SZA has become a force to be reckoned with in 2023 as she has skyrocketed to a new era of stardom after releasing her highly anticipated sophomore album, SOS at the end of 2022.
The album has spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart which is the most for any female artist this decade and the impact she has had on music is undeniable. Let's discuss how SZA has taken over this year in a big way.
She is a versatile artist and a visionary creating a new era that topped the success of her debut album CTRL that was extremely hard to compete with. Ctrl which included mega hits like “The Weekend” and “Love Galore. This album is known to be a staple R&B album and the general public, especially her fans, were worried with how she could keep up with a body of work that was top to bottom a masterpiece but she proved to everyone in a big way that this album would be another mind blowing release.
Because of how well SOS is still doing on the charts, SZA has broken records that no one saw coming and the numbers she has been collecting because of this era has sent her over the edge of being mainstream. She is an artist for everyone and she is finally receiving the flowers which she deserves more than ever.
SZA is all about perfecting her craft and her lyrics are always creatively done. To me, SZA’s lyrics could be written as a poem as she takes her sweet time putting out music that is thought out in a way that is unique to her. SOS has a multitude of different genres within the album and shows SZA can tackle any kind of music she puts her mind to.
The demand has been so high for SZA that her first major stadium tour sold out within seconds which no one saw coming. This tour included a sold out show at Capital One Arena as well as two back to back nights at Madison Square Garden. At the Capital One Arena show I attended, there was not one seat that wasn’t filled, even in the 400s section where I sat, and everyone was singing along.
During the CTRL era, no one really saw her as this all around performer, but for the SOS Tour, she was doing splits and crazy choreography with no vocal backing track. It was her raw vocals that sounded just like if not better than the track. Her tour set is a massive sailboat with a lighthouse. The lighthouse was there to act as a stage light that complimented the boat which was out to sea and the lighthouse was there to help her SOS signal. SZA has sent herself over the top and every show she has done, there is not one quiet crowd. She finally made it even bigger than she ever was, all because of SOS.
Deemed “Woman of the Year” by Billboard at this year/s Billboard Women In Music, SZA has garnered a career high in people listening to her as she is included in the top ten artists with the most monthly listeners on Spotify currently.
I reached out to University of Maryland students and asked their opinions on if it’s the year of SZA as well as what sets her apart.
Sophomore hearing and speech major Paige McGinnis said, “I definitely think this is the year of SZA because her tour is sold out and she is known by so many people. I think what sets her apart is how her lyrics are super relatable and catchy and she is an amazing live performer.”
“It is the year of SZA because she has taken over the world by storm,” said sophomore biology major Sydney Chanell. “What sets her apart is her musicality and the healing you feel from her music. Her music relates to everyone in a different way.”
Sophomore criminology major Natalia Ortega said, “I think SZA holds such a strong musical influence that it sets her apart from everyone else in the game. She can go several years without releasing an album and her hype never dies down she continues to break records and top charts no matter how long it takes for her to release music and that sets her apart from anyone else”
SZA has become a well-known name in this industry more than ever and she finally is receiving the recognition she’s always deserved. She has two albums that are an emotional journey from start to finish and the world is listening to the perfectly curated lyrics SZA has written. 2023 is deemed the year of SZA!