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Lizzo is one of the hottest rising stars of 2019. Known for her catchy, upbeat songs and overall positive attitude, the 31-year-old star is seriously making a name for herself in the music industry.

Many people have heard of Lizzo, but not many know where the name came from. After all, it is not exactly her real first name. If you’re curious about why she is called Lizzo, read on below to find out more about this talented artist.

Who is Lizzo?

Lizzo | Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

Lizzo was born Melissa Viviane Jefferson on April 27, 1988. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, but later moved with her family to Houston, Texas.

She was exposed to music at a young age. Lizzo’s family is very religious, so gospel music was always playing at her home. However, when she moved to Houston, she became enthralled by hip-hop, which was something that many kids around her loved listening to.

“There was a lot of freestyling on the [school] bus, there was a lot of freestyling in the cafeteria, and there was a lot of freestyling on the radio,” Lizzo explained to NPR. “And I would call into this morning show and try to get through so I could do the freestyle.”

Additionally, Lizzo was an active part of her school’s music program. In sixth grade, she learned to play the flute at the suggestion of a band director and fell in love with it. She revealed to NPR that she ended up being in marching band from eighth grade until college (she attended the University of Houston). The flute is still a part of her today and she has played it in many of her songs.

How did Lizzo become famous?

Lizzo released her first album, Lizzobangers, in 2013 and saw moderate success. However, she did not gain much attention from the mainstream public until 2019 when her song “Truth Hurts” was featured in the Netflix film Someone Great.

Although the single was actually released in 2017, it shot up the Billboard chart in 2019 and gave Lizzo her first real hit.

Another song that Lizzo released this year, “Juice,” also became popular and racking up millions of plays on streaming networks such as Spotify.

In April 2019, Lizzo performed with Janelle Monáe at Coachella. Later on, in May, she collaborated with Charli XCX on the song “Blame It on Your Love.”

Just when it seems like Lizzo could not get any more talented, she the star unveiled another skill she has up her sleeves: acting. She voiced a character in the recently-released animated film Ugly Dolls. In the fall, Lizzo will also appear in the movie Hustlers featuring other well-known celebrities such as Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, and Cardi B.

A part of how Lizzo became so popular is her positive energy. She is looking to not only set an example for girls everywhere to love their bodies and be proud of who they, but Lizzo wants more diverse representation in the media.

“I want to put women who look like me in the mainstream, I want that visibility and fairness,” she told Vogue. “Visibility is important because it lets people know those opportunities are available. I want little girls to see me and my dancers and be like ‘Hey, I can do that too.'”

Where did Lizzo’s stage name come from?

Now that Lizzo is poised to be the next big artist of this generation, it’s time to learn about where her stage name came from.

As revealed by The Cut, when Lizzo was 14 years old, she and two classmates formed a rap group called the Cornrow Clique. Originally, she was just supposed to be called Lissa (taken from her real name, Melissa). However, Jay-Z’s song “Izzo” was popular at the time, so she was inspired to change her name to Lizzo. She has not looked back ever since.