“Away, Bolsonaro… Wait, what did you guys make me say?”, asked Lizzo, suspicious, after deciding to risk a few words in Portuguese during a live on Instagram, in October.
The American singer thought it would be a good idea to repeat the mantra against the president of Brazil, which Brazilian fans sent in the chat, even without knowing its meaning. When this reporter tells her what he was talking about, Lizzo lets out a nervous laugh.
The live took place just a few months before the president’s party tried to censor artists who spoke out against him and in favor of Lula at Lollapalooza in late March. Now, in an interview to promote her new single “About Damn Time”, Lizzo appears uncomfortable to find out about what happened.
“I don’t know much about politics in Brazil, but I think government representatives often forget that people’s rights should be a priority.”
“Music and politics go hand in hand”, he continues. She remembers the 1960s, when Aretha Franklin and James Brown had songs that motivated Americans to fight for their civil rights, and Kendrick Lamar’s recent “Alright,” which became an anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We artists and musicians are a reflection of the times and, at our best, we are the voice of the people.” For her, the new single, which sets the stage for her fourth album, also sounds very political.
In the lyrics of “About Damn Time”, Lizzo asks them to turn up the volume and turn off the lights because she feels she’s finally going to be really okay – and screams the song’s title, something like “it was about time”, in Portuguese. . “I’ve been very anxious about our global and political climate. This song can give those who have also been feeling this way a chance to motivate themselves and face whatever happens.”
The single doesn’t sound new and feels like something recycled from the previous record — but it’s danceable and has a catchy chorus, which might be enough for those who like it.
Lizzo emerged as a mix of pop diva and rapper in 2019, when she hit the public’s lips with the hit “Truth Hurts” and released the album “Cuz I Love You” – works that earned her eight nominations and three Grammy statuettes in the year. Following. She had been trying to be successful for years – her first album, called “Lizzobangers”, is from 2013 – but Lizzo only became known later.
Even though she lost the new artist Grammy to Billie Eilish, the biggest winner of the awards in 2020, it is undeniable that Lizzo showed what she came for back then. Contrary to Eilish’s depressing, mumbled songs, the voice of “About Damn Time” stood out with mocking lyrics about self-acceptance and powerful vocals.
That Grammy was marked by showing off a new generation of pop artists by awarding Lizzo, Eilish and rapper Lil Nas X. The last two didn’t take long to hitch a new era. They released acclaimed records last year and performed at this year’s Grammys. But Lizzo, which is good, nothing.
“It was about time to release the album”, he jokes, in a pun on the single’s title.
“I was working on the record, I wanted everything to be perfect. There’s so much about Lizzo now that I think it’s a good thing there hasn’t been ‘too much’ Lizzo in the last three years”, he justifies. The last track she released was “Rumours” featuring a pregnant Cardi B in August of last year – a song that will likely be on the new record. Asked about other participations in the project, Lizzo deflects.
Creating a follow-up to the previous album could be difficult, but she says she’s excited to be back. “The ‘Cuz I Love You’ era was a lot of fun and now I feel like I have the same energy.”
“I have no expectations, I just hope to make good music and that the people who love me accept this love letter. It’s all I care about”, she says, almost justifying a possible commercial failure. It’s worth remembering that next year’s Grammys have Adele, with her “30” — if Lizzo has any awards left, she’ll be in the money.
“I will only know if I was successful if I can go to Brazil, perform the new songs and see you singing.” Lizzo has even set foot in the country once, at the beginning of 2020, but she only did a pocket show for influencers, journalists and guests in Rio de Janeiro.
In an appearance on James Corden’s show, the American said that someone would need to create a choreography for TikTok for her new single, which seems to have become a requirement for any song to rock these days – see the case of “Envolver”, by Anitta, who only took off after the chorus roll hit the net.
Lizzo, with a laugh, denies that she’s worried about creating a dance that goes viral. “I feel like on TikTok y’all just want to see me cook, twerk [uma requebrada, em português mais claro] and respond to comments.” To her, if someone creates a little dance for “About Damn Time,” that’s fine, but it’s not part of the plans.
When asked what inspired her to create the new project, Lizzo admits that she doesn’t listen to much other than her own repertoire. She’s more into classical music — and says a little Beyoncé goes well too. “I don’t have a lot of influences. It’s just me sitting in a studio with other fucking talented people making good music.”
Self-confidence is a theme that seems to permeate not only his lyrics, but also the way he takes his career – which, in excess, can end up being a problem.
But, depending on the singles, Lizzo must be preparing an album very similar to the previous one – fun, mocking, dancing and empowered. The truth is that, in this comeback, she seems willing to continue making music to roll to the floor with one hand on her knee and the other on her conscience.
After being gone for so long, it was about time.