When indie R&B artist SZA took the Grammy stage on January 28, she made quite a splash. SZA proved her critics wrong when she performed “Broken Clocks,” which is one of most well-loved tracks from SZA’s debut album. Wearing a pair of modest platform shows, SZA put in a performance that impressed virtually all of the major commentators. The performance was greatly enhanced by a world-class light show. Although SZA received more Grammy nominations than any other female performer, this dynamic artist went home without any awards.
Even though she didn’t win any Grammies, SZA must be satisfied with the overwhelmingly positive reaction to her televised performance. I think it is certainly possible that SZA will become a major force to be reckoned with. Although SZA is already quite successful in the world of indie R&B, she has yet to achieve mainstream success. Over the course of the next five years, it is highly likely that SZA will establish a large and healthy fan base.
SZA has a unique melodic sensibility. When you hear a SZA song, you hear melodies and harmonies that may stay with you for quite some time. Arguably, SZA’s music is more unique and memorable than the music of major artists like Beyonce and Rihanna. Although popular artists can be quite creative, there’s no question that independent artists tend to be far more quirky and individualistic. If SZA is going to continue to grow her fan base, she will need to become more sophisticated without losing her outsider sensibility. Most of all, I belive SZA must continue to express herself authentically. The public seems to have a pretenatural gift for sniffing out fakes and phones.
Alternative R&B artist SZA just released her highly anticipated fourth album, entitled “CTRL.” This up-and-coming indie artist has reached a new milestone in her remarkable career. In a recent interview, SZA opened up a bit about her writing process. According to the agile singer, most of the lyrics on this record were essentially ad-libbed in the studio. SZA explained that although she writes plenty of lyrics down, she often finds that her improvised lyrics feel more honest, real and unguarded. For this album, SZA recruited several high-profile guests like Kendrick Lamar and Isaiah Rashad.
If SZA is able to capture the imagination of the public, she’ll be able to graduate from the status of indie R&B artist to the mainstream of the music world. It seems reasonable to assume that SZA hopes to establish a larger audience, just like any other artist. At the same time, members of the indie music sometimes lose some independence when they graduate to the next level of professional success. I hope that SZA can successfully balance her personal artistic needs with the demands of being the center of a commercial brand. While every artist needs albums sales and airplay for commercial viability, I hope that SZA is able to evolve as an artist without forgetting her roots.
SZA has a prodigious talent and I expect that this singer will accomplish many great things in the future. Over the course of her career so far, SZA has earned her place as a true auteur. Although she is technically classified as an R&B artist, there can be no doubt that SZA’s music intersects with several different genres. This is the kind of fluidity that defines the very best artists working in the indie music scene today. Arguably, SZA is well on her way towards creating a musical legacy that will stretch far into the future. Though no one can predict the future, I am fairly confident that SZA will continue to grow as an artist.