SZA On Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Grammy Nominations & ‘Weekend’s Success | MTV News



SZA Talks Grammy Nominations, Working with Solange, and Embracing Self-Acceptance

SZA sounds groggy when she answers the phone. “I just woke up,” she explains with a raspy whisper. It’s just past 5 PM in New York, which means it’s a little after noon in Hawaii, where she's located during our call. After rising early the past few days to celebrate her niece’s birthday, SZA (born Solána Rowe) can finally sleep in now that she’s alone.

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She might need that extra rest after the whirlwind that followed the release of her acclaimed debut album,Ctrl, in June. It was such a hit, a track that wasn’t a single went platinum and became a Top 40 jam. The album topped several "Best of 2019" lists, and performances took her around the world from New York'sSaturday Night Livestage to festival grounds in New Zealand. Best of all, she earned five Grammy nominations (including Best New Artist) and became the most-nominated woman at this year’s ceremony, which is just days away.

When the nominations were announced in November, SZA couldn't immediately respond online. A recent visit to the Apple Store somehow left her locked out of her iCloud account, which kept her offline for about 14 hours, she tells BAZAAR.com. But being unplugged allowed her to cherish to moment to herself.

"It was cool to just kind of accept what was happening without reacting," she says. The following day, she finally addressed the news with a lengthy, emotional that detailed her struggles and insecurities about making music prior to this album. ("I remember pretending to be vegan cause that’s all I could afford," she wrote.)

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Courtesy GAP

After 2019's success, SZA kicks off 2019 with a step into the fashion world, as she stars in Gap's ads for its new logo remix collection, alongside other young, rising talents. "All the people involved were people I respected and they really were good friends, like Metro [Boomin, the producer]," she says.

The campaign's nostalgic '90s aesthetic is the perfect fit for her comfy-meets-sexy personal style, which includes oversized sweaters, baggy pants, and clunky sneakers, like those she wears in the shoot.

"I love Gap," she gushes. "It was just super random and accidentally iconic." SZA's own renown, however, is anything but accidental.

Before the ads launched, SZA talked to BAZAAR.com about her upcoming Grammy performance, working with Solange, and how she internalizes her epic successes.

SZA responds to her accomplishments—like "Love Galore" , her Grammy noms, and her recent —with genuine surprise and gratitude on social media. It's hard to believe someone so talented could be this taken aback by well-deserved recognition, but it's like that "every time" for the singer.

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"At first, [success is] scary, because it made me feel weird and delusional. I'm not even the kind of person that's surprised all the fucking time because I usually know what's going on. I usually kind of pride myself in having a pretty cool level of perception, but I have none when it comes to myself! And I guess this has been a very powerful lesson in self-perception and reality and what's really happening. Every step of the way I'm always just like, 'What the fuck is happening? What does this mean?' Because I really never imagined any of this for myself. Like, really never, ever, ever, ever imagined this for myself. And I'm trying to figure out how to accept it instead of being in shock and being afraid of all the things that are happening to me."

Her successes have taught her there's no be-all and end-all definition of "best."

"I've learned that there is no general 'best.' And I really thought that there was a general best—there's a pool of things that we all think are awesome, but there's a specific general 'best' of a pool. So I was like, 'Okay, if you don't belong in the center pool of understood "best-ness," then it's like you're not valid as a human being.' I always felt that way, and I felt that way about myself. I was like, 'I don't want to be mediocre. I don't want to jump in the water.' And then I realized, people don't really care about which pool you're in, they just care that you get in the water and do what your personal best is for you.

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"I guess it's really a compilation of multiple mini pools. Everybody has their own little kiddie pool and whoever makes that shit work and makes it the most worthwhile, that's really what separates us as human beings. It really doesn't make you better than anybody else. It's just, how well can you explore your differences? I think I was more concerned about 'Am I good enough?' rather than how to magnify things that make me different as a human being, because I was ashamed of those things. But it's cool. I appreciate this life."

