Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for American Express
Everything We Know About Lizzo's New Album 'Special'
Ahead of the release of Lizzo's 'Special,' out July 15, here's a rundown of details about the much-anticipated new album.
Lizzo has become one of music's most infectious talents, creating hits that shed light on important topics like self-esteem and inclusivity all topped with a cheeky smile. So when the Houston-repping artist took three years away to craft her new album to perfection, her fans — the Lizzbians, as Lizzo declared herself in 2019 — knew the wait was going to be worth it.
In April, Lizzo announced the release of her fourth studio album and second major-label LP, Special, due July 15. The news came just two days before the singer made her hosting debut on Saturday Night Live, where she also performed lead single "About Damn Time" and the title track — both of which tease that Special is going to be full of her trademark empowering anthems.
Special follows 2019's GRAMMY-winning Cuz I Love You, which took home gramophones for Best Pop Solo Performance ("Truth Hurts"), Traditional R&B Performance ("Jerome"), and Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2020.
The new album also comes at a booming time in Lizzo's career: her reality competition series Watch Out For The Big Grrrls premiered on Amazon Studios in March, the same month she released her shapewear brand Yitty.
Below, see all the goods GRAMMY.com gathered about Lizzo's highly anticipated new album, Special, thus far.
The Album Is Titled Special, Arriving July 15
After initially teasing the album's completion during her keynote speaker session at SXSW, Lizzo officially announced Special on Instagram on April 14. The singer kept her caption brief — "SPECIAL. THE ALBUM. JULY 15." — letting the striking black and white portrait cover speak for itself.
She Narrowed Down The 12-Song Track List From 200
As Lizzo told SiriusXM's The Heat, she wrote nearly 200 songs for the album, which she started recording in 2018.
"I needed to go through life and get a lot of things off my chest," she said. "I had a lot happen interpersonally, a lot has happened globally and I think I needed to process that. The way that I process things is through writing music. So I was writing these songs, but then I just needed to keep going until I found my sweet spot and what the world needed to hear.
"I also wanted to make a thorough album," she continued. "I didn't want to just make a bunch of singles or random songs that I thought were the coolest. I wanted to put a real body of work together so I can make a classic album because I just want to only make classics. I like my music and I want to continue to like my music."
Although the album's full track list has yet to be revealed, Special will include 12 tracks according to its pre-order page on Apple Music.
The Title Is An Intentional Confidence Booster
Since her 2013 debut album Lizzobangers, Lizzo has always intended to make people feel like they belong with her music — so it's no surprise that her latest album is called Special. In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, she revealed that a certain pop music mastermind informed the title's decision-making.
"The album was called In Case Nobody Told You for a while, and then Max Martin came on and he helped me change the hook a little bit and restructured it," she explained. "He was like, 'Special, Special. The song is Special.' I was like, 'Okay.' Then one day, I had this aha moment where I'm like, 'Oh sh-t, the album is Special. Literally, the album is special, and I'm special.'
"I want the person [who hears] this to feel special," she added. "Everything now has this special feel to it, and this glow, this sparkle. Ever since that's the era I'm moving into. It's out of the darkness and into the light."
Lizzo Brands It As A "Love Album"
The singer's discography is filled with themes of love, from recovering from heartbreak to finding self-love. And for Special, she's doubling down from 2019's Cuz I Love You and exploring all facets of love — as evidenced by the vanity of "About Damn Time" and "Special" as well as the best friend anthem "Grrrls."
In February, Lizzo shared with Variety how "shocked" she was that this is an album all about love. While she played it coy on whether she's currently enamored with a special someone, she did allude to the music reflecting her personal relationships.
"I think that I will never be the kind of artist that's like this album is about a story I wrote; it's not real," Lizzo said. "I'm always just a very personal, like I'm-talking-to-my-friend-on- the-phone-with-really-good-music-behind-me b<em></em><em></em>. I will say this: It is a love album."
It's Filled With Nonstop Bangers
For Special, Lizzo will continue to provide the same electric feeling found in hits like "Good As Hell," "Juice" and "Truth Hurts."
During an April interview with ET Canada, the singer shared that she switched up the album last minute in order to match the sparkling vibe of "About Damn Time." "I think I had an epiphany like, 'Oh I only want songs that are love frequency', like, very about love, and also bangers," she explained. "I wanted to make Lizzobangers again. So even if it's a ballad, it bangs. Every song is memorable and delicious and you want to hear it again and again and again."
