SZA (born Solana Rowe, November 8, 1990) is an American singer-songwriter born in St. Louis, Missouri, before later relocating to Maplewood, New Jersey. She formed her stage name from the Supreme Alphabet, taking influence from rapper RZA, the last two letters in her name stand for “Zig-Zag-Zig” and “Allah,” while the first letter she developed herself switching it from savior to “sovereign.”
SZA is an PBR&B and neo soul singer whose music style is alt R&B, with elements of soul, hip-hop, minimalist R&B, cloud rap, ethereal R&B, witch house and chillwave. SZA's lyrics revolve around themes of sexuality, nostalgia, and abandonment. She cites a variety of artists as influences including Billie Holiday, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bjork, Wu-Tang Clan and Jamiroquai. SZA also takes influence from non-musical artists including gymnast, ice-skaters, saxophonist, painter and movie director's including Spike Lee.
SZA first met members of Top Dawg Entertainment during the CMJ 2011, when her boyfriend's clothing company sponsored a show in which Kendrick Lamar was performing. A friend attending the show with her foisted early SZA songs onto TDE president Terrence “Punch” Henderson, who liked the material and stayed in contact. In October 2012, SZA released her debut self-released EP entitled “See.SZA.Run,” which featured production from brandUn DeShay, APSuperProducer, among others.
In April 2013 SZA released her second EP “S,” which was met with positive reviews from music critics. In July 2013 it was announced that Top Dawg had signed SZA to the label. In December 2013, SZA released the song “Teen Spirit” which was followed by the release of a remix featuring American rapper 50 Cent, along with a music video directed by APLUSFILMZ.
In 2014 SZA featured on a variety of songs from her labelmates’ albums including two songs for Isaiah Rashad debut extended play “Cilvia Demo” as well as featuring on Schoolboy Q’s debut studio album “Oxymoron.”
In March 2014 SZA released the single “Child's Play” featuring Chance The Rapper and produced by XXYYXX. SZA’s third EP, titled “Z,” was released in April 2014 and was preceded by the release of the lead single, “Babylon,” which was accompanied with a music video directed by APLUS.FILMZ. “Z” debuted on the Billboard 200 Albums chart at #39 and peaked at #9 on the Hip-Hop/R&B Albums chart.