By Berenice Bautista, The Associated Press on February 14, 2020.
MEXICO CITY – Fresh from winning three Grammys, singer Lizzo visited Mexico City for a private concert, surprising her fans with acoustic versions of her hits and a toast with tequila.
The star from Detroit, who won best pop solo performance (â€œTruth Hurtsâ€), best traditional R&B performance (â€œJeromeâ€), and best urban contemporary album for â€œCuz I Love You,â€ at the January awards show sat for an interview with The Associated Press. Lizzo spoke about diversity in the music industry, self-confidence and femininity and the disputes over the authorship of â€œTruth Hurts.â€
Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
AP: Congratulations on your Grammys. There was a controversy about the lack of diversity at the awards this year. What would be an ideal version of the Grammys for you?
LIZZO: Thereâ€™s always a lack of diversity, thatâ€™s the issue in general. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s like â€œthe 2020 Grammys lack diversity,â€ itâ€™s like the industry lacks diversity. So, the world I would like to see, of course, has an even playfield: I think there are more women, more black people, more brown people, more people from other countries where you just donâ€™t put them in a foreign category, you put them in THE category. Someone like BTS. But I think that comes with just participation and using my privilege now as someone in the industry with a platform to just bring other people up.
AP: From the Grammys you received, any that you were not expecting?
LIZZO: I did not expect to win the first award of the night (best pop solo performance.) I thought BeyoncÃ© was going to win, I really did. I was even going, â€˜BeyoncÃ©, BeyoncÃ©.â€™ But Iâ€™m so grateful and it was a very special, powerful moment. Hereâ€™s to more moments like that in the future.
AP: I grew up watching pop stars that were blonde, super skinny, that looked perfect in every way. Then you come up and Iâ€™m grateful for that.
LIZZO: Iâ€™m perfect, sis! Take that back! I think that even the blonde, thin pop stars, they have imperfections, but unfortunately the media portrays them as perfect, and I think that even those women struggle with having to live up to a body type or stereotype and probably suffer from a lot of depression. I am brown, I am black, I am curvy, and I am perfect and beautiful. And I think that we, as well as other people like Billie Eilish – I am completely different from her, but she is also rebelling against the archetype of the pop star. So, Iâ€™m glad youâ€™re grateful for me, but you also need to understand that I am just as perfect as they are. So are you.
AP: Were you always this confident, or did you have to find the confidence within yourself?
LIZZO: You really have to find it within yourself, but you have to go through life to get there. It sounds so clichÃ©, but life is your greatest teacher and you learn the best lessons from life. I learned a lot in the last 10 years about myself, about who I am. I also learned to love that person.
AP: Your song â€œLingerieâ€ portrays a woman is a very sensual way. Do you think women should embrace and own their femininity?
LIZZO: I think women should embrace whatever it is about themselves. I think femininity is also something that can be in flux. I think a woman can also embrace her masculinity. I think a woman can embrace her androgyny, her abilities to be everything. I personally am a hyper-feminine woman. I embrace my masculine side, but I am hyper-feminine. I have a lingerie closet in my bedroom, and I wanted to celebrate that about myself. I think that it ainâ€™t for everybody, but I do think that we should be celebrating ourselves more.
AP: There was a dispute about the authorship of your song â€œTruth Hurts.â€ Has this been sorted out or is this still going on?
LIZZO: What itâ€™s done, is done. I was so happy to give up a piece of my songwriting credit to a woman in London who tweeted â€˜I took a DNA test, Iâ€™m 100% that bitch,â€™ like she tweeted it the same year that I wrote the song, and I was happy to share that with her. Even though Iâ€™ve never seen that tweet, I knew that she inspired one of the biggest songs of 2019. She didnâ€™t write the song at all and the other people who claimed to write the song didnâ€™t write it either, but thatâ€™s what happens when you become author of a number one hit song, everyone wants to state claim on it, but the only person who I was happy to give a piece of that success too was a black woman in London who tweeted one of the most clever things I ever heard.
AP: Itâ€™s so hard to claim that something is original nowadays.
LIZZO: Oh my God, tell me about it! And for me, my ego got in the way because Iâ€™ve seen a lot of songs that came from the internet or that came from a tweet or came from a meme, but that person who created it never got credit and the songwriter only gets credit. At the end of the day, thereâ€™s nothing new under the sun, but it definitively taught me how to be more careful in the future.
AP: You play classical flute. Do you see yourself doing something in the future with BjÃ¶rk, who also likes flute?
LIZZO: Iâ€™m such a BjÃ¶rk fan! I would love to play flute with BjÃ¶rk. I think that BjÃ¶rk is like a Missy Elliott where itâ€™s a privilege to work with her. And she doesnâ€™t have to work with everybody or anybody, so I am waiting for that BjÃ¶rk phone call.
AP: Being here in Mexico, is there something that inspires you about the Latin American culture?
LIZZO: Culture inspires me, period. And I love Mexico. Itâ€™s my second time here, and I always want to come. Now Iâ€™ll come back for my birthday, â€˜cause I have been here for work now. I want to come here for play so I can really explore the culture.
Berenice Bautista on Twitter: https://twitter.com/berenicebau.
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