Special! Lizzo recently showed off her skills on a very unique instrument: former President James Madison’s 200-year-old crystal flute.
“YALL … THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS LET ME PLAY THEIR HISTORIC 200 YEAR OLD CRYSTAL FLUTE ON STAGE TONIGHT— NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE … NOW YOU DO,” the “Truth Hurts” singer, 34, wrote via Instagram on Wednesday, September 28, alongside a video of herself playing the woodwind at her concert in Washington, D.C. one day prior.
“It’s like playing out of a wine glass,” the Grammy winner quipped as she walked up to the microphone with the instrument. “Be patient.”
The historic moment came together after Dr. Carla Hayden, the current Librarian of Congress, invited Lizzo (real name: Melissa Jefferson) to visit the Library of Congress while she was in town. “The @librarycongress has the largest flute collection in the world with more than 1,800. It incl Pres James Madison’s 1813 crystal flute,” Hayden, 70 tweeted on September 23. “@lizzo we would love for you to come see it and even play a couple when you are in DC next week. Like your song they are ‘Good as hell.'”
One day later, the “Special” songstress replied: “IM COMING CARLA! AND IM PLAYIN THAT CRYSTAL FLUTE!!!!!”
Before the show, the Michigan native toured the library with her mom, band members and Hayden. Staff members told The New York Times that the rapper spent more than three hours at the library, trying out a handful of historic instruments including a piccolo from John Philip Sousa’s band.
Lizzo couldn’t contain her excitement after she played a few notes during her show. “Bitch I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s!” the Yitty designer exclaimed after her mini solo. “We just made history tonight. Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history freaking cool. History is freaking cool, you guys.”
In an Instagram caption, she added: “YEAH IM DOUBLE POSTING BUT IM THE FIRST & ONLY PERSON TO PLAY THIS PRESIDENTIAL CRYSTAL FLUTE ITS LITERALLY AN HEIRLOOM — LIKE … AS A FLUTE PLAYER THIS IS ICONIC AND I WILL NEVER BE OVER IT🎶.”
Though the “About Damn Time” artist is best known for her hip-hop and pop hits, she’s also a classically trained flutist who studied the instrument in college before she dropped out to pursue her music career.
“I had, like, dreams of being in a symphony,” Lizzo told CBS Sunday Morning in October 2019. “Like, I wanted that. I didn’t even want to be, like, a soloist. There are flute soloists that are poppin’ off. And they stand in front of a big crowds. And they just play with a pianist. That terrified me.”
The Emmy winner “didn’t like” all the practicing, but she maintained a passion for the music. “I really loved sitting in a symphony and sitting in an ensemble and playing music, and I would get goosebumps when we would play pieces,” she explained. “I’m a very showy flute player though. I like to show off. Like, the faster and the more intricate the flute part is, the better.”
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