When Time magazine named Lizzo one of its “14 artists to watch in 2014” a year ago, nobody could have imagined just how hard it would be to keep track of her.
One weekend, the sharp-tongued but good-vibed Minneapolis rap star would be in England performing at the famed Glastonbury or Leeds festivals. The next weekend, she’d be back home, grinding it up at a free block party with her Grrrl Prty crew or sitting in at Icehouse with cohorts from Totally Gross National Product, the local label that issued her “Lizzobangers” album stateside in October 2013.
That’s actually what impressed us most about the 26-year-old rapper this year: Even as she became in demand globally following Virgin Records’ re-release of her record, she still found time to perform frequently at home, and not just at big to-dos such as Soundset and Rock the Garden. She also kept pushing herself into new territory artistically. Her best partnership was with Caroline Smith, on the sashaying R&B/pop single “Let ’Em Say.” She also guested on Prince’s “Plectrum Electrum” album and hit the road in October singing soul tunes with Har Mar Superstar.
That same month she made her live network TV debut on “The Late Show With David Letterman,” where her tight hug of the host at song’s end symbolized how she embraced her shot at stardom this year.
In January, her solo song “Paris” made its debut on an episode of HBO’s “Girls.” That track would prove prophetic: Lizzo finished her 2014 tour itinerary with a week of dates in France. No telling where she’ll go next.