There are some artists that you may hear early on in their career, and the second their voice flows through your ears you know they're something unlike anything else. For some people, this occurred back in 2012 when alternative R&B singer/songwriter Solana Rowe released, under the stage name SZA
, her first mixtape, See.SZA.Run
. If you didn't happen to stumble across that or her second project S,
you surely heard her 2014 EP Z.
The 10 tracks included on the EP gave SZA's growing audience a taste of what was in store for her career, with the help of some very notable artists including Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. Back in July of 2014, Rowe signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, which just so happened to be the same label that Kendrick calls home, and became the first R&B artist to belong to the label.
Clearly, SZA is a trailblazing trendsetter, laying the ground for future alt R&B artists to come, as well as influencing others with her innovative fashion style. What's even better is that this was all an accident. Rowe studied Marine Biology in school and planned on driving her career in that general direction, with some traveling here and there. After recording about two songs, she decided she would record a few more to compose a project out of rather than just leaving them incomplete on their own, and that led to her popularity skyrocketing in a very short period of time. Technically, her plan didn't fail entirely, because she is in fact travelling–only in this scenario it's to sing the songs she's created to packed rooms of people rather than to see exotic turtle species in person, or whatever it is that marine biologists are into.
This is all very new for Rowe, but you wouldn't be able to tell by just looking at and listening to her. I'm a bit envious of how seemingly put together she is–I could never hide my stress and anxiety that well. Despite the inevitable difficulties that come with being a professional recording artist, including time management and touring, SZA is absolutely thriving, and has been doing so for quite some time. The singer appeared on ScHoolboy Q's album Oxymoron
in 2014 and on the opening track, "Consideration," on Rihanna's Anti
just last year. Not only are her vocals captivating, causing all of this desire in other artists to have her on their projects, but SZA is also a skillful songwriter. She penned contributions to the track she appeared on for Rihanna as well as Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj's 2015 banger "Feeling Myself." Her own song lyrics include everything from "Your skin tastes like brussel sprouts I swear," to "Remember me for who I was not who I am / I'll pray you never understand this." I'm starting to think there isn't anything this girl can't do.
SZA's achievement list may already seem miles long, but she's just getting started. Earlier this year, Rowe announced that her debut full length album would be titled Ctrl
, doing so during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live where she also premiered the first single from the album, a smooth vibed track titled "Drew Barrymore." This song was followed by "Love Galore" with Travis Scott in April and "Broken Clocks" last Friday. This album is shaping up to be an absolute masterpiece, the tracklist was released in late May and revealed that there was yet another Kendrick Lamar collaboration in the works, which will never not be exciting and makes waiting for the release date even more strenuous. Another artist returning to SZA's discography is rapper Isaiah Rashad, a close friend of hers. They worked together on "Warm Winds" from Z
as well as two of his tracks, "Ronnie Drake" and "West Savannah." The combination of their sounds makes for a surprisingly soothing sound.
Needless to say, we're really looking forward to discovering all that Ctrl
has to offer in terms of both lyrics and overall sound. SZA still has a long road ahead of her to make the most out of all of the talent and potential she has, and we're down to be along for the ride. You can check out her most recent single "Broken Clocks" down below to hold you over until Ctrl
is released on Friday June 9th.