ABC/Randy HolmesWith four Soul Train nominations, and anticipated Grammy nods, SZA is one of the breakout artists of the year, but she’s determined not to be labeled. She points to her love of a variety of different musical genres as proof.
“People grapple with labeling me as hip-hop, R&B or pop, and it’s interesting to me. I’m just making music,” she told the LA Times. “I listen to Stevie Nicks. I love classical jazz. I love folk. I love rap. I love Modest Mouse. I’m making an album with Tame Impala and Mark Ronson.”
She adds, “When you try to label it, you remove the option for it to be limitless. It diminishes the music.”
Born Solana Rowe, the 26-year-old singer threatened to quit music before her debut album Ctrl was released this year. She dropped the CD four years after signing with Top Dawg Entertainment, and she explains that the long delay in finally releasing the CD diluted the final product.
“[The album] was probably way better like a year and a half ago,” she says. “I sat on it too long and … [messed] it up. I didn’t make a 10 out of 10 album, and I knew I didn’t when I dropped, but I didn’t have any more time to go back in on it.”
Now that Ctrl is being hailed as one of the top albums of the year, SZA is still surprised by its success.
“I wasn’t expecting people were going to show a … lot of attention,” she says. “Every moment, I’m shocked. It’s taught me a lesson on energy and expectation. The biggest songs on the album — ‘Love Galore,’ ‘The Weekend,’ ‘Supermodel,’ ‘Broken Clocks’ — are the easiest songs I’ve ever made. Just free-flowing energy, and not me resisting.”
SZA can currently be heard on Maroon 5’s latest hit “What Lovers Do.”
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