SZA, the pop star who’s taken the world by storm with her blockbuster album SOS, is set to embark on her first arena tour in just a few weeks. In a revealing interview with veteran music journalist Danyel Smith, SZA opens up about her journey to becoming a pop star, her place in the lineage of Black women in pop, and some surprising tidbits about her career.
In 2013, SZA signed with TDE, the label that brought us Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, becoming the first woman on their roster. But before joining TDE, SZA had her sights set on a different crew. In the interview, she reveals, “Quiet as it’s kept, I wanted to be with, like, Odd Future. I felt more like a Clancy girl.” SZA had released mixtapes, singing over instrumentals from former Odd Future member Brandun DeShay and even hung out with Odd Future manager Christian Clancy. However, it was TDE head and manager Punch who ultimately believed in her and convinced her to sign with the label.
SZA reflects on the uncertainty she felt when releasing SOS and not fitting into any particular genre, saying, “I can do so much more. I can do anything… That’s what makes a pop star – when they can do multifaceted and it all hits.” The interview also highlights SZA’s views on Black excellence in the music industry and shares an inspiring story of her performing gymnastics at a high-school pep rally in New Jersey despite being booed.
Overall, the full interview provides a captivating look into SZA’s journey and the unique perspective she brings to the music industry.