Houston Transplant Lizzo Stirs Up National Taste For "Batches & Cookies"

Photo courtesy of Lizzo
Female powerhouse and Houston expat Lizzo is helping to redefine the image of women in hip-hop by way of her new hometown in Minnesota.
Say what you will about our music scene, Houston has served as a platform for the emergence of successful commercial recording artists from ZZ Top and Kenny Rogers all the way to Destiny's Child and Slim Thug -- and that dynasty may yet survive today.

Case in point: rising hip-hop Amazon woman Lizzo (aka Melissa Jefferson), who is currently amassing an impressive recognition as opening act for indie-adored singer-songwriter Har Mar Superstar and now making the online rounds with the video for her new single "Batches & Cookies."

A recent transplant to Minneapolis, Lizzo cut her teeth in Houston's local scene as the front woman and signature flutist for retired prog-rock quintet Ellypseas. It was with that band -- which she still calls "the family" -- that she says she really experienced her baptism as an artist.

"That group taught me how to sing, how to perform, how to rock out," remembers Lizzo, who grew up singing gospel in church. "I'm forever grateful for my rock past."

It was after the band had parted ways in late 2010 and while eagerly seeking a new artistic outlet that Lizzo connected with Minneapolis-based DJ Johnny Lewis to form electro-pop duo Lizzo & The Larva Ink.

"After Ellypseas ended, I just went with the flow," Lizzo says. "I was so depressed and exhausted with everything that I just wanted to do things that made me feel good. I just started creating music with whoever wanted to make it with me."

After collaborating with her new creative partner remotely for several months, Lizzo decided to pack up and make the move to the "Mini-Apple." And from there, the opportunities came rolling in.

She eventually outgrew The Larva Ink and parted way with Lewis, then turning her full focus towards two different all-female projects, GRRRL PRTY and The Chalice. Both quickly garnered accolades from the local press and began building an impressive following around the Twin Cities.

Lizzo says the warm feelings her newfound home has afforded her to go both ways.

"I love the collaborative vibe of Minneapolis," she gushes. "Everyone wants to make art with each other -- everyone appreciates art. If you're an artist [here], you're just as important as a doctor."

Which is not to say that she's forgotten about good old H-town, which the Alief Elsik graduate and former U of H coed called home for more than a decade. Relocating from Detroit with her family, Lizzo came to Houston at the age of ten and became quickly enamored with its culture and drive.

"I miss H-town, baby," she exclaims. "I miss my friends, I miss Montrose, I don't miss the heat and humidity -- I'll be back."

Story continues on the next page.

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