She Teamed Up With Various Pop Music Virtuosos
Lizzo isn't a one-genre woman: she's dabbled in rap, pop, R&B, and disco — and on top of that, she plays the flute as expertly as a classical musician. For Special, she's gathered top producers and songwriters who are also known for blurring the genre lines.
Lizzo reunited with Ricky Reed — the producer behind "Truth Hurts" — and songwriter/producer Blake Slatkin (who produced 24kGoldn's "Mood" with iann dior and Kid LAROI's "Stay" with Justin Bieber) for her vibrant "About Damn Time" single.
"She's just so herself, and I think she's unbelievably brave. She has stood up for a lot of things that she believes in in the past, and I always respect any artist that does that," Slatkin shared with Billboard in June. "She lets people into her life — I think the world feels like they're friends with her. She gives you the feeling that you know her and can talk to her, and if you were with her in the room, you would be dancing to her songs together. I've always admired artists that give you that feeling."
As she shared with Zane Lowe, Lizzo also got in the studio with Max Martin for the title track; additionally, she revealed to Australia's Cool Accidents that she collaborated with Mark Ronson.
In an interview with the Spout Podcast, Lizzo said she jokingly asked actor Chris Evans — whom she has playfully flirted with in her DMs — to play piano on the album after the Captain America star showed off his skills on social media, but that didn't come to fruition. And unfortunately for those who love Lizzo's friendship with Harry Styles, it's looking like the pop star won't make an appearance either.
"That is so funny. The internet going to internet," she said in the same interview. "That's all I'll say about that."
Read More: 10 Artists Who Have Stood Up For Women In Music: Taylor Swift, Lizzo & More
The Album Will Continue Her Mission To Motivate
Along with allusions to her love life, the album will embrace self-love — a theme that is the core of not just Lizzo's music, but her mission as an entertainer as a whole. As someone who has received backhanded compliments for her curves and how she embraces her sexuality, Lizzo aims for fans to discover unapologetic confidence just like she has.
"I had a lot of fear, and I had to do the work on myself, and this music is some of that work in turning that fear into love," Lizzo told Zane Lowe. "I hope that when people listen to this album, it makes their day just a little bit better, a little bit more filled with love."
Lizzo Is Taking The Album On The Road Very Soon
Lizzo's Special era is about to become even more, well, special. She'll embark on her very first headlining arena tour in North America — aptly titled the Special Tour — this fall.
"3 years since my last tour… and I'm finally coming back to YOU!" she posted on social media on April 25. The trek kicks off Sept. 23 in Florida's FLA Live Arena and will feature rapper Latto as support.
With an album and tour on the horizon, there's no doubt that 2022 will be nothing short of Special for Lizzo and her Lizzbians.
070 Shake's 'You Can't Kill Me' Surrenders To Love & Mortality With '80s Flair
Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images
8 Artists Who Were Inspired By Their Teachers: Rihanna, Adele, Jay-Z & More
In honor of Music In Our Schools Month this March, take a look at how teachers made a heartwarming impact on superstars like Katy Perry and John Legend.
Before Rihanna, Billy Joel and Jay-Z became some of the biggest names in music, they were students just like the rest of us. Without some particularly special teachers, they might not be the superstars they are today, and they all remember who first encouraged them.
Within the past few years, Rihanna made a special trip to a cricket match in England to reunite with her old P.E. teacher from Barbados, who she calls her "MVP"; Joel traveled back to his New York hometown to honor the teacher who said he should be a professional musician; and Jay-Z told David Letterman that his sixth grade English teacher made him fall in love with words.
In honor of Music In Our Schools Month — which raises awareness for supporting and cultivating worthwhile music programs in K-12 — GRAMMY.com highlights eight artists who have praised their teachers for making a lifelong impact.
After watching Joel tackle Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23, his high school music appreciation teacher Chuck Arnold suggested that he consider music as a career.
"He said to me, you should be a professional musician," Joel recalled of his Hicksville High School mentor during a 1996 event at C.W. Post College. "Now, for a teacher to say that, it's like condemning someone to a life of poverty, drug taking, alcoholism and failure.
"A teacher is telling me this," he added seriously. "It had a huge influence on me."
In 2022, Joel was on hand to congratulate Arnold during the dedication of the Charles "Chuck" Arnold Theatre at the school. "This is for the coolest teacher there ever was," he praised.
.@CBSSunday surprised Lizzo with her high school band director, who encouraged her to apply herself when she was learning to play the flute — and her reaction was priceless: “Wow, I did it, didn't I?” https://t.co/dwffNvYzpb pic.twitter.com/xp5kDK5pWB— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 6, 2019
In 2019, CBS Sunday arranged a surprise visit with the singer and Manny Gonzales, the former band director at her alma mater, Elsik High School in Houston. She told the network that Gonzales helped her get a scholarship to study classical flute at University of Houston.
