The University of Iowa’s 2018 Homecoming Concert:
Written by Ellie Zupancic
On October 19, alternative hip hop artist, Lizzo, is set to take the Pentacrest stage as headliner of the University of Iowa’s 2018 Homecoming concert. Thousands of students will crowd outdoors to take part in the yearly ritual of a free Homecoming concert presented by SCOPE Productions.
Known for wielding a voice which crosses boundaries between hip hop, pop, soul, R&B, and gospel, Lizzo also wields the passion and drive necessary to make it as a black woman in the music industry. Her most well-known song, “Good as Hell,” is an anthem for women’s empowerment; its EP, an outlet for her to “speak to everyone who looked like [her], felt like [her], and went through she same things [she] did.”
She is unabashed in her style, in her lyrics, and in her own self. Her first major-label record titled “Coconut Oil” dropped in 2016, and her latest single release, Boys, hit the public in June. Lizzo tweeted that Boys is her “…love letter to the lovers. An ode to boys who like boys and girls who like boys. A bop for girls who like girls…for the them’s they’s and non-comformists.” Lizzo’s music tends to follow consistent and empowering themes of sexuality, body-positivity, and gender-inclusivity.
Fools Magazine met up with SCOPE Productions’ Talent Buyer, Savannah Lane, to get some personal insight into what the upcoming show with Lizzo means for the University of Iowa:
What is SCOPE’s process of finding an artist for the Homecoming show? How were you led to Lizzo?
The process starts with Scope members brainstorming a whole bunch of ideas, basically just a list of our dream headliner. From there we reach out to agents to obtain pricing information and availability about the artists that we decide to seriously look into. It's a whole lot of back-and-forth between me and agents, negotiating prices and discussing whether or not the artist would be a good fit for the vibe of the show. This summer we considered a ton of different artists, but eventually we found Lizzo and thought she would be perfect for this show. I love Lizzo's music and she was an artist that, all summer, I had been hoping to book.
The past two homecoming shows at Iowa have featured male artists. Was it important to SCOPE to find someone this year who represents women artists? Artists of color?
Yes. Two years ago—my freshman year—was Simple Plan with Wavves, two bands consisting entirely of white males. Last year, Saint Motel with Verité, was a little bit more diverse (Verité is a woman and Saint Motel has a member that is a person of color), but most of the men on stage that night were still white males. Both of those shows were great and I love all of those artists. However, this year it was definitely important for us to put on a more diverse show. Almost all of the acts we looked into for Homecoming were women, some of them women of color, some of them queer women. I'm really proud of Scope for making diversity a major goal, and I think Lizzo will be perfect
How many people do you expect at the show?
Last year the show got rained out so we had to move it indoors to a room that holds 1,800. We estimated that about 1,500 people attended. In years past with the show staying on the Pentacrest, attendance has been estimated around 5,000 I believe. Knock on wood that the show doesn't get rained out again, and hopefully there will be a few thousand people on the Pentacrest!
What kind of energy do you think the audience can expect from Lizzo when she takes the stage?
I saw Lizzo a few years ago at 80/35 music festival in Des Moines and she was mind-blowing. She is so high-energy and just puts on the most fun, feel-good performance. Her lyrics are funny, empowering, and elicit the best feelings when you sing along to them. I think the energy on the Pentacrest is going to be crazy good.
How are you hoping Lizzo will be different or similar from shows booked in previous years?
I want everyone, especially people who identify with Lizzo in any way, to leave the show feeling empowered as heck. I think the homecoming show is always a success and something the community at large enjoys and appreciates. But this year I want it to be extra special. I want to prove to everyone that all types of people, not just white males, are making waves in music and doing amazing things. I want it to be a show that people have a fantastic time at and, most importantly, remember.
Follow Lizzo on Spotify to get pumped for the University of Iowa 2018 Homecoming Concert!
October 19th / Pentacrest
Want to learn more about Lizzo? Visit LizzoMusic.com
Quotations gathered from Lizzo’s Artist Biography, courtesy of Atlantic Records, 2017.