Unpacking SZA's Early Career

Unpacking SZA's Early Career


Unpacking SZAs Early Career

Stereo Williams, Allison Davis, and Anupa Mistry join Stereo for another installment of Deja Vu to discuss SZA's early career and her ascension into modern neo-soul icon status. They explore her musical lineage that has led to one of today's biggest artists.

SZA's music has been described as "alt R&B", with influences spanning minimalist R&B, '80s synth pop and soul. Her debut album CTRL was released in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim.

1. Ctrl

SZA, one of the most influential artists in music today, has transformed our understanding of women of color through her lyrics and collaborations with others. Her debut album Ctrl stands as one of the year's most innovative and intimate records; an emotional 49-minute narrative depicting modern love's complex realities.

While her first EP Z introduced us to her delicate vocals and melodic lyrics, her full-length debut has entirely transformed her sound and identity. On it she bares all about herself: insecurities, feelings, hopes, dreams, relationships and much more!

SZA uses her voice and digital music technology to take listeners on her journey of self-discovery. Through honeyed crooning and often gritty yet emotional lyrics, SZA explores toxic relationships, anxiety and vulnerability while adding an air of intimacy into her songs. While she flirted with electronic dance music for awhile on this album, more time was dedicated to focusing on SZA's signature R&B sound with smooth trap beats throughout it all.

SZA describes her album's central theme as being the perception of control, a dual-layer concept. On one level lies 'Illusory Control' where people believe they have power over everything in their life; here people spend much of their time creating techniques and strategies to avoid fear; on the other is where emotions such as love, hate, heartbreak and revenge take root.

There are multiple songs on this album that address fear, such as 'Supermodel', 'Garden (Say It Like Dat)', 'Drew Barrymore' and 'Prom' which all address how people may feel insecure or wish for social acceptance by becoming someone different than they actually are.

Her lyrics are powerful yet intimate and have been likened to Janet Jackson's breakthrough album of 1986. Her album marks a growing movement of Black female artists that use voice technology and digital music technology to explore insecurities, hopes, and desires within themselves and society at large.

She takes us on an intimate journey that feels like a chat with a close friend, touching upon ideas like romantic love, fucking around and self-care. Additionally, she delves deep into modern love's complex mechanisms such as desire, competition jealousy sexual politics social media. Finally, she reveals her fears and insecurities while simultaneously showing us strength through life experiences.

2. S.O.S

SZA stands as proof that Black women do not belong in an environment which sometimes discourages their advancement and proves her value, winning several accolades and awards, such as Billboard's Woman of the Year honor.

SZA, an American R&B singer-songwriter-producer, released her debut studio album Ctrl to widespread critical acclaim in 2017 to debut at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart and be certified platinum by RIAA.

She is part of American hip hop collective TDE and signed to RCA Records, with music that draws from minimalist R&B, 80s synth pop, and soul influences.

Ctrl was released in June 2017 and quickly rose to the third spot on the Billboard 200 chart before receiving certification by RIAA as platinum.

Time Magazine named this album the best of 2017.

SZA's music combines elements of PBR&B, neo-soul and alt R&B. She is best known for her songwriting abilities and seductive vocals.

She has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar and Cardi B on multiple tracks. Additionally, she has performed live with Rihanna, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj.

SZA's music can best be described as being an eclectic mixture of minimalist R&B, '80s soul and neo-soul influences. She can often be found straddling the line between minimalism and agnosticism in her writing and performance style.

Her songs feature layers of sliced, delayed and reversed vocals; she often incorporates percussion instruments as part of her compositions; she's a member of American hip-hop group TDE as well as having written for many other musicians.

SZA made waves in 2018 when her singles "All the Stars" and "What Lovers Do" became hits, helping increase both her popularity and recognition in the music industry.

She enjoys an immense social media following, with fans constantly asking for new music from her. Though many offers to collaborate have come her way, she remains true to TDE by refusing to release any material without prior consent from TDE.

3. Wonder

Singer-songwriter Kaya Ikumu's career has blossomed since releasing her debut album Ctrl to critical acclaim and becoming known as an alternative R&B girl next door. Her music features lo-fi beats and indie influences that were lauded for its "unraveling lyrics," with listeners noting its ability to speak from her heart on sensitive subjects such as romance, heartbreak and sexuality.

SZA encountered some delays with making her next record, taking longer than planned to complete it. Though an experienced songwriter, she found herself coaxed into writing songs which didn't reflect her vision; thus requiring TDE as her label to help get those songs onto her album.

One song she recorded after hearing a performance reminiscent of Poison Ivy was "Drew Barrymore", which received Academy and Golden Globe nominations.

SZA has collaborated with other artists such as Kendrick Lamar's single, All the Stars, and Isaiah Rashad's "Cilvia Demo." She has released numerous singles that have proven popular within the music industry; winning numerous awards including Grammy awards.

SZA's estimated net worth is estimated to be about $3 Million. She boasts a strong digital presence with over two million YouTube subscribers.

Singer-songwriter Amy Grant is best known for her soulful vocals and unique musical style. Many of her songs have become hits on radio stations and streaming services alike; additionally, she has been nominated for several prestigious awards such as Grammys and Golden Globes.

She is an American singer-songwriter, actress and producer based out of New York City. In 2017 her debut studio album Ctrl was released and became an overwhelming success - nominated as Time Magazine's album of 2017.

SZA released her second album, SOS, on December 9, 2018 through Punch Entertainment Group, who have also produced albums by Alicia Keys (Unchained) and Justin Timberlake (Love and Lies). SOS serves as a follow up to SZA's critically acclaimed first record and features guests such as Phoebe Bridgers, Don Toliver, and Travis Scott.

4. Speak Your Mind

At times it can seem counterintuitive to speak out in a world rife with misinformation and fear, yet speaking your mind is an effective way to ensure that your voice is heard. Whether on social media or face-to-face with audiences, being honest about your opinions is vital for creating healthy discussions within communities that lead to advancement.

SZA has spoken out publicly on issues of mental health, self-care and many others important issues. She is actively involved with several charitable causes including one that assists young girls across America.

SZA has come a long way since her initial struggles, thanks to hard work and dedication to music. Her debut album Ctrl earned critical acclaim and multiple Grammy Award nominations; additionally she is an accomplished singer/songwriter with an international fan base.

SZA has written songs for various artists such as Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, Jill Scott, Maroon 5 Doja Cat and Justin Timberlake as well as female artists such as Beyonce. She has an impressive body of work as an independent songwriter that extends far beyond solo works.

Her debut EP, Z, was released in April 2014. Since then, "Babylon" has become a top-10 hit on Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as other EPs and singles being made available by her.

Ctrl was an instantaneous hit upon its release in 2017 - garnering multiple top-10 singles and selling over half a million copies within its first week alone. Critics praised it widely and it later received platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

She credits Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill as major influences in her music, and often writes lyrics that explore themes such as sexuality and nostalgia in her lyrics.

SZA has earned admiration for her unique sound, which blends hip hop with R&B and neo-soul influences. Her goal is to produce music that engages and empowers her audience.

SZA collaborated with various producers during her Ctrl recording process. While in Chicago she collaborated with Peter Cottontale; while California she met Carter Lang who produced "Love Galore." Additionally she has worked with Tyron Donaldson, ThankGod4Cody and others on her music.

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