"You told my ass!" Lizzo exclaimed as she squeezed him. "You were like, 'Get it together, girl, 'cause you are special. Apply yourself!' Those moments meant so much to me."
The Atlanta DJ/producer and king of crunk has done more than take parties to the next level — he has invested in the educational future of children in Africa by building two schools in Ghana with the non-profit organization Pencils of Promise. He credits a mentor at Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta for sparking his brain when he was a teenager.
"It was my music teacher [who inspired me to dream bigger]," he said in a 2019 interview with Yahoo! "I wanted to play drums, and if I didn't play drums, I wouldn't make music, and drums are the foundation for what I do."
Roddy Estwick was Rihanna's P.E. teacher in Barbados and is now the assistant coach of the West Indies cricket team. The two had an emotional reunion at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.
"He made a lasting impact on my life and he really offered great advice to me and many others when we were at school at Combermere," she told Barbados Today amid their reunion. "I just wanted to let everyone know what he meant to me in my development and what he did for us back at school in Barbados." Essence reported that Rihanna described him as, "My mentor, my champ, my MVP" on her Instagram stories.
The Ohio native credits his English teacher Mrs. Bodey at North High School in Springfield for setting him on the path that culminated in his music career.
"Until her class, I hadn't believed in my ability as a writer," Legend shared in a 2017 op-ed for Huffington Post. "She recognized my potential and showed me that I could write with creativity, with clarity, with passion."
He continued, "Mrs. Bodey, along with a few other teachers, helped me gain confidence in my skills and pushed me to challenge myself. They pushed me to graduate second in my class. They pushed me to deliver the speech at our graduation. They pushed me to earn a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, to hone my writing as an English Major and, ultimately, toward a successful career as a songwriter."
The singer was reunited with the most pivotal teacher in her life during her "An Audience with Adele" concert special in 2021. While the singer took questions from the crowd, actress Emma Thompson asked Adele if she had a supporter or protector in the past.
"I had a teacher at [south London high school] Chestnut Grove, who taught me English. That was Miss McDonald," Adele said. "She got me really into English literature. Like, I've always been obsessed with English and obviously now I write lyrics… She really made us care, and we knew that she cared about us."
Miss McDonald then surprised Adele on stage, and the singer was brought to tears — a touching highlight of the special. She even told her former teacher that she still has the books from her class!
While Perry has admitted that she wishes she had a better overall education, her former music school teacher gave her confidence to pursue singing seriously.
"I'm kind of bummed at this stage that I didn't have a great education because I could really use that these days," she said in a 2014 interview with Yahoo! "There was a teacher named Agatha Danoff who was my vocal teacher and music teacher at the Music Academy of the West. It was very fancy and I didn't come from any money… and she always used to give me a break on my lessons. I owe her a lot of credit and I appreciate that she looked out for me when I didn't have enough money to pay."
Picture a young Shawn Carter — now better known as Jay-Z — with his head stuck in a dictionary.
"I had a sixth grade teacher, her name was Ms. Lowden and I just loved the class so much," Jay-Z said during his appearance on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman in 2018.
He later realized how much Renee Rosenblum-Lowden, who taught him at Intermediate School 318 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, had an influence on his passion for language. "Like, reading the dictionary and just my love of words," he explained. "I just connected with her."
"I knew he was extremely bright, but he was quiet," Rosenblum-Lowden told Brut in 2019, sharing that he scored at the 12th-grade level on a sixth-grade reading test.
"He's been very kind," she added. "Every famous person has a teacher who probably influenced them, and I wish they would all shout out the way Jay-Z did."
Meet Me @ The Altar Reveal The 4 "Badass" Female Artists Who Inspired Their Debut Album, 'Past // Present // Future'
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
The 2023 GRAMMYs Effect: Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo & More See Major Sales And Streams Boost After Record-Breaking Show
Take a look at the impressive gains that 2023 GRAMMYs winners and performers made in Spotify streams and album/song sales, from Beyoncé to Harry Styles.
The 2023 GRAMMYs weren't just historic, they were iconic — and the numbers show it.
The telecast itself saw a 30% increase in viewership, with more than 12.4 million viewers tuning into the Feb. 5 ceremony, the best ratings since 2020 per Nielsen data. In turn, several of the night's winners and performers saw major spikes in sales and streams.
