A month after being snubbed at the Grammys, SZA has two new interviews (and one major cover) out that have all but solidified her status as one of the most relatable chart-toppers in the game right now.
Speaking to GQ, SZA revealed that she was “mad as hell” about her Grammy losses. The most nominated woman at the Grammys this year, the 27-year-old singer was the crowd favorite to take home the award for Best New Artist, which Alessia Cara ended up winning.
As she discusses how she felt before and after that night, SZA keeps things all-the-way real in a way that few artists with her level of success do. Like when she discusses how hard it was to deal with the loss publicly:
You’d think having all of these people excessively posting or vocalizing their support for you after losing would be uplifting and flattering. But on the receiving end, that’s difficult to take.
You know, I never looked at the Internet [after the Grammys]. I never looked at anything anyone ever said after that online—not once. The only time I ever heard about it was in person, when someone walked up to me and was like, “You were robbed” or whatever the fuck. I was like, “I feel you.” My home girl actually showed me Alessia [Cara]’s post and I thought, This is really crazy.
I just didn’t know how to take it. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t post, because I’ve never had to deal with anything I really believed in wholeheartedly, or invested in, and went through something that publicly before. I wanted to be honest as fuck, and if today I’m just mad as hell, I don’t want to say something that reflects me being mad as hell. But I definitely feel blessed now. I also don’t feel compelled to explain myself.
And battling your ego:
Do you feel like you are in a battle with your ego?
Yeah, of course! I don’t think of the ego in terms of who I am to other people. I think of it in terms of who I am to myself and when I take shit personally. Shit like the Grammys. I can have an attitude and really take that shit an ugly-ass way and get caught up in the wrong moment and miss everything about it. Miss the whole blessing in it. But you gotta identify the ego so that you can get over it.
In SZA’s conversation with Kara Brown at The Fader, the cover of which she graces this month, readers are treated to another side of the performer. She comes off as an artist who’s managed to hold on to herself through the fame and attention—eating ribs, sushi and spinach-artichoke dip, and delivering blunt observations about, life, Ctrl and managing success.
Here’s the alt-R&B singer on eating right:
“Trying to fix my diet. Trying to cut back on a lot of things just ‘cause your body is a machine and needs shit to energize the focus, and if I’m high eating ribs all the time, I can’t do anything.”
And on managing her schedule:
When I tell her she looks like she’s just come from the woods, she purrs and playfully faux-primps her hair: “Oh my god. Dream. Please. Please stop.” Originally, she wanted to take me to “the forest” and “smoke me out,” but plans changed due to a hectic timetable filled with preparations for her trip. “The art of squeezing shit in,” she says, shaking her head.
This was SZA’s reaction to hearing that her song “Broken Clocks” (which still brings her dad to tears) made it to former President Barack Obama’s list of favorite songs of 2017:
Appropriately, she heard the news while she was in Hawaii, his home state. “It’s so weird ‘cause I had been talking about Obama since I landed in Hawaii,” she says. “I was like, ‘Is it weird if I DM his daughters and ask to hang out?’ And I’m like, ‘OK, never mind I’m gonna smoke weed,’” she laughs.
And on the disconnect between how she perceived Ctrl and how the rest of the world saw it:
For all the success and all the acclaim, there’s still a disconnect between how SZA sees herself and how the world sees her. “I didn’t even fuck with my own album, so I was so confused and almost, like, angry that everyone fucked with it so much,” she says. “It meant everything I felt about myself was wrong. And it was just like, If that’s not the truth, then what is the truth?”
Never change, SZA.