Lizzo was 2019’s breakout star, rising to fame with her ability to sing, rap, and even act. Being that the singer is so new to the celebrity scene, many people did not know about her background and might be wondering whether or not Lizzo speaks Spanish.
It is thought that Lizzo doesn’t speak Spanish fluently. Though she grew up in Houston, which boasts a high number of Spanish speakers, Lizzo did not follow suit. Instead of focusing on foreign languages, Lizzo’s elective was band, where she studied playing the flute for years, even earning a scholarship for her musical skills.
Read more below about why Lizzo has been exposed to the Spanish language, the current trend of singers who use Spanish in their songs, but don’t actually speak it, and a list of singers who have mastered the Spanish language.
Houston and Spanish Speaking Statistics
Lizzo was born in Detroit, but her family moved to Houston, Texas when she was still a little girl. Though she has not publicly shown herself to be able to speak Spanish, it’s very unlikely she was not exposed to the language based on where she grew up.
Houston has 1.3 million residents who speak Spanish, making it one of the largest Spanish speaking cities in the United States. Not only that, but Houston is a part of Harris County, which boasts the second largest Hispanic population in the U.S., making it practically impossible that Lizzo did not encounter the foreign language there.
Spanish Speakers, Spanish Singers, and Spanglish
Though Lizzo’s music career took her far from the streets of Houston, she has made a name for herself in the music industry, able to rap and sing, with her songs crossing genres from Hip-Hop, R&B, and even pop music. Though Lizzo has not yet done so, many of her fellow singers have started the trend of singing in Spanish or Spanglish, even though they don’t speak the language.
Though it seems like a pop culture phenomenon, Spanglish has been around for decades. A blend of Spanish and English combined, Spanglish has no official rules, but is very common among Latino communities.
Why then, are so many artists including Spanglish in their songs? Part of it is that audiences love the “exotic sound,” though many view it as cultural appropriation and have issues with Latin music going mainstream when non-Latinos are singing the songs.
You can see some of today’s biggest stars practicing their Spanish skills in the YouTube video below.
Superstars Love Spanish
Regardless of its champions or detractors, Spanglish in music is used by some of the biggest artists in the world. Below is a list of top music stars who use Spanish in their music:
Beyonce is probably Houston’s most famous native. The Destiny’s Child front woman turned solo artist extraordinaire has used Spanish in several of her songs, but she doesn’t actually speak the language. Though she is not fluent, the singer did take care to properly pronounce her lyrics, telling People, “I did these songs phonetically, sentence by sentence, and I spent a lot of time … making sure it was perfect, because I didn’t want to disrespect the language, because it’s so beautiful.”
Shakira is a Colombian-born singer who can not only sing in Spanish, but also speaks the language fluently. In fact, Shakira has mastered four languages, though she has yet to release any songs in Portuguese or Italian.
Bruno Mars is another of today’s hottest singers who can speak and sing in Spanish. Despite this fact, he did not want to be labeled as a Latin singer, and so he changed his name from Peter Hernandez to Bruno Mars at the start of his career.
Ariana Grande is another famous pop star, who despite having Latin roots, cannot fluently speak the language, though she does sing in Spanish quite often.
As Lizzo continues to collaborate with other artists, there is a very good chance that even though she is not known to speak Spanish, that fans could see her singing in the beautiful language sometime soon. She’s already collaborated with Ariana Grande once and says she is looking forward to doing so again.