Album Of The Year winner Harry Styles returned to the top 10 of the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, as Harry's House — which also took home the GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album — earned 38,000 equivalent album units in the U.S., a 51% gain. His previous two albums, 2019's Fine Line and his 2017 self-titled debut also made gains, the former up 15% and the latter up 11%.
Kendrick Lamar and Adele also enjoyed increases in sales and streams on several albums. Lamar — who won three GRAMMYs this year, including Best Rap Album for Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers — had a 20% gain for his fifth LP, as well as a 26% gain for 2015's To Pimp a Butterfly, 11% for 2017's DAMN., and 6% for 2012's good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Adele's 30 had a 25% increase in equivalent album units, while her 2015 album 25 went up 14% and 2011 release 21 went up 10%. (30's lead single, "Easy On Me," earned Adele her fifth GRAMMY for Best Pop Solo Performance — a record in the category.)
After Beyoncé made GRAMMY history at the 2023 ceremony with her 32nd win, her Best Dance/Electronic Music Album-winning RENAISSANCE made a huge jump. The album earned 37,000 equivalent album units, up 109%, helping Bey move from No. 24 to No. 11 on the Billboard 200.
Rising jazz star Samara Joy also had a monumental night, scoring the coveted GRAMMY for Best New Artist. As a result, her 2022 album, Linger Awhile, made its debut on the Billboard 200, with an equivalent album units gain of 319% and a 5,800% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S. The project also hit No. 1 on the Jazz Albums, Traditional Jazz Albums and Heatseekers Albums charts for the first time, as well as the top 10 of the Top Album Sales and Top Current Album Sales charts.
Blues great Bonnie Raitt's win for Song Of The Year (for her 2022 track "Just Like That") served as one of the night's biggest surprises, but also served as a catalyst for some serious streams and sales success. The song spiked from about 10,000 daily on-demand streams in the U.S. on Feb. 3 to 697,000 the day after the GRAMMYs (Feb. 6) — a gain of around 6,700% — according to Luminate. The song's sales were even better, gaining more than 10,000% on Feb. 6; the rest of Raitt's discography also climbed 161%, from 333,000 on-demand U.S. streams on Feb. 3 to 869,000 on Feb. 6.
Most of the 2023 GRAMMYs performers also celebrated sales and streams increases post-telecast. Show opener Bad Bunny saw gains on his GRAMMY-winning albumUn Verano Sin Ti (up 16%), as well as his 2020 albums YHLQMDLG (up 11%) and El Ultimo Tour del Mundo (up 8%). One of the songs Bad Bunny performed, Un Verano Sin Ti single "Despues de la Playa," also saw a 100% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S. in the hour following the telecast.
Lizzo delivered a soaring medley of her Record Of The Year-winning smash "About Damn Time" and the title track from her AOTY-nominated LP Special, the latter of which saw a 260% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S. after the show. Special also moved 11,000 equivalent album units, up 52%.
Steve Lacy won his first GRAMMY in the Premiere Ceremony, Best Progressive R&B Album for his album Gemini Rights. He also took the GRAMMYs stage for a sultry rendition of his hit "Bad Habit," all helping Lacy see a 16% increase in equivalent album units for Gemini Rights.
Sam Smith and Kim Petras also celebrated a historic win at the 2023 GRAMMYs, taking home Best Pop Duo/Group performance for their viral hit "Unholy" — marking the first win in the category by a trans woman. That moment, combined with the pair's risqué performance, helped the song see an almost 80% increase in Spotify streams in the U.S.
The heartfelt In Memoriam segment catalyzed stream increases, the biggest coming from Quavo's "Without U," which he sang in tribute to his late Migos bandmate and nephew Takeoff; the song jumped 890% in U.S. streams following the show. Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird," which Mick Fleetwood, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow sang in honor of late Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie, experienced an almost 100% increase in U.S. streams.
In other U.S. Spotify stream gains for performers, Harry Styles' "As It Was," saw a more than 75% increase; Brandi Carlile's "Broken Horses" saw a more than 2,700% increase; DJ Khaled's star-studded "God Did" (featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and John Legend) saw a more than 650% increase; Mary J. Blige's "Good Morning Gorgeous" saw a more than 390% increase.
Streaming numbers are from DKC News, a PR representative of Spotify.
12 Classic Moments From The 2023 GRAMMYs, From The Heartwarming To The Surreal
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
12 Classic Moments From The 2023 GRAMMYs, From The Heartwarming To The Surreal
From Harry Styles' adorable fan moment to Taylor Swift dancing merengue during Bad Bunny's performance, here are 12 memorable moments from the 2023 GRAMMYs.
