Lizzo Once Experienced Homelessness But Still Considered Herself Privileged

Singer, rapper, and flutist extraordinaire, Lizzo is one of the biggest stars in the music industry. She has been working in music for years, but only recently achieved fame, with singles such as “Juice” and “Truth Hurts” becoming smash hits in the United States. Lizzo is also a body positivity advocate and regularly speaks out on the importance of self-love and confidence. Still, there was a time when Lizzo was seriously struggling and didn’t even have a place to call her own. She’s experienced tremendous success since but Lizzo is not shy about getting real about her more difficult times.

How did Lizzo become famous?

Lizzo visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show."
Lizzo | Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

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Lizzo was born Melissa Viviane Jefferson in Detroit, Michigan, in 1988. When she was 10, Lizzo and her family moved to Houston, where she developed an interest in music and rapping.

As a teenager, Lizzo and her friends formed their own rap group, but the young artist wasn’t confined to just one genre — she went on to study classical music at the University of Houston. During her stint in college, she became an expert at playing the flute, and the instrument is now a staple in her stage shows.

In 2011, Lizzo moved to Minnesota, where she worked with several other groups in an attempt to break into the music business.

In 2013, she released her debut album, Lizzobangers. While her album caught the attention of critics and some fans, it would still be several more years before the artist really made it big. In fact, it wasn’t until early 2019, when she released the song “Juice,” that people really caught on to her brilliance. 

Lizzo is a triple-threat entertainer

Following the success of “Juice,” Lizzo released her album Cuz I Love You. Her fame continued to grow after the release of the album and was further bolstered by her innovative and entertaining music videos as well as her energetic stage performances. Lizzo favors bold, colorful stage outfits, including leotards with lots of glitter and sequins. The singer has never been shy about the importance of self-confidence, and doesn’t allow any of the haters to drag her down.

In 2019, Lizzo expanded her repertoire by appearing in Jennifer Lopez’s hit film Hustlers. Although Lizzo’s role was small, it made an impact, and fans couldn’t get enough of her sassy on-screen persona. She appeared on Saturday Night Live, began campaigning for the cosmetics company Urban Decay, and established herself as a pop culture phenomenon. 

Lizzo was once homeless

Lizzo’s stage performances are currently on hold, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, it seems likely that when she gets back to performing, her fame will only continue to grow.

For all her success now, it wasn’t that long ago when Lizzo didn’t even have an apartment or home of her own. In July 2019, Lizzo admitted that when she was 21 years old, and first trying to break into the entertainment industry, she experienced homelessness.

For that period of time, Lizzo would stay with friends and occasionally even sleep in her car. There’s no doubt it was a trying time. However, Lizzo doesn’t look back on that time of her life with any real negativity.

As she admitted: “I think that I had a luxury and a privilege to be able to sleep on the floor of my drummer’s house, to be able to sleep in a car my sister gave me, to be able to sleep at the studio where my rock band performed, to be able to sneak into 24-Hour Fitness and use the showers there.”

Those days are long behind her now, but she will probably always remember that time in her life and use it as an incentive to keep pushing forward.