SZA Says She Began Making Music to 'Prove a Point' to Her Ex-Fiancé

The 'SOS' hitmaker is now the most-nominated artist at the 2024 Grammys with nine nods.

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SZA sat down with Zane Lowe for a wide-ranging Apple Music interview about her struggles with fame and how her ex-fiancé started her down this career path.

The SOS singer explored the origins of her music career, which started with her trying to prove a point. "When I started making music, it was to my ex-fiancé because he was paying for everything," she said at the 26:35 mark above (and excerpted below). "My food, my clothes, where I lived. And he was like eight years my senior."

She continued, "I was so codependent and he was so talented. His ex-girlfriends were all lawyers, businesswomen, and artists…and I'm a college dropout, I was still bartending at the strip club. I felt like I lacked value."

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Elsewhere, SZA—who's the most-nominated artist at the 2024 Grammys with nine nods, bringing her career total to 24—discussed how she recently had an epiphany that fame is "not normal."

"I realized, as of recent, that a lot of this shit is not normal," she said at the 11:30 mark. "And I didn't know how to process that experience. And I was having a lot of lashing out, a lot of frustration. There are a lot of opinions, a lot of entitlement to your space, a lot of entitlement to your time, a lot of expectation, and no one is understanding."

The 34-year-old confessed that these feelings toward fame have made her feel "on edge and not a kind person." She opened up about feeling anxiety over how she's perceived "in a vacuum, in your most high pressure moment," as opposed to her authentic self.

Her concerns over public perception even led to panic attacks. "I started having weird panic attacks I never had before. Crying and shit in spaces that were just...I'm at a photo shoot for Wall Street Journal and I'm crying on set because I'm freaking out about being perceived, and I'm just like, 'I just can't do it,'" she recalled at 15:48.

SZA described her current stage as being "concerned about what does all of this actually mean, how do people view me, how do people see me, what do they expect from me, can I just disappear and not talk to anybody? ... So many things."

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