SZA Opens up About Losing Loved Ones, Depression & Creating Music With Stevie Wonder

(Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

The songstress also addresses why she’s taken a hiatus over the past two years since releasing CTRL.

SZA has been lauded as one of the most relatable voices within the music industry over the past eight years. Her music has left an indelible mark due to her songwriting especially on her debut album, CTRL. For the first time in nearly a year, the Top Dawg Entertainment signee opens up about her journey of self-discovery, new music and more for Rolling Stone.

During the in-depth interview by Emma Carmichael, she expresses in detail that for quite some time she fought through crippling depression. The depression stemmed from dealing with the deaths of her grandmother, a maternal aunt and rapper Mac Miller who was a close friend.

On the deaths she shared:

“I’ve buried so many people in my life, you would think that I would be used to it, or just have a threshold. But my grandma broke the threshold for me. It was so weird to not have any…I don’t know, any control over anything.”

At one point in the interview, she shared that she didn’t want to make music anymore following these losses. “I didn’t. I was just trying to not kill myself, and not quit, period. Because it was really fucking hard, and lonely as fuck.”

In order to pull herself out of the sad period of her life, she began going to the gym every day, doing Pilates, learning about crystals, meditating and also using sound bowls. She shares that this combination pushed her out of the “pop star” box she believes she’d been placed in after dropping CTRL. At the moment, she’s been working on new music.

During the interview with Carmichael, SZA also opened up about the fact that her current sound is inspired by artists like John Coltrane and Miles Davis. A playlist featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Beach Boys from her childhood is also serving as a source of inspiration.

One highlight of the feature included the songstress noting that while she spent time recording with Timbaland, she received a call from Stevie Wonder. The beloved singer called to ask her to join him onstage at the Taste of Soul Festival in L.A. Following this, SZA and Wonder spent two hours in his trailer, freestyling at a piano. She excerpted it for five potential beats and also checked this moment off the top of her bucket list.

On new music that is potentially on the horizon, she shared, “I’ve dropped nothing but features. People don’t know who the fuck I am, right?” She went on to say, “They think I’m on some stupid superstar shiny shit. I know people of seeing that. They want to see me. I owe people that. So I’m going to do that.”

Head over to Rolling Stone to read the entire feature.

Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

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Robyn Mowatt

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