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On tour with Lizzo: The artist’s audio engineers take us through their set up

FOH engineer Brandon Blackwell and monitor engineer Loreen Bohannon made up the engineer team

Monitoring engineer Loreen Bohannon.

Lizzo’s sold out Cuz I Love You Too tour has been touring the globe with two DiGiCo SD12 96 consoles, provided by Clair Global, and a Waves SoundGrid set up.

Brandon Blackwell, who has also toured with the likes of Camila Cabello, A$AP Rocky and Big Sean, is at FOH, while Loreen Bohannon is the monitor engineer.

Lizzo just keeps on moving up and up in the music industry, with her chart-topping ‘Truth Hurts’ staying at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 list for seven weeks this year.

“I started with Lizzo in late May of this year when her tour was in between legs, but since then we have been super busy, doing just over 90 shows in the past six months,” commented Blackwell. “For this tour, I specified a DiGiCo SD12 96 for FOH. I have been on an SD12 the entire year with my other clients, but I was super excited for the new update to 96 inputs and 48 busses. With the extra I/O, I was able to add some extra key FX sends and returns, and also more parallel groups to my mix.

“As usual, I have paired my DiGiCo console with a Waves SoundGrid setup. While Waves is taking care of processing my vocals, subgroups, and EFX, most of my heavy lifting of processing the playback tracks is being taken care of onboard the console. For each playback channel, I am using the dynamic EQ and multiband compressors to shape my mix. Snapshots are a big part of my mixing.”

Blackwell added that having the same consoles at FOH and monitor has improved the tour’s workflow. “I’m a big believer in cutting out the traditional analogue splitter, and this tour has followed suit,” he said. “Both of our consoles and the stage rack are on a fibre loop, and all of our inputs go directly into the SD-Rack, which has six new 32-bit Mic Pre-amp cards and one AES/EBU input card. We have taken full advantage of the features that are unlocked when using an Optocore loop.

“Loreen has control over the gains, and I use the digital trim with gain tracking engaged. Since the crowds can get up to 115 dBA at FOH, we rely on the chat feature of the DiGiCo platform a lot.”

Bohannon, who began with Lizzo in April ahead of her Coachella appearance, started the tour with DiGiCo’s SD11 but quickly upgraded to an SD12. “The dynamic EQs, the quiet 32-bit head amps, integrated UBMADI for multitrack recording and playback, virtual soundcheck through the console—everything on the DiGiCo contributed to a smooth show. I love the consistency I am able to provide for my artists from the DiGiCo platform.”

Lizzo performed at the AMAs on Sunday, November 24, where she sang ‘Truth Hurts’ enhanced by a Dolby Atmos immersive experience that required extensive planning and installation. Read more here.