“I wish I had a cooler story for you,” Lizzo stated, slightly fidgeting and cautious of what to say next. “I had notes. It’s never over for me. I was being really critical of myself and I was hyper-aware that I was filming this for HBO Max, and I wanted it to be perfect. I played so many perfect shows on this tour, and I wanted the final one to be just as perfect.” As an attendee who was too entranced by Lizzo’s captivating stage presence, nothing seemed off about the final sold-out show in Los Angeles.
Once an obscure anomaly, Lizzo is now a bonafide, trailblazing superstar. After a decade of earning her household name, the three-time Grammy winner and Emmy-winning producer is living in a state of gratitude. She recently celebrated the completion of The Special Tour, her first arena trek—and it premiered as a concert special on HBO Max—just like her retrospective documentary, Love, Lizzo. On a chilly Wednesday night in The City of Angels, the 34-year-old is seated at the Grammy Museum in a Dolce & Gabbana corset jacket, Matthew Reisman custom skirt, and Stuart Weitzman heels, animatedly reminiscing about the tour.
Without lingering on the negative, the Detroit native switched to embracing her star power. “On stage, I allowed myself to be present. It’s really on stage where I have those reflective moments,” she explained. “I can really pause and just be like, wow. Right before ‘About Damn Time,’ I was like, ‘I have come such a long way and it’s because of you guys.’ I, just for a moment, felt so proud of myself and [DJ] Sophia Eris for the s**t we’ve gone through just to be able to tour, just to play for somebody, just for somebody to hear my song, and now people are showing up.”
I felt like I was in a movie. It’s an incredible feeling because it’s a testament to who I am as an artist and what I’ve done with my music.
Comparing the final show to a “surreal” opening night, Lizzo tried to describe the feeling. “You know the culmination of a film where the heroes are having their big moment and they step out on stage and it’s this wide shot from behind and you just hear the crowd and the light is in their face? I felt like that every night. I felt like I was in a movie. It’s an incredible feeling because it’s a testament to who I am as an artist and what I’ve done with my music.” Within the past ten years, she has hustled hard and shed some tears, but she still held onto the dream, a journey she details in full on Love, Lizzo. “This is for me,” she matter-of-factly responded to critics of her releasing a documentary at this stage of her career.
“There is no perfect time to reflect,” declared the “Juice” bopstar. “We always care about the artist when it’s too late. When we didn’t get an inside look on how they became the icon.” These days, she’s only concerned with making her younger self proud.
Nothing was guaranteed in Lizzo’s youth. She even thought playing the flute would never work out. “I thought I lost it when I dropped out of college, and I thought my flute was going to be [something] that gathered dust, a novelty and people weren’t really going to accept the flute in its entirety,” she reflected.
We always care about the artist when it’s too late. When we didn’t get an inside look on how they became the icon.
However, after being the first person to play James Madison’s crystal flute at the Library of Congress, it seems that dreams don’t die—they change form. “I have been so synonymous with flute that I feel like people see me more as a flute player now, which I am not mad at. That has been something that has been incredible for me to reclaim. My first dream job was to sit in first chair for the New York [Philharmonic] or London Symphony or Boston Pops [Orchestra] and to play at the Sydney Opera House.” Having played at the latter, Lizzo confessed, “It’s the flute dreams for me that I think heal my inner child.”
“There is a little girl, a little 12-year-old girl inside of me, who had big dreams of being in a philharmonic or being a virtuosic soloist,” she proclaimed. “And I’d like to fulfill that dream. And I never thought it’d be possible rapping and singing, because I thought the flute was so dorky that nobody would ever let me do it. And I’m doing it.”
Lizzo’s also still speaking newness into existence. The “Truth Hurts” artist revealed that she still wants to be an author. And if you’re clever enough to conceive a dream for her yourself—say, a performance at the Houston Rodeo alongside Beyoncé—she will not only receive it, she’ll call you an oracle.
There is a little girl, a little 12-year-old girl inside of me, who had big dreams of being in a philharmonic or being a virtuosic soloist. And I’d like to fulfill that dream.
“I want to do it real bad. I’ve never played a stadium yet. God. When will it be my turn?” she comically pleaded. “That’s a big deal as an artist who really loves to tour and play shows. A stadium is like Tina Turner. I’d love to be on a stadium stage soon, just feel it out. Beyoncé, you heard me, girl. Call me.”
Continuing to ride her own wave while also being her own biggest critic, the classically-trained musician embodies duality. Don’t try to box her in; she obliterates glass ceilings and shreds labels. It’s her season, her world, and we’re just happy to bear witness to this greatness in real time.
“I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of the work we’ve put in. I’m proud of my story. I’m proud of myself, so when I watch things back like [Love, Lizzo], I feel good—good as hell,” she smiled.