Sam Cooke's 1964 ode to the unknown, "A Change Is Gonna Come," is a top-to-bottom soul classic, the kind of horn-and-string-filled melodic moment that blows right through you like a beautiful spring wind. Cooke delivers its opening line — "I was born by the river in a little tent" — with such gusto that he becomes the very wind of change promised by his hopeful tone.
If there's one talent today whose own bellowing voice could match such a gale, it's Lizzo. That's precisely what she did singing the song as part of Global Citizen's One World: Together At Home special on Saturday (April 18).
Surrounded by green plants and the promise of brighter days, Lizzo delivered the beloved, positive message over a gospel organ and a minimal clanging backbeat. "It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die / 'Cause I don't know what's up there, beyond the sky," she sang, ultimately hitting a sky-high register on the bridge. "It's been a long, a long time coming / But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will."
As she got more into the message, Lizzo found the depths of herself, digging down to belt out every syllable with an optimistic conviction. Like the evening's talent curator Lady Gaga said to begin the show — which also features performances from Kacey Musgraves, SuperM, Maluma, and so many others — the point of this massive special is to unite and to say thank you.
Lizzo made sure to sign off by doing exactly that: "Thank you to everyone working hard to keep us safe," she said. "Thank you to everyone staying home keeping themselves safe. I love you, we got this, we'll get through this together." The One World special is celebrating COVID-19 frontline workers as well as helping raise relief funds. Find the full stream of the show below.