Long before fame arrived in 2013, Jersey princess, Salona a.k.a SZA, was just a girl attending college to become a marine biologist while working as a Sephora consultant and a bartender. Even though singing was never apart of this initial plan, it would soon become her ultimate reality.
After being heard by TDE’s Terrence “Punch” Henderson, she took her talents to the public and released See.Sza.Run on October 29, 2012 via Complex. The EP’s production credits included APSuperProducer,Dot, Brandun Deshay, Top Notch, and B Hassan Insane. And with singles like “Crack Dreams,” “Country,” “Bed,” and “Euphraxia,” her star began to rise. As a follow-up, she then released “S” (meaning sovereign in the Supreme Alphabet). This body of work showed off a mystical sound and featured childhood throwback references on song verses like “Pray”:
Wish I was prettier a little for ya
Maybe I’ll understand when I get older
I just don’t get it yet
I’m not finished yet
Feel like maturity is overrated
None of my panties match my momma hates it
I’m not into that
She just don’t get it yet
With her plays at constant go on Sound Cloud, the 22 year-old songstress announced on July 14th of 2013, that she had signed to the TDE label–joining members of the Black Hippy Crew’s Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock. Following her signing, she appeared on label mate Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo on songs “Ronnie Drake ” and “West Savanah.”
On April 8, 2014 Sza released her third mixtape “Z” that would raise the bar even higher for her as an artist and draw in more well-deserved attention. This mixtape made waves with many outlets from Pitchfork to Complex for her tracks like “Teen Spirit,” “Babylon” with Kendrick Lamar, and “Childs Play” featuring Chance The Rapper. I distinctly remember listening to this EP during the summer before heading to college and feeling like all her songs were equally nostalgic, metaphorically clever, and all around relatable. In the EP, you can tell that her lyrics speak a lot to her Muslim/Christian upbringing, the battle of trusting herself, the stereotype of pretty girls, and the relationships that have influenced her own perspective. It’s clear that this project was somewhat a therapeutic escape from the hardships of her past–which we could all relate to at one point or the other.
As 2014 came to a close, she left us with the relatable gem “Sobriety,” expressing that being sober just isn’t the wave in her life at the moment, but that she would eventually get over everything enough to be sober.
Since the drop of that EP, SZA took a break from releasing official projects and instead performed for a range of festivals like Camp Flognaw, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Pitchfork Festival, Lollapalooza, and Afropunk. That year she also did a rounds of press interviews. One of the most notable from that bunch being with Leandra Medine of The Chatroom. There, Sza spoke out about being bullied in school, being insecure, and stated that when it comes to music she’s unsure of her plight. “I don’t know if I’m apologizing for being me or just into being a musician.” Without putting out any recent music, she felt that music was/is her outlet to maintaining her happier self.
In 2016, our girl SZA returned to making music by collaborating with Rihanna for her highly anticipated album, ANTI. The track was titled “Consideration” and became one of the most talked about tracks. Post album release, the young medusa dropped a track via social media –inspired by PND’s “Come and See Me”–titled “2am” and soon “Untitled 05” from Kendrick’s Untitled album.
Fast forward into January of 2017 , SZA has appeared in ads for Ivy Park and also performed on Jimmy Kimmel, gracing us with her single “Drew Barrymore.” Instantly, we thought SZA was going to drop A but apparently we got ahead of ourselves. What we thought would be A was actually titled CTRL. Not only did she drop a documentary-esque trailer for it in February, she also made a digitally accessible look-book which featured her moments in the studio, a track list, her being carefree, and her overall journey during the creation process.
As of recent, the beauty dropped a visual for “Love Galore” with Travis Scott off the upcoming album. In the video, we get to see the new and improved SZA that stunts her beauty effortlessly and get’s revenge on those who didn’t have good intentions for her. Whether it’s been a journey or a long obstacle, Sza’s evolution within this industry, now more than ever, speaks volumes of the person it took her to be in order to arrive.