"People don't really care about which pool you're in, they just care that you get in the water."

So how is she processing her Grammy nominations days before the awards show?

"I've spent less time trying to figure out what it means for me, 'cause I think that was some wild shit. When you get nominated, then you try to figure out what it means for you. It's like, 'So I'mgood? I'm kind of? Maybe? If I win?' Then you get into this whole section of, 'Will I win?' Then it's like you're in a whole other rabbit hole; you're missing the whole point. Everything that's happening shouldn't be the all-indicator, but youshouldbe paying attention and doing your very fucking best, whatever that means for you in that moment. The other stuff is symptomatic of you believing and doing your best. So you have to do that. It's hard not to get caught up in the 'What's happening?!' type of energy."

She's creeping into the film world after creating an original song for theBlack Panthersoundtrack, "All the Stars," with Kendrick Lamar.

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"I just love that movie and I love the concept. I wanted to beinthe movie after. It's so gnarly. I'm super proud of the cast and the intention with the movie, and having someone like Kendrick to be involved in it, it's just genius. I'm just happy to be any tiny part of it at all."

After years of being on the same record label as Lamar and collaborating on a few tracks with him (including her tongue-in-cheekCtrltrack, "Doves in the Wind"), SZA fully trusts the rapper with everything from musical guidance to advice on birthday gifts.

"I trust him wholeheartedly with everything creative, everything sonic, everything visual. Like I had to buy a fucking birthday present, and I'm really new to the whole celebrating of birthdays, even my birthday, but now that I'm really involved, I'm really excited about it. So I'm trying to make it a really interesting experience. But this time, I had to get a birthday present for someone that I was scared about because I wasn't sure if I was on the right track, and he gave me some really good insight. He's the only person who has really good, 'This is a good idea, period.' Our rapport, I feel like at this point, I respect him on every level, way beyond music. He's a gnarly dude."

One of SZA's newer collaborators is Solange, who directed her "The Weekend" music video, which was released in December.

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"What's interesting is this is probably the first time I didn't get to incorporate myself, but I definitely feel like it was a learning experience in itself. I just have so much respect for Solange and her vision and the way that she communicates with the world. I love her language, and I think I just wanted to be interpreted in her language. I feel like I have a style, even with every other video with every other person, it's whimsical and it has a lot of like dark nuances that are like 'dark Disney.' That's where my brain goes all the time and I think we have a lot of different influences. I'm so obsessed with people who don't see the world the way I view the world, because I think everyone sees the world differently, but there are some people who see it so much differently than you that it's like, 'Wow, how'd you getthat?' I think that is so enamoring. I love the way she sees it."

Solange's directorial imprint may be obvious in the visuals, but that's what SZA wanted.

"I directed every video that I've ever put out, so I just wanted to not be involved in this way. I wanted to allow myself to learn more than anything. She has her own production company, her own crazy stylist team that pulled all these clothes I've never seen before. It's so crazy. And like, everyone is a woman—there was actually some really cool dudes, there were like two dudes. Everyone is super tough. It's just awesome. It was cool to be in her regime and get lost in it."

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SZA is no stranger to being in the presence of strong women—she featured two of them, her mother and grandmother, in recordings on her album. Growing up with and being raised by them was "very special," the singer recalls.

"They're very different women. My grandma's really tough, my mom is soft-to-the-touch tough. I can't explain it. It's like a different approach on both ends, and I think my grandma is making sure that I'm not too soft. I'd be scared to speak up for myself a lot, and she's always like, 'Don't do that. You can't do that. You can't live your life like that.' And I think she's been through a lot of instances where she didn't speak up, and it negatively affected her. I think she's just fed the fuck up. But my mom has a lot of grace and a lot of energy where she comes in a space. Even if everything is going to shit, she's just like, 'I'm fine, everything's fine.






Video: Solange - Cranes in the Sky (Video)

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Date: 12.12.2018, 11:00 / Views: 41182