SZA Says ‘Vibing Aimlessly’ Was Key to Her Successful Music Career

Her second studio album, ‘SOS,’ spent seven consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 chart.


What a run. SZA topped the Billboard 200 chart for seven consecutive weeks with SOS after her second studio album was released in December. Last year she won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo Performance alongside Doja Cat for their hit, “Kiss Me More.” But SZA wasn’t always so successful and focused in her pursuits. 

In a recent profile with The New York Times, the “Good Days” singer revealed that after dropping out of college, she worked 14 hour days as a bartender and dancer at a strip club.

The Missouri native, born Solána Rowe, shared that she struggled after dropping out of college and moving back to New Jersey with her family. She didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere and her parents weren’t happy with her decision to leave school.

Years before she went on to release her first album, Ctrl, in 2017, she found inspiration in letting life guide her way.

“When I wouldn’t do the college thing [my parents] wanted, my mom kind of insinuated that I had to, like, get out,” the 33-year-old explained. “I started staying on people’s couches, and vibing aimlessly. That sent me into a crazy depression but also lit a fire under my a--.”

Today, Ctrl remains on the Billboard 200 chart after 294 weeks, making it the second-longest-charting R&B album by a woman in history—after Rihanna’s 2016 ANTI.

“She named her album Ctrl for a reason,” SZA’s mother, Audrey Rowe, said. “I wish I knew then what I know now, about listening to what your child has a passion for, and supporting that, whatever it is.”

The “Kill Bill” singer noted that sometimes she feels like her success is just too good to be true.

“Part of me feels like, wait, this album is really good, and I can’t imagine being any more famous, or any more successful,” she said. “I’m like, am I about to die? Fall over the edge? It’s like, my album has to tank, because if it’s any better, if it goes so well, I have to die after that. Because no one gets that.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.