Hiiigh with Top Dawg Entertainment’s first lady: SZA [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – Originally published August 31, 2014 – After a beautiful Friday night set in Vancouver by Top Dawg Entertainment’s lovely first lady, we caught up with SZA in the project space at Fortune Sound. The low key babe made rounds chatting up adoring fans, giving them genuine moments of her time, listening to stories and patiently receiving admiration. She’s gorgeous, sweet and smart but she’s not the type of girl who wants you to think you know her. While SZA is humble and receptive to her surroundings she also maintains a mysterious charm – something one might consider part of her signature qualities.
Assuming SZA would be less approachable, no interview was prepared but from the jump she was kind and cute and chatting with her felt like catching up with an old homie. When we first met we girl-talked about hair techniques after I asked if she needed to borrow an elastic to tie up her wild mane. She said “no thanks” and went on to explain how she uses olive oil to shine her locks once in a while and only cleanses with conditioner, never shampoo. I told her I loved her videos and how she takes a hand in directing them herself. She said her father was in film so it was a natural thing to her. I told her we needed to catch up later over a spliff and get some of her words on paper for her Canadian fans.
“I have this thing where I wanted to live this life where I live in a little log cabin, furnished with Organic Modernism with my short haired collie, and my trilingual fuckin’ children and my husband is an architect type shit. Sometimes I still want that but other times it’s like, I just gotta be me.“
Not only is SZA talented, stunning and uniquely creative in everything she does, she can also out smoke some of the best. She explained that with the Made In America festival coming in a few days, she was taking it easy and sticking to the BC chronic for the evening. We rolled up a white paper and got to conversing – check it out below.
Interview conducted by KassKills for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: You’re in Vancouver at Fortune Sound tonight, and about to play the Made In America festival this weekend. With one being a more intimate crowd and the other being so huge, where do you feel the most comfortable?
SZA: I think, somewhere in between. For a long time I was only comfortable with smaller crowds. Once I fell into a groove, like at Afropunk I fell into, like, how to connect with the crowd and how to come outside myself and do me and just vibe, you know?
HipHopCanada: So, is it just about the people in the front row for you?
SZA: Ya, exactly. But with a big festival, like Pitchfork Festival, you just gotta get in your own shit.
HipHopCanada: I’m sure you get asked my next question a lot…
SZA: Wait, spark that shit while we talk.
HipHopCanada: Pass the lighter. So, being the only singer and the first lady of TDE, how do you hold your own and stay grounded in a male dominated environment?
SZA: Ya, I have to learn myself. It was very scary at first, I’m very sensitive. I’m either inwardly angry or on a rampage to fuck shit up. So, dealing with them, they’re guys so we argue like everybody else, but we’re family.
HipHopCanada: What kind of influence does your team have on you?
SZA: You know what’s wild, I respect everyone for completely different reasons. I respect Kendrick for his work ethic, Isaiah for his spontaneity – also he has great melodies, Soul for his philosophies, Jay Rock for his kindness, warmness, respect and Q for his “I don’t give a fuck. It is what it is” – I respect that. I look at everybody for different things.
HipHopCanada: What is your earliest music memory?
SZA: Sitting at the kitchen table with my Dad eating oatmeal listening to John Coltrane “Love Supreme”.
HipHopCanada: What are you currently listening to?
SZA: I don’t really listen to music. It’s weird. My Spotify account expired and I haven’t gotten a new one. Well, I listen to Little Dragon, their last album.
HipHopCanada: What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
HipHopCanada: Really? Like, an office job?
SZA: I have this thing where I wanted to live this life where I live in a little log cabin, furnished with Organic Modernism with my short haired collie, and my trilingual fuckin’ children and my husband is an architect type shit. Sometimes I still want that but other times it’s like, I just gotta be me.
HipHopCanada: That’s very Vancouver.
SZA: I might move here.
HipHopCanada: You’d fit in here. You’re just a low key girl at heart?
SZA: I find more joy in like, the beauty of God’s creations. I get brought to tears super easy especially if it’s something God created. Even just noticing like, people don’t know about the world. You know how many people don’t know what Vancouver looks like? They’ve never thought to look it up or no one every told them about it. You can start to get stuck in your own little vacuum and it fucks your brain up. You don’t have a realistic sense of beauty.
HipHopCanada: What was the last thing that made you cry?
SZA: There’s this cove in Palos Verde, California. I never saw water so blue and clear. I realized like, my whole life is not real. It’s so much more beautiful than I even think it is. I just went to Mexico and lived in a tree house…that shit was crazy.
HipHopCanada: There’s a place on Vancouver Island where you can camp in a tent in the trees. I feel like you would love it.
SZA: I have to check it out.
HipHopCanada: What was the last thing that made you happy?
SZA: I have no idea. Probably that same day in Palos Verde a couple months ago. I swam out so far. I just challenged myself and swam over to these mini islands.
HipHopCanada: Do you have any words for your Canadian fans?
SZA: I wanna get to know you guys. This place is so ill to me, I really want to grow roots here.
HipHopCanada: Come back anytime, girl.
Interview conducted by KassKills for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada