Melissa Jefferson (born April 27, 1988 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.), known professionally as Lizzo, is an American rapper and singer. She is a founding member of indie hip hop groups The Chalice, Grrrl Prty, The Clerb, Ellypseas, and Absynthe. Her debut album, Lizzobangers, was released in 2013. In 2015, she released her sophomore album, Big Grrrl Small World.
Born in Detroit in the late 80’s, Lizzo spent much of her formative years in the church, where she was raised on the gospel sounds of The Winans, The Clark Sisters, and Fred Hammond, along with mainstay secular artists such as Stevie Wonder and Elton John. At the age of 10 her family moved to Houston, TX, and Lizzo was exposed to a wide array of emerging Southern musical styles, from the trademark chopped and screwed rap tracks of the underground, to the progressive and polished R&B sounds of groups like Destiny’s Child that were raising the city’s national profile to new heights. In fact, it was after she stumbled across a Destiny’s Child performance at Wal-Mart that Lizzo—then a 5th grader-- was inspired to start writing music on her own. Over the next decade that decision would take her through the trenches of some of the most varied musical genres: R&B girl groups (I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S., Cornrow Clique), progressive rock bands (Elypseas), solo rap ventures, and electro-pop duos (Lizzo & The Larva Ink).
In 2011 she made the move to Minneapolis with Larva Ink in order to be a part of that city’s blossoming and collaborative musical community. Lizzo & The Larva Ink was well received there, and the group earned a few encouraging nods from the press. Lizzo was soon introduced to Sophia Eris and Claire de Lune, with whom she would form The Chalice, the three-piece all-female rap/R&B group that would elevate Lizzo’s profile and reputation. In 2012 The Chalice released We Are The Chalice, an album that would gain them instant local success amongst fans and critics alike, garnering City Pages’ prestigious Best New Band and Picked To Click accolades in the same year.