SZA’s Rise to Fame

Dive further into the life of SZA and uncover more about her rise to fame


Wikimedia Commons

SZA preformed for many fans during her “Ctrl” tour across the nation.

Grayce Page and Emma Carter

SZA’s life began when she was born on Nov. 8, 1990 in St. Louis. The name she was given when born was Solana Imani Rowe, but now is known for her name SZA, pronounced “sizzah.” While she was born in St. Louis, SZA grew up in the town of Maplewood, New Jersey that was surrounded with a community that was nearly all white. SZA’s father grew up working for CNN, and mom working for AT&T. While they worked hard to pay bills, SZA attended an Islamic prep school, due to her Muslim father who wanted to pass down his faith to her. After a while she did end up stepping back from that faith. 

Though SZA comes across as very confident and versatile, while growing up and going to school she was bullied and has stated that she felt her childhood was somewhat lonely. She didn’t have many friends and all of her siblings were 10 years apart. SZA spent a lot of her time listening to all kinds of different music. She listened to anything from jazz to indie rock. She enjoyed listening to music but never intended to start a career in music. Before becoming the woman we know her as now, she attended Delaware State University to study marine biology. She did however transfer schools and eventually dropped out.

During her life she had a brother who was a rapper and had her help him by singing hooks for his own music. By having shared this part of her musical uprise in herself with her brother, she felt compelled to start making her own music, so she did. She started small with SoundCloud and produced songs such as “Aftermath,” which is that song that started to gain plays. After a while, Top Dawg Entertainment saw potential in her and she signed to the label and then released her EPZin 2014.

Fast forward to 2017, SZA released her album “Ctrl.” This song gained a lot of attention and raised SZA’s listener numbers even more. While she didn’t win a Grammy for this album, it did remain for more than 200 weeks on the Billboard 200.

Just at the peak of some of her best moments of fame at the time being, she then had to experience and cope with the loss of not only her grandmother’s death, but also one of her friends and other well known artist, Mac Miller, passing away. From these tragedies, she discovered some new hobbies and techniques to help her cope and find peace in her own pain. Some things she did include Pilates, meditation and even sound bowls.

After some time of healing, SZA didn’t release a new album for a while, however that didn’t stop her from showing the world what she’s made of. She featured in songs such as “All the Stars” with Kendrick Lamar, the “Black Panther” (2018) soundtrack, as well as Justin Timberlake’s “The Other Side” from the film “Trolls World Tour” (2020) and so much more.

Not only did she feature in songs but also released some of her biggest hits such as songs “Good Days,” which reached No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and her other song “Hit Different.” To add on to her success in the music industry, SZA and artist Doja Cat released the song “Kiss Me More.”

As you’ve probably heard, SZA released her new album “S.O.S” on Dec. 9. The title track, while only being out for about a week, has hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Many listeners have enjoyed listening to the album and have had many good reviews. All in all, SZA had worked hard to be where she is now, and all of her hard work has paid off. She has much more work to do, and many more fans ready to listen.