Lizzo’s Gonna Make You Sweat

With her third solo LP on the horizon, the festival-hopping rapper remains hard to keep up with.
Lizzo’s Gonna Make You Sweat

With her third solo LP on the horizon, the festival-hopping rapper remains hard to keep up with.

Words: Scott T. Sterling

photo by Jabari Jacobs

August 23, 2018

FROM: Houston, Texas
HEAR: The Coconut Oil EP
SEE: Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful, Summer Spirit Festival, Outside Lands, Voodoo Fest

Among Lizzo’s many superpowers: extreme multitasking.

When I caught up with the singer to talk about her myriad projects—including her much-anticipated third solo LP—she let me know in no uncertain terms that she’d be working out on a treadmill during our phone interview. “Ah, it’s no big deal,” she laughs, dismissing any talk of her being one of the hardest working women in music, despite ample evidence.

After coming up in the Minneapolis scene and self-releasing a series of albums—Lizzobangers in 2013 and Big Grrrl Small World in 2015—Lizzo has become a hardcore road warrior. She’s a regular presence on festival, club, and theater stages around the world, perpetuating her fiercely fun and physical live show/dance party. The singer just wrapped a tour opening for HAIM, and is set to do the same for Florence + the Machine this fall. She even found time to serve as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“I don’t know how, but I was booking festivals before I even had a project out,” she chuckles. “I remember when I put out Lizzobangers, I was playing UK fests like Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds, and the whole time I was like, ‘How did I get here?’ I think we really learned our chops on festival stages. Having to win people over, having to keep the energy up. It’s why when you see me at a theater show, it feels like you’re at a festival.”

In terms of Lizzo’s major-label debut full-length (following the acclaimed Coconut Oil EP, her first release with Atlantic), she insists that, at this point, her studio output has become an embarrassment of riches, with more than forty finished songs.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do. I recorded three new songs just last night, and they’re all so good,” she reveals. “Going through these songs, I have a rock album, there’s an R&B album, I’ve got a trap album… I’m sure if I keep making songs, the album will reveal itself to me. It has to, because it’s coming out this year. I think the determining factor will be performing new songs live, and letting the fans tell me.” One new song, “Jerome,” got such a rousing reception on the HAIM tour that it’s slated to make the final cut.

As Lizzo’s workout comes to a close, I ask her thoughts on being turned into a meme earlier this year. A video clip of her being whisked away on a motorized cart and saying, “Bye, bitch” to the camera quickly made the social media rounds.

“I’m so proud of myself,” she explains of her meme status. “I was at Beautycon, and I got this free wig from a wig company and was super excited about it. I never get free hair. I made a quick promotional video for them, and as the cart pulled off I had my ‘Bye, bitch’ moment. People just edited it and made it into a meme. It was really special and hilarious. Everyone’s greatest fear these days is becoming a meme. I’m just fortunate that mine was a good one.” FL

This article appears in the 2018 FLOOD Festival Guide, presented by SiriusXM and Toyota. You can check out the rest of the magazine here.