Lizzo on why positive pop rules now
American pop star Lizzo has made thousands of Australians feel "good as hell" in the midst of the bushfire emergency.
The 31-year-old frontwoman for the positive pop movement which has galvanised millions of fans around the world over the last year has donated to the relief effort, packed hampers for Foodbank Australia and offered the welcome escape of entertainment on her first Australian tour.
The powerhouse singer, rapper, twerking flautist blew up the global airwaves and charts in 2019 courtesy of the viral explosion of her 2016 singles Truth Hurts and Good As Hell.
"It just feels like there's one tragedy on top of another, lots of fear right now and uncertainty in the world," she said ahead of her FOMO festival shows in Sydney and Melbourne this weekend.
"It's been a rough start to the year and I think we all need to dance, we all need to smile and it was good for me too."
Her headlining shows at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne's Forum last week sold out within minutes in November, with tens of thousands of frustrated fans desperate to buy tickets to see the Truth Hurts star.
Those shows demonstrated just how widely her music, imbued with mantras about self-love and body positivity, have struck a chord.
The audience screaming along to Good As Hell, Truth Hurts and other favourite songs including Like A Girl, Tempo, Boys and Juice, ran the gamut from little girls wearing handmade tribute T-shirts to their grandparents.
The arrival of the tween and teen fans has been a surprise which Lizzo partly attributes to the TikTok dance challenge inspired by Truth Hurts.
"I don't know if it was from TikTok or just from the radio, but now there's a whole new generation of kids listening to music that encourages them to love themselves and accept their bodies," Lizzo said.
"And I remember what listening to music did for me, what other artists have done for me growing up, and it's really full circle to see that start to happen with my music.
"That was the goal … to help bring some type of positive change and positive influence to the world and the way we feel about ourselves and this is really starting to happen now."
The release of her third album Cuz I Love You kept has Lizzo fever rolling, with Time magazine naming her Entertainer of the Year.
She is up for eight Grammy Awards, and has been confirmed to perform at the ceremony in Los Angeles on January 27, with fellow multi-nominee Billie Eilish also on the line-up.
It is a performance she says she has been dreaming of since she started writing songs, rapping and singing at the age of nine.
"Billie Eilish is always so unique and special, Lil Nas X has this same joie de vivre you see in my shows," she said.
"That's why I like that tagline 'Unexpect Everything' because this year there's so many fresh faces at the Grammys, fresh creatives, fresh sounds, fresh ideas and I feel like this is something the music industry has wanted for a while. What a great way to usher in the new decade with fresh meat."
And she was also this week confirmed to be the first-ever female headliner to play the main stage at the annual Bonnaroo music festival which now rivals the VIP-studded Coachella in the US.
"I've been working so hard to be a great performer and put on great shows and this really is a milestone in my career as a performing artist, so that's a big deal," she said.
"But also, I wish I couldn't say I was the first woman, I wish there were many, many, many women already but we have to start somewhere, so why not start here?"
Her first Australian tour also gave the classically trained flautist the opportunity to play her instrument on the world-renowned Concert Hall stage, thanks to a production failure just before the encore.
Lizzo told News Corp in an exclusive interview last August about her ambition to play flute at the Opera House, but at that time she had no idea she would be performing her own show at the venue.
"We manifested that! I thought I was going to have to break in and play my flute," she said, laughing.
"It wasn't scheduled as part of the show. The lighting board shut down and when I left for the encore my stage manager was 'You have to wait because we have to reboot the lighting board.'
"I was looking at my flute, thinking 'Is this the universe or god telling me to just go out there and do it?' It was this real cosmic alignment, I was meant to do that.
"I was so scared because I didn't know what to play! So I played Juice.
"I can sing, rap, dance, talk, anything in front of me but for some reason, the flute is the thing I am most self-conscious about because it was the thing I was best at and the thing I worked the hardest at.
"So when I play in front of people I feel so nervous, I feel like I'm 14 years old auditioning for a state competition. (But) that was magic."
Lizzo performs at FOMO festival at Parramatta Park on Saturday and the Melbourne Showgrounds on Sunday.