Ever since the release of SZA’s debut album CTRL in 2017, we’ve been patiently waiting for her sophomore follow up. But personal loss delayed the release of any new projects, and eventually took an emotional toll on the burgeoning singer.
The Grammy Award-nominee recently revealed that the loss of her maternal grandmother, Norma, back in June was nearly too much to bear. She was 90.
“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,” she said during an interview with Rolling Stone.
Fans may remember Norma’s voice, who was featured on an outro for Sza’s single “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” from her CTRL album.
Sza continued, “It was so weird to not have any…I don’t know, any control over anything.”
Norma’s death was coupled with the passing of SZA’s maternal aunt. The built up grief and lack of control created a downward spiral of emotions that left the singer in a deep depression.
“I didn’t want to make music,” she said. “I didn’t. I was just trying to not kill myself and not quit, period. Because it was really f-cking hard and lonely as f-ck.”
SZA said she’s reemerged healed and whole. It’s part of the reason she got back into the studio. In fact, her new single, “The Other Side,” in collaboration with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, will be featured on the soundtrack of the upcoming film, Trolls World Tour, out April 17.
The singer’s deliberate choice is a clear message to Black women everywhere that you can’t show up for other people until you show up for yourself, which is an important lesson that many of us need.
“You really have to choose to feel better. You have to,” SZA said. “Because if you don’t, you just die. I decided I’m going to choose that shit for my f-cking self, for real.”