In a new interview, Lizzo said she felt compelled to keep her love of Radiohead “hidden” to avoid being “made fun of” by her classmates.
“It was a Black school,” she explained in a Vanity Fair cover story, “mostly Black and brown, Caribbean, I had Nigerian friends… They were all listening to what was on the radio: Usher, Destiny’s Child, Ludacris, and I was into Radiohead’s OK Computer.”
She said she “kept it hidden, even when I was in a rock band, because I didn’t want to be made fun of by my peers — they’d yell, ‘White girl!’ Also, I was wearing these flared bell-bottoms with embroidery down it — and they’d say, ‘You look like a white girl, why do you want to look like a hippie?’ I wanted to be accepted so bad; not fitting in really hurt.”
It wasn’t until later that she tried performing other genres. “My first singing voice was a rock voice in my progressive rock band when I was 19 or 20… very Mars Volta–influenced. That gave me the [vocal] power I’ve got now. It wasn’t until 2015 when I realized I have a very powerful singing voice with a lot of soul.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Lizzo spoke about playing a crystal flute once owned by former president and slaveowner James Madison, which prompted a conservative backlash from trolls pretending they had ever heard of that instrument. “When people look back at the crystal flute, they’re going to see me playing it,” Lizzo said. “They’re going to see that it was owned by James Madison, but they’re going to see how far we’ve had to come for someone like me to be playing it in the nation’s capital, and I think that that’s a cool thing. I don’t want to leave history in the hands of people who uphold oppression and racism. My job as someone who has a platform is to reshape history.”
Lizzo has dozens of dates remaining on her 2022-203 tour, and tickets are available here.