There's no question that Lizzo was one of 2019's biggest breakout stars. The 31-year-old entertainer topped Billboard charts, earned multiple platinum certifications, and secured the most nominations for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. But as many other artists have learned, mainstream popularity can often lead to more hate—especially on social media.
Back in September, Azealia Banks penned a lengthy Instagram message blasting Lizzo's music and persona. The controversial artist wrote Lizzo was "making a fool of her black self for a white American public," which perpetuated the claims that her records were pandering to white people.
Lizzo addressed this issue during a recent interview with Rolling Stone, in which she acknowledged that a large portion of her fan base was white.
"Yeah, there’s hella white people at my shows," she said. "What am I gonna do, turn them away? My music is for everybody."
Though Lizzo is well aware that her material resonates with white audiences, she insisted that her goal was to create music that empowered everyone, specifically black and trans women.
"As a black woman, I make music for people, from an experience that is from a black woman," she said. "I’m making music that hopefully makes other people feel good and helps me discover self-love. That message I want to go directly to black women, big black women, black trans women. Period."POST CONTINUES BELOW
As for her critics? Well, Lizzo wants them to know she isn't going anywhere.
"We eventually get used to everything," she said. "So people just gon’ have to get used to my ass."
You can read her full interview at Rolling Stone's website.
Lizzo will deliver her first-ever Grammy performance this Sunday. She will head into the night with eight nominations, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Truth Hurts," as well as Best Album (Cuz I Love You), Best R&B Performance ("Exactly How I Feel"), and Best New Artist.
Sir Lucian Grainge (C) is accompanied by guests including Tori Kelly, Hailee Steinfeld, Justin Bieber, Lionel Richie, Sam Smith and Shawn Mendes as he is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Jan. 23, 2020 in Hollywood, Calif.
As songs by ZZ Top, Queen and Joe Cocker played on outdoor speakers, a bevy of music's biggest names gathered outside the iconic Capitol Records Building in Hollywood on Thursday morning (Jan. 23) to honor Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. The occasion: the unveiling of Grainge's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Beck, Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi, Hailee Steinfeld, Tori Kelly and Birdman were all in attendence as emcee Ellen K (Walk of Famer and host of the KOST Radio Morning Show) ran the show with tributes by Lionel Richie and Shawn Mendes. The short-but-sweet ceremony, which lasted just 30 minutes, was as lighthearted as it was poignant.
The 58-year-old Grainge, who hails from England and began working in the music industry at 17 years old, joined Universal Music in 1986 and became its chairman and CEO in 2011. The list of mega-stars he's worked with includes Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift and U2, among many others.
After opening remarks by Ellen K, Mendes took the podium to a chorus of screaming fans. “I love you, first of all,” he said to Grainge, before revealing he was initially “terrified” to meet him.
“I learned how much he cared about artistry and, even more than that, how much he cared about the person standing right in front of him,” said Mendes of that first meeting. “He cared about me and my values and what I believed in and my dreams.” Turning directly to Grainge, Mendes -- who started in the music industry when he was just 15 years old -- continued, “Thank you, Lucian, a million times, for making my dreams come true but, even more, thank you for being there for me as a kid and as a person.”
After Mendes, Richie took the stage with a huge smile and spoke about how difficult it is for an artist to become a star, but how much harder it is for an executive to match that status. “To be an executive and make it to a star, you have to be a magician,” he said. “Very few get to last a long time in the business. Lucian, I don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but you managed to not only stay around, but you happened to have made the top of the grade.” In a playful moment, Richie then asked Grainge to choose a song -- any song -- and to sing a few notes into the microphone. Without hesitation, Grainge took the mic and immediately sang the title lyric to Richie’s Grammy-winning 1984 single “Hello.”
As his wife and daughters seated near the stage beamed proudly, Grainge took the stage next, seemingly overwhelmed and in awe. “Wow, this is so cool. This is amazing,” he said. He opened by noting that before leaving the house that morning, he had Googled how far it is from the British suburb he’d grown up in to Vine Street in Hollywood (the answer: 5,471 miles).
“If you told me when I was growing up in that small house that one day I’d find myself here looking out at all of you, I would have said, ‘You’re nuts,’” said Grainge, who went on to note his passion for the work. “For as long as I can remember," he continued, "I just loved music.”
Grainge went on to shout out his Universal executives, calling them “the best team the music business has ever seen” and that working with Universal artists was “an opportunity and a privilege.” He noted he was thrilled with his star's location at the base of the Capitol Records Building, a placement he views as a tribute to Universal artists. Later turning to face his family, Grainge said he owes his deepest strength to them. “Nobody makes it in life on their own and I owe you so much,” he said. Immediately following his speech, Grainge’s star was unveiled and his family, artists and executives gathered around for photos.
“It’s amazing because it is completely unimaginable to have this accolade which is perpetual and permanent,” Grainge said of the Hollywood Walk of Fame honor. “Generally speaking, I don’t really speak. I keep quiet. I have no desire to take any of the limelight away from the real talent, which is the people that write and perform it, but this is about all of us. This is to their credit as well that we’ve all achieved something as a group and as a company. It’s fantastic.”
Grainge -- who was knighted in 2016 -- then spoke about what both his father Cecil and deceased older brother Nigel Grainge who, founded Ensign Records and discovered Sinead O’Connor and The Boomtown Rats, would think of his Walk of Fame honor.
“When I say the word ‘unimaginable,’ I mean it, probably, literally,” he said. “They’d never have thought it possible. However, one of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure is my father sold records in a radio and TV shop after the Second World War, and he used to import records, put them in the carousel ... and I have got records that my father sold in the Capitol Records sleeve which was a picture of this building in purple from the mid '50s. He’s up there somewhere looking down and thinking, ‘How on earth did that happen?’ Because I’m down here also thinking the same thing.”
On her way into a private reception following, Ellen K opened her eyes wide and remarked she’d never seen so many stars turn up for a Walk of Fame ceremony.
Lucian Grainge chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Group, reacts to comments by singer Lionel Richie during an unveiling ceremony honoring him with the 2,685th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Lucian Grainge (C) is joined by recording artists Kiana LedZ, Hailee Steinfeld, Tori Kelly, Justin Bieber, Lionel Richie, Sam Smith and Shawn Mendes. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Singer Justin Bieber attends Lucian Grainge's unveiling ceremony. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge received the 2,685th star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday.
Grainge has led the biggest music company in the world since 2011 and topped Billboard's Power 100 list -- the most powerful person in the music industry -- in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019.
Some of the biggest names in pop music spoke on his behalf at the ceremony Thursday, including Lionel Richie, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Sam Smith, Tori Kelly, Hailee Steinfeld and Beck.
Mendes said he met Grainge when he was 15 years old, just entering the industry.
He thanked Grainge for "being there [for me] as a person and as a kid. I never felt fear, only love and guidance."
"This is an extraordinary country," Grainge, who is British, said.
"Like me, they all came from somewhere else," he said of other Walk of Fame honorees.