Here's how Lizzo's former Elsik HS band director knew she would make it

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Lizzo's Elsik HS band director recognized her talent early on
We caught up with Lizzo's former high school band director who shared some memories of her and how he recognized her talent early on.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Grammy-nominated rapper Lizzo may not have won any awards during the American Music Awards, but she sure won a lot of praise.

Last week, the breakthrough singer-rapper and former Alief ISD student scored a whopping eight nominations, including bids for the top four awards, making her the show's top-nominated act.

Lizzo picked up the nomination for Album of the Year with her major-label debut, "Cuz I Love You." She was also nominated for Song and Record of the Year with her anthemic No. 1 hit, "Truth Hurts." Her final nomination was for Best New Artist.

Shortly after Lizzo's nominations were announced, her former band director at Elsik High School, Manny Gonzales, talked about recognizing her talent and how she was capable of making it this big.

"I thought she would play for a major symphony or be a flute player or recording artist," said the band director. "As a matter of fact, my assistant band director at the time said one day, 'Hey, let me have your autograph. I want to be the first one to get your autograph.' And I remember she autographed a piece of paper for him."

He also recalled the first time he met her and how she left an impression.

"Her eighth grade year she came in to try out. Just a normal kid," Gonzalez said. "(She) walked in and said she's going to play Gweritz and I said, 'There must be a middle school version,' and she breaks out and I just wrote, 'Wow'"

Gonzales also revealed something about Lizzo that may have you watching a major film more closely.

"You know, we were able to be part of the movie 'Friday Night Lights,' and we went down to the Astrodome. And in the movie, every time I see this, I kind of laugh, when they do a picture of the band, she's there dancing with her flute, and that's Lizzo. That's really her first on-camera movie thing," Gonzales said. "I don't think anybody knows that. I just remember her dancing in the stands at the Astrodome in that movie."

Gonzales added that Lizzo wowing the audience also brought the flute to mainstream and says he has more students interested in playing the flute now.

RELATED: Lizzo visits UH marching band and stops by Shipley's during trip to Houston

Lizzo, whose name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, is a singer, rapper, and actress. She was originally born in Detroit, but later moved to Houston, where she began performing music.

RELATED:Pittsburgh students inspired to be great by singing Lizzo song 'Truth Hurts'

Her song "Truth Hurts" topped the charts two years after its release in 2017.