The first Monday in November was a predictably drizzly and grimly grey affair in Dublin, but one corner of the city was sending out all the positivity, as Lizzo became the latest figure to be beamed off a city centre wall.
Like the spectacular Stormzy piece that appeared in Smithfield overnight in 2017, the Lizzo piece by Dublin-based artist Emmalene Blake off Chatham Street is an automatic wtf beacon of good vibes, with the general consensus being, ‘I can’t believe I get to see Lizzo wishing me good day on the way to work”. While Stormzy took a selfie at the Subset mural and started using it as his iPhone screensaver, The singer / rapper / classical flautist shared an image of her Dublin likeness with her trademark OMG humility.
Also like Stormzy, the Lizzo mural appeared just before a massive high-profile long sold-out show at the Olympia — this time one of the most over-subscribed tickets of the year, selling out in a few seconds. A tribute Singalong Social event, Lizzo and You Appreciation Day offering a ‘Diva Disco’, panel discussions and ‘hair toss workshops’ is even sold out — and it starts at 3pm the day of the gig. People will be arriving at the Olympia with all the for one of 2019’s most beloved crossover artists.
The Houston Texas artists has said before that she’s got a dual personality — she’s Melissa Vivienne Jefferson, a classically trained flautist who could’ve taken the symphony orchestra path, while Lizzo is her hip-hop soul diva alter-ego, styled from Lissa and Jay-Z’s Izzo (H.O.V.A.).
She emerged in 2013 with her underground album of ruffneck boom-bap rap suitably named Lizzobangers, with a manifesto of body positivity, self-love and self-confidence and a declaration: “The only rapper with a womb that’ll spit that 16 bars to send you rappers to the tomb.”
Her pop world domination and fan devotion would come six years and two albums later with 2019’s Cuz I Love You. Following her inclusivity anthem My Skin on 2015’s Big Grrrl, Small World, Lizzo joyously doubled down on the themes for her latest album, with a tantalising lead-up to release with some TV spots that were this year’s Future Islands on Letterman — mic drops and flute drops all over network telly. She even released a video riffing on Anchor Man’s Jazz Flute scene, with a hilarious skit around her smash hit Juice.
The album is a polished crossover celebration, starting with the title track that comes on like a Broadway curtain closer show tune, while there’s plenty of powerful soul belters among the brazen rap bravura and guest spots from her icon Missy Elliott and Atlanta trap lord Gucci Mane.
Juice has been something of a funk-pop anthem of 2019, on playlists, ads and festival ‘best bits’ — with her early evening Glastonbury 2019 slot causing a mass freakout: “Your transgressions can be your greatest blessings, bitch.” Word.
Like Stormzy coming back to Ireland after his Olympia gig and headlining Longitude and playing his own huge outdoor shows, don’t be surprised if every festival here is locked in an arms race bidding war to book Lizzo for next summer. And if she’s booked for Electric Picnic, expect a turnout to rival the record-breaking crowds for Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish in the last two years.
And if you’ve got a ticket for the Olympia, you can probably get away with boring everyone around you saying you were there and it really was Good As Hell.
- Lizzo plays Dublin’s Olympia this Sunday, November 10.