SZA has come out of nowhere to be one of the biggest breakout stars in R&B. Her voice has captured the attention of everyone from fans to music critics, and she’s signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, home to Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q among others. But how did Solána Imani Rowe go from being an unknown singer-songwriter with lots of talent to a Grammy-nominated star? This article looks at her early years as she started her career in New York City, but didn’t quite catch on right away. The Making of SZA How Solana Imani Rowe Became America Favorite R and B Singer
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Solána Imani Rowe, known professionally as SZA (stylized as SZA), is an American singer-songwriter. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she began making music in her teens before moving to New York City. She subsequently began working with top tier producers and collaborators, landing a record deal with Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. The Making of SZA: How Solána Imani Rowe Became America Favorite R&B Singer
Unlike many other hip-hop and R&B singers, SZA didn’t grow up listening to these genres. She was raised in Maplewood, New Jersey and grew up playing classical piano from a young age. Her mother is an opera singer, so she often listened to opera during her childhood. However, her biggest influences come from artists like Nirvana and Michelle Branch. With that said, many critics still consider SZA to be a part of both genres.The Making of SZA How Solana Imani Rowe Became America Favorite R and B Singer
Her uncle is a church bishop, and her mother is an assistant at a law firm. She has two younger brothers. As a child, she was raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. She started singing at age five or six years old and began writing songs at age thirteen.
In 2014, she began dating American rapper J. Cole, who was her neighbor at the time. After they broke up in 2015, she began a relationship with hip hop artist Isaiah Rashad in 2016. The two became engaged in 2017 but split later that year, and SZA has since been romantically linked to TDE producer Travis Scott. In 2018 she began dating NBA player Russell Westbrook, whom she met when he produced for Kendrick Lamar on All The Stars.
Physical info Solána was born on November 8, 1990, to Cheryl Harris, a lawyer and Migo Seleke (born Timothy Selassie), a musician. She has four siblings; three sisters, and one brother. Her parents were both Black Panthers in their 20s when they had her. Growing up in Maplewood, New Jersey, and having black parents meant Solána dealt with a lot of racism at school.
After releasing two extended plays, SZA signed with Top Dawg Entertainment, where she released Z, her third EP in 2013. Following Z and its follow-up, 2014’s S, she was featured on label-mates’ tracks and made frequent collaborations with artists such as Kendrick Lamar (with whom she went on to win a Grammy Award), Isaiah Rashadand Chance The Rapper. Her debut studio album Ctrl, released in June 2017 to widespread acclaim, debuted at number three on US Billboard 200.
In addition to being included on Best New Music lists, SZA has also received a number of accolades for her work. In 2014, she was featured on BET’s Rip The Runway and performed at both BET Hip Hop Awards and Soul Train Awards that year. In 2015, she received four Grammy Award nominations including Best New Artist and won two iHeartRadio Music Awards. Her album Ctrl received nominations for Album of The Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album at 2018 Grammys.
$3 million dollars. At age 21, SZA had already received nominations for two Grammy Awards and released an album that debuted at number three on Billboard’s 200 albums chart. Forbes contributor Dorothy Pomerantz estimates her net worth to be $3 million dollars.
When did it all start?
SZA got her start at an early age. Raised in Maplewood, New Jersey, a suburb 20 minutes outside Manhattan, she grew up writing poetry and singing around her house, taking every opportunity to perform in public—from talent shows to open mics.
What was the inspiration behind your Love Galore video?
First, I wanted to wear a crown, which was actually my best friend’s idea. She told me that when she saw Beyoncé’s Love on Top video , she was like, What if Solána wore a crown? The way we shot it felt very private—it was just me and [the director] Kyle Kaderabek; it almost felt as if we were making our own little independent film.
How do you balance being a musician and also working on other projects?
As much as I love music, my other interests and passions are just as important to me. Therefore, if an opportunity comes along that will help me grow in a different area (e.g., acting), then that’s what’s most important to me right now and it has to happen because it doesn’t only affect me but others who are involved in that project as well.
Are there any career goals you have for yourself?
For a long time, I wasn’t sure exactly what career path to take. I knew that music was something that made me happy—I used to write songs in my bedroom all throughout high school—but when it came to applying for jobs and choosing a college major, nothing felt like it fit.
What are some of your inspirations?
I listened to a lot of Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu growing up, says Rowe. And Stevie Wonder—his music is timeless, but it also always sounds current. The singer-songwriter also drew inspiration from other modern artists such as Jhené Aiko and Frank Ocean. We were both on Top Dawg Entertainment at one point, so we would just talk about music all day with each other, she says.
What are some of your plans for this year?
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Q. & A.
How did you first become interested in singing? What made you decide to go professional? When did you start rapping and producing your own music? And what does it mean to be on a label like Top Dawg Entertainment, which is both independent and home to critically acclaimed rappers like Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q?
What did Drake say about SZA?
SZA is one of my favorite artists, he says. I was already a fan. But she’s special. She should be big for a long time. -Drake
Why is SZA injured?
SZA was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She had never set foot on a plane until her early 20s, when she moved to Los Angeles to sign with her label Top Dawg Entertainment. But even when she did fly across country, it wasn’t long before she returned home—the longest time spent away was a week.
How did SZA get famous?
It’s been a long road to stardom for SZA, but her unique brand of classic American R&B has resonated with listeners, from Halsey and Erykah Badu to LeBron James. In 2016, she signed with TDE (Kendrick Lamar’s record label) and released Ctrl, one of our favorite albums so far.
How old is SZA now?
28 years old. When she was in her early teens, her family moved to Maplewood, New Jersey and she graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood. She subsequently attended Montclair State University for a couple of semesters before dropping out to fully pursue her music career.
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