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12 December 2019, 12:04 | Updated: 12 December 2019, 12:29
‘I will make everyone love the flute again’ – here's how hip-hop star Lizzo is actually bringing classical music to a new generation.
Lizzo is currently one of the biggest artists in the charts. She's a hip-hop and rap artist praised for her messages of self-love.
But Lizzo is more than your run of the mill chart-topper. Amid the vocal verses known by millions, she brings out her prized possession: her flute.
A classically trained flautist, Lizzo works flute-driven passages into literally all of her songs. She throws box-ticking and stereotypes out of the window, and brings a touch of classical to the charts.
2019 has been an extraordinary year for Lizzo, she’s stormed the charts, gone viral with a flute BET performance, boosted beginner flute sales, and to round it off, she’s just been named TIME’s Entertainer of the Year for 2019, gracing the famous issue alongside 2019’s Person of the Year, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Writing about their award, the magazine said: “In 2019, Lizzo was a beam of light shining through doom and gloom, telling us to love ourselves even if the world doesn’t always love us back”.
.@lizzo is TIME's 2019 Entertainer of the Year #TIMEPOY https://t.co/ILo2CDwuQZ pic.twitter.com/5tnfRTXpiJ— TIME (@TIME) December 11, 2019
Lizzo took up the flute at a young age and joined a marching band. She told NPR: “I was the baddest piccolo in the land, 'cause I got big lungs. And I was really determined.”
Later, she went to Houston University and majored in classical flute performance.
Now, she shares her flute-playing skills with her 1.2 million followers on Instagram too, although *ahem* we probably can’t share most of these videos, due to some particularly fruity language.
What we can share is the flute’s very own Instagram page. Yes, Sasha the flute has Instagram. She shares tricky flute passages like this:
And slightly less taxing scores like this one:
The music Lizzo plays isn't your standard pop song three-note motif – it's proper improvisation. There are trills and chromatic runs in abundance, which bring an awareness of jazz and classical music to her vast audience.
When she first broke onto the scene, some people haters were quick to assume Lizzo was faking her flute playing. And in true Lizzo style, she responded with an acrobatic flute riff, saying in an Instagram post: “For the weirdos that think I have the TIME to fabricate a flute back-story, RENT a flute to tour with and PRETEND to play.”
Watch an operatic baritone perfectly mix Rossini's ‘Figaro’ aria with Kendrick Lamar >
Her flute playing doesn't come without a clear intention either. Lizzo told NPR: “You just wait until this nerd gets into hip-hop. I will make everybody love the flute again.”
She does all of this on top of a fully-choreographed dance routine and some pretty impressive vocals, making us down right envious of her breath control. Lizzo, we salute you.