By MESFIN FEKADU
NEW YORK (AP) — After SZA created the drums-drenched, reggae-tinged song “Consideration,” she thought she had finally found the sound of her debut album. But there was one problem: Rihanna heard the song and wanted it.
“And I’m just like, ‘It has a video. I shot a video already to it. It’s coming out on Wednesday. That was going to be the first song to prep the album,’” SZA recalled in a recent interview.
Rihanna kept SZA as a featured artist on the track, which opens her critically acclaimed “Anti” album, released last year. And while SZA said recording with the pop star “was a learning experience, it was just dope” — as for her own project? She felt lost. She cried like a baby. She was devastated. She had never given away something she cared so much about.
“I was crying (and thinking), ‘I’ll never make anything better,’” said SZA, now 28. “And Kendrick (Lamar) was like, ‘Well, this is what separates great people. Because great people make better things than that.’”
SZA proved herself to be great — and also proved her earlier prediction wrong.
The songs that make up “Ctrl,” her major-label debut released in June nominated for five Grammy Awards, have resonated with fans around the world, making SZA both a critical darling and a commercial success. The album is at the forefront of the alternative R&B movement, with SZA earning praise for her vocal delivery and direct lyrics that both female and male fans vibe to.
“My favorite game to play at her shows is finding the tough guy, the straight dude who doesn’t want to show no emotion, and as soon as his song comes on, he loses his mind,” said Terrence “Punch” Henderson, the co-president of independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment, home to SZA and Lamar.
“She’s the voice of this generation right now,” he added. “The words she’s saying is honest and raw (and) she’s speaking for these girls and also these guys.”
On some of her songs, SZA fires off her lyrics more like a rapper than a singer — switching topics quickly as she talks about having sex, failed relationships, persevering in life and if being herself is enough.
“I’m so ashamed of myself think I need therapy,” she even sings on “Normal Girl.”
The hit “The Weekend” is about sharing a boyfriend and SZA wonders if her body type is enough for her lover on “Garden (Say It Like Dat).” She asks for “another Valium” on “Love Galore,” where she also sings, “Why you bother me when you know you got a woman?” Smoking weed is peppered throughout the album — and on this particular day, a week after Grammy nominations, joy was in the air, along with the smell of marijuana.
“Ctrl,” which has achieved gold status, has launched two platinum singles with “Love Galore” and “The Weekend.” The project was named the No. 1 album of the year by several critics, including Time, Vice, New York Daily News and The Associated Press; it was ranked No. 2 by the New York Times, NPR, Pitchfork and Billboard.
The success makes SZA the belle of the Grammys — she’s the most nominated female act.
“You know what’s crazy? I feel like you’re never as good as people say you are. And you’re never as bad as people say you are. So, it’s like, you just gotta take it like with a grain of salt. Like, it’s an experience. A responsibility more so. I think it’s like a knock on the head. Like, you have a responsibility, you have a purpose, so it’s like, uh, get to work and focus,” she said.
SZA’s nominations include best new artist and best urban contemporary album for “Ctrl.” Three of her songs also earned nominations — the Travis Scott-assisted “Love Galore” (best rap/sung performance); the fan-favorite “The Weekend” (best R&B performance); and album opener “Supermodel” (best R&B song).
But music didn’t almost happen for SZA, born Solana Rowe in St. Louis but raised in New Jersey.
“I had no idea. I just really wanted to be a scientist or just, like, do something like a gymnast. …Then I wanted to be in fashion marketing. I really wanted an office, badly. Needed an office. Needed a corner. Needed, like, the wood grain. Needed the good view. Needed the long lunch. Like, I needed all that,” she said. “I just wanted to wear power suits. And like, you know, hair slick, skin immaculate. Like, you know, you always crave what’s the hardest for you to attain.”
“So the music thing I just stumbled on, that was not my plan at all,” she added. “I fought this hard. Like, I fought this whole process so hard. I’m even fighting it now. …But it’s getting easier … I’m accepting. I’m accepting where I am. And this is true direction.”
Punch first met the big-haired SZA in 2011 at a Lamar show in New York. SZA was helping sell merchandise but they didn’t have his size. When she arrived in the lobby of Punch’s hotel to bring him clothes, he overheard the music blasting out of headphones of SZA’s friend.
