Lizzo is tucked a way in a private tent for artists and their most immediate cliques, out of the pouring rain and blaring speakers of the nearby stage. She’s recently finished her set on the Liberty platform at the Made In America Music Festival, and is now ready to sit back and answer some questions.
Lizzo and VIBE go way back to Aug. 2016, when we interviewed her for our NEXT series. Then, she spoke to us about her humble beginnings in the Cogic Church of God in Christ in Detroit and budding career. But a lot has changed in the past year. Lizzo’s career has continued to skyrocket. She’s been featured on a number of high profile concerts. She’s presented at awards shows, and more. But if you ask her, that’s just the beginning.
The multi-faceted artist caught up with VIBE at Made In America to talk about the creative process behind her new music video for “Water Me,” representation in music and what it means to be Made In America.
VIBE: A lot has gone down since you interviewed with us. How’s it going?
Lizzo: I was creating music when I first met you. So there’s periods of [being] in the incubator, then it’s starting to come out. So right now, it’s been so much work, but now the promo is coming in. I’ve been trying to take every opportunity that comes to us. I’ve had to learn to say no sometimes, which is really hard. But it’s a good thing. And not even no because of leverage, but saying no because I couldn’t physically do it. But I’ve been so blessed to do this predominantly on my own. To do hip-hop with no cosign is harder than a motherf**ker. As a woman, I’m still cosign-less. So I’m blessed to have an audience that really f**ks with me and wants to see me win.
In our last interview, you said the goal was to have it all – the awards, guest spots, etc. You’re well on your way, but do you feel like you’re at the right place on your scale?
No, I’m not there yet. There’s so much to do. I compare myself to the best me, the person that I want to be. I don’t compare myself to anyone else, but it’s really hard sometimes when you’re on a major label to get too competitive. Just because I’m not comparative, doesn’t mean I’m not competitive. There’s a lot of people that I see, where I want that. So it gives me a goal to work hard. In my eyes, I’m miles away from where I want to be. I just want to be the best me out there. I feel like people have been getting the best me, but ya’ll don’t even know my evolved level.
What does it mean to be Made In America?
It’s the same thing as your t-shirt saying Made In China. Where we’re made, it clearly doesn’t define who we are anymore. When I see people trying to talk about patriotism and the Confederate flag representing traditionalism in America, it makes me feel like, well, who are we? Are we not American? Or what are they? If they’re the real Americans, then who are we in their mind? I know that it belongs to the indigenous tribes, but don’t nobody like to admit that. When I hear these white supremacists talk about that, it conflicts me. I don’t have a country in Africa that I know that I’m from. I don’t have any European lineage. So to be Made In America, sometimes feels like a losing battle. I feel very displaced and unwanted. But also, to be Made In America, I know I have a possibility to make anything happen. JAY-Z truly represents what it is to be made in America because he made this position for himself. He went from selling in the 80s to being a billionaire. He did that by manipulating the system. You got to make yourself in America, because America is not made for you. We’re making ourselves. We’ve been here as slaves; we’ve been here as the marginalized; and we’re about to be here as the people we deserve to be.