The career of SZA so far

By: Isabelle Baidoo

SZA, Solána Imani Rowe, is by far one of the most influential music artists of this generation. Not only has she topped the charts countless times, but she has been nominated for a Grammy 15 times.

Rowe was born on November 8, 1989. She was raised in Maplewood, New Jersey by Abdul Mubarak-Rowe and Audrey Rowe. Her father was an executive producer for CNN, and her mother was an executive at AT&T.

Rowe created the stage name, SZA, from the Supreme Alphabet. The Supreme Alphabet is a system of interpreting text and finding deeper meaning. The S in SZA stands for savior or sovereignty. The Z stands for Zig-Zag, which means Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding. Since it’s the last letter of the alphabet it represents the final step of consciousness. Then lastly, the A stands for Allah. She also stated that she took influence from RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan.

Her musical career started in the early 2010s. She had released two pieces before signing with Top Dawg Entertainment. After being signed with her record label she released ‘Z’. This would be her third EP and first retail release.

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Rowe has 7 Top 10 Hits on the Billboard Charts and has had 39 songs in the top 100. The highest song on the list being “Kiss Me More”, which remained on the charts for 43 weeks; its peak position being 3rd place.

She has won countless awards, but the most recent dating back to 2019 are:

  • The NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Duo or Group (“All The Stars”)
  • The BET Her Award (“Good Days”)
  • The Billboard Music Award for Top Viral Song (“Kiss Me More”)
  • and lastly The iHeartRadio Music Award for R&B Song of the Year (“I Hate U”).

On June 9, 2017, SZA released ‘CTRL’, her debut studio album. This album has fourteen tracks, all co-written by SZA herself. She collaborated with many other artists for this album including Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, James Fauntleroy, and Isaiah Rashad.

‘CTRL’ pays homage to the fear of losing control. In the intro of “Supermodel”, she states “That is my greatest fear. That if, if I lost control. Or did not have control, things would just, you know? I would be, fatal”. ‘CTRL’ is made to be a relatable commentary on how life is for a “20 something” year old. Facing issues with love, body image, confidence, and of course, control.

Rowe is commonly known for her advice and inspiring quotes. 

Such as, “I love empowering women. I think it’s crazy: if you ever try to belittle women, you’re playing yourself – I ride with whoever rides with me.” -SZA

Or, “Don’t get discouraged with your skin when it doesn’t do what you want it to do…Give it some time. That’s the only way to get to know yourself.” -SZA

SZA has helped so many people realize that their dreams of succeeding in the music industry are possible, and with hard work and determination you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

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