It was SZA’s song.
“SZA got all embarrassed. She wasn’t going to say anything about singing,” said Punch, who co-wrote four songs on “Ctrl” and is nominated alongside the singer for best R&B song. “I heard her voice and her voice was so distinctive, and then I heard what she was actually saying. I’m like, ‘Yo, she is like a lyricist.’”
That song was one of the first SZA recorded. They kept in touch, she let him listen to more songs and he would give her advice. After two years, she asked Punch to manage her.
“We really talked about it seriously and here we are,” he said.
SZA, who recently won two Soul Train Awards and is nominated for four NAACP Image Awards, is now looking ahead to the Grammys. She plans on bringing her grandmother to the event, to be held in New York City on January 28.
“She’s getting her outfit ready,” SZA said of her grandmother, who lives in St. Louis and is heard giving feisty advice and words of encouragement to SZA, along with the singer’s mother, throughout the “Ctrl” album.
“She’s 90, and this is the one time that the Grammys is near my hometown,” she said. “I’m thankful.”
FREE ICE CREAM Block Party hosted by News In Onslow and YoBre’z in Jacksonville today 3PM-6PM
The first 50 people to show up today at YoBre’z located at 715 Gum Branch Road Suite 6 in Jacksonville will receive a free cup of ice cream on behalf of News In Onslow.
News In Onslow & YoBre’z Frozen Dessert Bar presents the Ice Cream Block Party! The event starts Today, September 2, 2018, at 3PM-6PM.
The first 50 people will receive FREE ICE CREAM on behalf of News In Onslow and everyone else will be Buy One Get One Free.
There will be a Live DJ, Vendors and of course ICE CREAM.
For more information please contact us at (910-378-9572 or visit the Ice Cream Block Party Facebook event page by clicking HERE.
NEW: News In Onslow Radio Show starts tonight, UNCUT, UNFILTERED, and RAW 9:00 P.M.
Welp! I said I wasn’t going to tell anybody but I just couldn’t keep it to myself.
News In Onslow will now be syndicated on BlogTalkRadio and Itunes.
Every Friday night beginning Friday, August 31, 2018, we will be live with Gerald Jackson at 9:00 P.M. talking about all the latest, breaking and gossip news in Onslow County, North Carolina.
This show will be sponsored every week and is unfiltered, uncut, and RAW! Tonight, the show will start with an Onslow County address to Al Burgess about some recent controversy and concerns by the citizens of Onslow County. We will also be giving you information about local Jacksonville attorney Earnest J. Wright!
You can stream us live on BlogTalkRadio by clicking HERE or right here on our website.
The upcoming show TONIGHT at 9:00 P.M. is at the following link BELOW:
Aretha Franklin, ‘The Queen of Soul,’ dies at age 76
- Aretha Franklin, known famously as “The Queen of Soul,” has died at age 76.
Aretha passed away in her Detroit home where she was under hospice care. She’d been in failing health for many months and she was down to 86 pounds. One source told us he was informed more than a week ago that Aretha could go at any time, according to TMZ.
Aretha’s career is just incredible. Born in Memphis in 1942, her family eventually relocated to Detroit where she began singing in her father’s church. She was such a powerhouse gospel singer, she landed a Columbia record deal in the early ’60s.
Her string of chart-topping hits began with her Atlantic Records deal in 1967.
Aretha’s achievements in the late ’60s were remarkable for any artist, but especially so for a black woman in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. She held the record for the most entries on the Hot 100 list of any female artist for nearly 40 years, only to be dethroned in 2017 by Nicki Minaj.
She won 18 Grammys and was the first woman ever inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Aretha delivered a powerful rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” — while wearing that unforgettable hat — at Barack Obama‘s 2009 inauguration.
Throughout her career, Aretha was known for delivering incredible one-off live performances, including at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors show where she sang ‘Natural Woman’ in honor of the song’s co-writer, Carole King.
The Queen of Soul was 76. She is survived by her 4 sons.
She was surrounded by friends and family when she passed.
She had appeared incredibly frail in recent years, and rarely performed live. Her most recent appearance was last November for Elton John‘s AMFAR event.
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