not have performed. Then, we go to Australia and it’s my first time in Australia, but the brush fires had done so much damage and there was so much tragedy there, and I was like, “Wow, this is really difficult. I can’t come here and just gloss over what’s happening.” We went to food banks and we tried to donate as much money and raise awareness. Then you have the GRAMMYs, which was one of the most bittersweet days. I just felt like everyone was so sad and mourning, and losing an icon the same day as that day in the same venue, I was like, “This whole night is dedicated to Kobe.”I wasn’t watching TV, I didn’t have my phone on me, and my very close friend, I got to hear it from her. I had to hear it from her. I’m on the carpet, and I was just numb. With no personal connection to this person, except for my heart and my childhood and my life. I’m opening the show, so I get back and I’m like, “Okay.” I say, “Please give me 60 extra seconds to just dedicate this performance,” and they were like, “We can’t really give you too much time.” …..And then I was like, “You know what? Don’t even worry about it. I’m going to say it right here,” and I said, “Tonight is for Kobe.”

Lizzo Tells Apple Music About Women in Rap…
I’ll tell you one thing, there’s something about women and power that the world just explodes for. And I think women haven’t really been given … Obviously, we’ve been marginalised to a certain degree where we haven’t been able to really rise to that seat of power again. I’m going to say again, because we used to. And now we’re back. We’re coming back into our place in power, and you can tell the difference. You know what I mean?I remember, because I was in indie rap for a long time, but it wasn’t a lot of female rappers. So, I would get asked this question over and over and they’d be like, “What’s it like in female rap? What’s it like as a woman who raps?” As if we were this minority in this huge sea of penis rappers. And I was like, “It’s cool.” But then they’re like, “Well, what’s the future of it?” And I’m like, “Well, I really think that one day, there’s going to be so many girls that rap that you’re not going to be able to keep up with them, and we’re going to be able to fill a whole festival lineup ourselves.”

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