‘He’s my idol’: Lizzo lauds ‘King of Flutes’ James Galway after Met Gala duet

Singer and rapper reveals how virtuoso flutist sparked her childhood interest in music

The singer and rapper Lizzo has revealed how James Galway sparked her childhood interest in music after they played a surprise flute duet at the Met Gala.

The pair appeared at the New York fashion event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday night, playing Flight of the Bumblebee.

Lizzo thanked Galway for the experience in a post on Instagram on Wednesday, saying that hearing The Man With the Golden Flute when she was learning the instrument aged 11 “changed the trajectory of my life”.

The four-time Grammy winner said: “I learned most of the songs by ear because the sheet music was too difficult to read at the time but eventually I fell in love with virtuosic flute music and memorised The Carnival of Venice (James Version) when I was 14.”


She said: “Now, years later I had the honour to play beside Sir James Galway, and receive lessons from him and even play his alto flute. I can confidently say I wouldn’t be the musician I am today without his influence. Thank you for everything this week @sirjamesgalway.”

Describing him as “truly the King of Flutes”, she said: “I can’t wait to play with you again.”

Galway (83) told BBC Radio Ulster on Thursday morning that the experience was “so fantastic. She’s a great entertainer”.

The flautist said Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, had asked for a chair upgrade. “When she gets on the stage she takes full command. It was quite funny, they wanted to give us two chairs and Lizzo complained and told them we’re not using chairs, we’ll use fancy chairs, so they came up with two thrones.”

Galway’s wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, described to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the singer’s excitement when they started rehearsals on Saturday evening.

“She came and she bowed down to my husband and she said ‘I can’t tell you what an honour this is.’ She keeps saying to me ‘I’m so nervous, I’m so nervous, he’s my idol. I learned with him.’ It was quite, quite spectacular.”

She said: “You were very kind with her and you kept going, ‘What for?’ But then you said to her, ‘Lizzo, you have a beautiful sound’, and she says, ‘We sound very similar’, and she says ‘That’s because I learned my tone from you.’ And she kept saying, ‘Listen to this everyone, I sound like James Galway. Isn’t that wonderful!’” — Guardian