By now, you should know that Lizzo is 100% that... person everyone’s obsessed with. From her unabashed declarations of self-love to her lively tracks that take root deep in your toe-tapping soul, she’s succeeded in staying true to herself and leaving the world totally smitten. Her meteoric rise feels like it happened overnight, but Lizzo knows how rough and seemingly impossible her journey to the limelight really felt. Through tragedy and self-doubt, she emerged as the body positive Queen she is today, though she’ll never forget where she came from.
Lizzo cemented her status among the top-tier mononymous musical legends. Funnily enough, that wasn’t the name she pictured in lights as a child dreaming of superstardom. The force of nature was born Melissa Viviane Jefferson.
Back when she was a tiny little Melissa, she showed an early interest and aptitude for music. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Lizzo listened mainly to gospel. Her family eschewed secular music entirely, calling it the devil.
The Jeffersons moved to a suburb of Houston called Alief, Texas, and that’s where Melissa found hip hop. She took every opportunity to freestyle — on the bus, in the cafeteria, calling into the radio — rapping came naturally for her, and with it, attention.
Lizzo is born
A 14-year-old Melissa and her friends started their girl group, the Cornrow Clique. It was then that she adopted her infamous moniker. Taken from her lifelong nickname “Lissa” and a nod to Jay-Z’s hit “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” Lizzo was born.