When the 2023 GRAMMYs wrapped, viewers weren't just talking about the history-making wins or the dynamo performances.
The internet being the internet, some of the spontaneous, in-between moments — the ones that can only happen during Music's Biggest Night — got a comparable amount of ink, from Adele's surreal meeting with the Rock to Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny's much-memed photo op.
Below, revisit 12 classic, memeable moments from the 2023 GRAMMYs — the ones that the internet is built to receive with laughs, applause and memes galore.
Lizzo Was… A Bouquet?
Lizzo — who won big for Record Of The Year for "About Damn Time" — stepped out in an impressively floral and voluminous getup courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana. Perhaps looking ahead to the vernal equinox, Ms. Bad Bitch O'Clock captioned her Instagram post, "Spring awakening."
Adele Met The Rock For The First Time…
It was her lifelong dream. Shouldn't it be everyone's? And the Rock made it even sweeter with his request to join him onstage, when she won Best Pop Solo Performance: “Get up here, best friend!”
…And Posed With Two Fellow Pop Queens
Everyone seemed to lose their minds over this one — Lizzo included!
Taylor Swift Danced Merengue To Bad Bunny
Swifties might need months of recovery from this moment. As one Twitter user put it, "Taylor Swift dancing to Bad Bunny altered my brain chemistry forever."
Chris Martin's Astronomical Look
Mirroring Coldplay's Music of the Spheres' celestial vibe with his threads, Martin showed up to Music's Biggest Night looking dashingly wizardly.
Lil Uzi Vert's Goku-Like Appearance
During the Hip Hop 50 segment, the celebrated rapper looked ready to go Kamehameha on Crypto.com Arena.
Bonnie Raitt's Astonished Reaction
The Americana legend's Song Of The Year win for "Just Like That," the only nominated song to feature one songwriter, was a massive win for purveyors of songwriting's basics — an instrument, a voice and a pen. Judging by Raitt's expression, she felt the magnitude of the moment completely.
Bad Bunny & Taylor Swift's Photo Op
Trust us: this was memed to the nth degree.
The Crowd Grooved To Hip-Hop 50
A litany of familiar faces — from Bad Bunny to Jay-Z to Taylor Swift — jammed along with the historic salute to hip-hop, which featured countless of the genre's stars from several generations, including Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Scarface, Missy Elliott, Lil Uzi Vert and many more.
Trevor Noah: Special GRAMMY Delivery!
GRAMMY record-setter Queen Bey was famously late to the 2023 GRAMMYs due to traffic — so host Trevor Noah played delivery boy the first golden gramophone she won on the telecast, Best R&B Song for "CUFF IT.".
Harry Styles Celebrated With A Superfan
Last but certainly not least, Album Of The Year winner Harry Styles got to share the big moment with one of his biggest fans — a woman named Reina, one of 10 superfans highlighted throughout the ceremony — as she awarded him his golden gramophone.
Not only did he give her a huge hug upon talking the stage, but he made sure to give her a fist bump after delivering his acceptance speech.
Music's Biggest Night always seems to spawn countless memorable happenings — and we're anxious to see what memeable moments will transpire at the 2024 GRAMMYs!
2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Winners & Nominees List
Photo: Timothy Norris / Stringer / Getty Images
Lizzo, Beyoncé, Bad Bunny and More Celebrate 2023 GRAMMYs Wins on Social Media
Following the 2023 GRAMMYs, artists including Lizzo, Beyoncé, Kim Petras, reacted and shared award-winning moments from Music’s Biggest Night on social media.
Following the 2023 GRAMMYs, artists including Lizzo, Beyoncé, Kim Petras, and more shared award-winning moments from Music’s Biggest Night with the fans that made their careers possible.
Catch up on the 2023 GRAMMY Awards atlive.GRAMMY.com, where you can watch all of the 2023 GRAMMYs highlights in one place, including GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live red carpet special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, behind-the-scenes backstage moments, and much, much more.
Lizzo honors the legends that came before her ground-breaking ‘Special’ GRAMMY win for Album of the Year.
Viola Davis makes her younger-self proud with her EGOT-making GRAMMY win.
Kim Petras makes GRAMMY history with an important first, winning Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for ‘Unholy’ with Sam Smith.
Bad Bunny shares thanks and appreciation for his 2023 GRAMMY wins with fans.
First-time GRAMMY-winner Samara Joy celebrates tearfully with her fans live on Instagram.
Queen Beyoncé poses with her 2023 GRAMMY wins that make her the most GRAMMY-winning artist of all time.