SZA tells Rolling Stone about the loss of family members last year that sent her into a depression.
In June of 2019, SZA's fans learned of the passing of her grandmother, Norma, who they were familiar with from soundbites of her sharing warmth and wisdom on SZA's debut album, CTRL. While we could have imagined how difficult of a time SZA was going through while grieving this loss, she mostly kept her struggle private until opening up in her new interview with Rolling Stone.
“My grandma was like my best friend. It was the longest five months of my life,” she told the publication, referring to the period when Norma was in hospice care. While fans continued to hound SZA to release new music, her primary focus after her grandmother died was taking care of herself. “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 fucking hard, and lonely as fuck.” SZA's "dark-ass depression” was compounded by the losses of her friend, Mac Miller, and her aunt, which both occurred around the same period.
Through various healing techniques - such as crystals, sound bowls and meditation - SZA has begun to find her footing again. While she's hesitant to declare whether she will be dropping an album in 2020, she has been recording a lot and has been excited by the results. "Every day became its own nucleus of ideas and experimentations, which led to making some shit I haven’t heard before," she said about her recording sessions in Kauai. In preparation for whatever is next, she has collaborated with Timbaland (“He played fucking Brazilian jazz-type beats, and I popped off to that”), Sia (who "manifested the best" of her when writing three songs together) and Pharrell.
SZA is concerned with ensuring that her music stays true to herself, rather than becoming the sterile product of a popstar - as her immense fame has threatened to turn her into. “I’ve dropped nothing but features,” she explained. “People don’t know who the fuck I am, right? They think I’m on some stupid superstar shiny shit. I know people are tired of seeing that. They want to see me. I owe people that. So I’m going to do that."
In other SZA news, she released a collaboration with Justin Timberlake today, "The Other Side".