Jan. 10 promises to be a full circle experience for Lizzo. It was about three years ago the then Houston, Texas, resident took to the Varsity Theater stage in Dinkytown with her band and the goal of gauging how Minneapolis would be as a place to be a musician.
“I received so much support in one show,” Lizzo said. “It completely won me over.”
With that feeling in mind Lizzo (Melissa Jefferson by birth) moved shop to Minneapolis. At this point it’s more than safe to say her new home has suited her. The last year in particular has been a whirlwind of success following the October, 2013 release of her first solo album, Lizzobangers, which launched her onto the national radar and garnered critical acclaim. Lizzo has toured both the U.S. and United Kingdom since then, including a performance in October on “The Late Show With David Letterman.”
“(The last year) feels like it has been a decade,” Lizzo said. “It has been incredible.”
It’s perfect timing then, Lizzo said, that the start of 2015 brings her back to the Varsity Theater for the fourth annual To The Bridge Foundation benefit concert. On top of her excitement to play with Toki Wright and Big Cats (“He’s such a wonderful musician and a good man,” she said), Lizzo said she is looking forward the most to lending her support “to something I strongly believe in.”
“I’ve seen a lot of drug and alcohol abuse in my life,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s never something someone chooses for themselves. It’s a disease.”
Lizzo said she appreciates the meshing of TTBF’s goals – helping those with addiction build bridges to the next stages of their lives – and the idea of having control of your body and self, which she has focused on in the past year.
“Whether it’s getting over body dysmorphic issues or dealing with alcohol addiction, it’s this idea of taking care of yourself,” she said. “I want to continue focusing on that.”
Richard Dolski, director of To the Bridge Foundation, is excited to have support from artists like Lizzo, Toki Wright and Big Cats for the concert. “We’ve been so lucky to have great artists over the years, this year is no exception. This year’s proceeds will help us continue to fulfill our mission.” Lizzo and Toki Wright and Big Cats support TTBF and its fourth annual concert” Tickets for the show are currently on sale at ticketfly.com.
Lizzo added that she has long appreciated the value of music as a universal language that can help the way people feel about themselves.
“I try to stay true to myself about loving yourself and having self-respect,” she said. “If a musician makes something self-respecting it will help people respect themselves when they connect with it. It’s a tidal wave.”
That tidal wave is set to wash over the Varsity Theater on Jan. 10, a prime opportunity for people in Lizzo’s music home to connect with the budding artist and support a message of hope and self-respect.
“I’m really looking forward to talking with people who have overcome substance abuse, alcohol addiction and are working on sobriety now. It will be great to hear their stories and celebrate,” Lizzo said. “We’re gonna take some pictures, get some high fives and play some great music. I can’t wait.”