How Lizzo went from homeless to role-model millionaire rapper


DESPERATELY trying to make it as a musician, Lizzo was broke, homeless and sleeping in a car.

But the sassy US singer, songwriter and rapper refused to give up on her dream.

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Lizzo was broke, homeless and sleeping in a car, but she refused to give up on her dream[/caption]

Now worth an estimated £2.3million, the 31-year-old is taking the charts by storm and is being hailed the next Beyonce.

Not that she would never call herself that — she is the first Lizzo.

Her catchy hit Juice has become a self-love anthem and latest album Cuz I Love You reached No1 on the iTunes chart — ahead of Beyonce’s Homecoming live album.

Body confident Lizzo has also posed for Playboy — only the second plus-size model to do so — proudly displaying her curves in sexy lingerie, fishnets and diamonds.

Goff Photos

Lizzo hit a huge positive turning point after she began to accept her body[/caption]

As she prepares for a series of UK dates this summer, her success must feel all the sweeter in light of the hardships she endured achieving it.

Speaking about the two years she spent homeless in her twenties, Lizzo says: “It sucked. It was very lonely. It was very hard, and I think that I had risked it all for music.”

But Lizzo still considers herself to be “privileged”.

She says: “I think that I had a luxury and a privilege to be able to sleep on the floor of my drummer’s house, to be able to sleep in a car my sister gave me, to be able to sleep at the studio where my rock band performed, to be able to sneak into 24 Hour Fitness and use the showers there.”


Throughout her childhood, Lizzo struggled with body issues, but now struts her stuff confidently[/caption]

Born Melissa Jefferson in Detroit, Lizzo grew up in a “big musical family”. A strict Pentecostal household, they “listened to a lot of gospel”.

But her dad was also a huge classic rock fan, especially Elton John and Queen.

The family moved to Houston, Texas, when she was nine and she joined a marching band at school.

She was also a talented flute player and regularly appears on stage and in videos twerking while playing the instrument.


But throughout her childhood, Lizzo struggled with body issues.

She says: “I think unfortunately, because of mainstream media, a lot of people — specifically women — grow up questioning their beauty.

“For a long time I felt like there were things about myself I would change, and I wished that I was somebody else.”

She was also picked on at school for being a “nerd”.

Capital Pictures

The singer wore a striking pink jacket at the Met Gala and was snapped being pally with Rita Ora[/caption]

She recalls: “I was teased like a dog for wanting to be intelligent, for reading, for talking the way I do.

“But I didn’t dumb myself down just to be accepted.

“Teachers would call my mom and be like, ‘Melissa is trying to teach my class’. So I was nerdy, but also chubby and sweaty.

“I liked anime and comics, which just didn’t work in Houston, where everybody is black and listens to rap.


Born Melissa Jefferson (right) in Detroit, Lizzo grew up in a ‘big musical family’[/caption]

“I was listening to Radiohead and classical music. I never stopped doing what I loved. And now being a nerd is hot.”

She also struggled with her sexuality. She says: “I felt like an ‘other’ for a very long time.

“Nobody liked me, and I just remember feeling so unwanted and unchosen. I remember at one time feeling like I was asexual because no one loved me. I was so

confused about myself and my identity for a long, long time.”


As Lizzo prepares for a series of UK dates this summer, her success must feel all the sweeter in light of the hardships she endured[/caption]

Lizzo, who does not label her sexuality, started out performing in groups in a bid to take the spotlight off herself.

She says: “I believed in myself in rock bands, R&B groups and rap duos. But I never believed in myself as a solo artist.

“I didn’t think anyone wanted to look at me or hear what I had to say.” After high school, she joined a prog rock band aged 19. But a few years later she hit rock bottom.

Surprisingly it became a positive turning point — the moment she started to accept her body.


The rising star is being hailed as the next Beyonce[/caption]

Lizzo, who will perform at Glastonbury and West London’s Lovebox festival alongside her plus-size back-up dancers known as the Big Grrrls, recalls: “I think I was like 21 because that was the worst year of my life thus far.

“My father passed away, I was homeless, I didn’t have any money, my band was doing really badly and I was by myself.

“I hadn’t been eating because I didn’t have money, and I was honestly the smallest physically I’d ever been.

“And still, that was the worst I’d ever felt about myself. And I remember one day being like, ‘This is it’.”


Lizzo spoke out on Instagram about her hardships and losing her father[/caption]

With the help of therapy, Lizzo finally began to accept herself for who she is.

She says: “Twenty odd years of me believing that one day I can wake up and be some other girl.

“It’s like, ‘You’re not going to wake up and be bigger or smaller or lighter or darker; your hair’s not going to suddenly grow down past your knees. You’re going to look this way for the rest of your life’.

“And you have to be OK with that. I used my music as therapy to get there.


I look in the mirror and think ‘Damn I don’t need anybody to tell me I look good!’



“I’m not perfect. I fall back sometimes. But this is my life, and I have to do the best I can with it.

“And if other people are following it, then I need to make it the best life possible.”

A few years later, in 2011, she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, eventually turning solo.

Her debut album Lizzobangers was released in 2013 to modest success. Her 2015 follow-up, Big Grrrl Small World, led to a record deal and a move to Los Angeles.


But she struggled to break into the mainstream. That all changed earlier this year with the release of sassy single Juice, which features lyrics such as “Heard you say

I’m not the baddest bitch, you lie” and “No, I’m not a snack at all. Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal”.

Speaking about her chart success, Lizzo says: “My music is relatable because everybody wants to be better, love themselves, and be 100 per cent that bitch.”

Lizzo, who appears naked on the cover of her latest album, credits her music with giving her a new-found confidence.


The multi-talented star has set her sights on becoming an actress and is currently filming Hustlers[/caption]

She says: “It’s a self-fulfilled prophecy. I’m not writing these songs to remind myself one day that I’m that bitch. I want to be that bitch — and singing them every day helps me manifest that.”

Lizzo, who is single, adds: “I look in the mirror now and think, ‘Damn, I don’t need anybody to tell me I look good’. I don’t even need the f**king mirror to.”

Her success and confidence saw her land the centrefold in Playboy’s spring issue, making her only the second plus-size woman to be featured in the magazine in its 66-year history.

And earlier this month she went viral after turning up to the airport still in the extravagant, fluffy, hot pink Marc Jacobs coat she wore to New York’s Met Gala the night before.

Getty – Contributor

Lizzo’s struggle to break into the mainstream all changed when she released her sassy single ‘Juice’[/caption]

In her own unique style, Lizzo, has become a force for change. But she reminds us there is still a long way to go.

Hitting out at designers who refuse to clothe plus-size women, she says: “F*** them.”

Conquering the charts clearly is not enough for Lizzo, who has collaborated with Missy Elliott on one song for her album.

The multi-talented star has set her sights on becoming an actress and is currently filming Hustlers — about a group of strippers who get revenge on their clients – alongside Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B.

Lizzo says: “I fully believe in myself and know I can do anything. I don’t need labels to accomplish the things I want to.

“I just need money and time. Give me time and watch.”



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