When it comes to fame, SZA frets putting too much faith in the concept.
“It’s all really fickle… Had the first three shows of my tour gone poorly, would the rest of my dates have been sold out? Would those people be outside waiting in line by the time we got to L.A.? No. All it takes is, what, three poorly shot TikTok videos to basically decide that this tour is not worth coming to see,” she tells the magazine. “I know that people don’t love me because love is really unconditional, and I’m one scandal away from being canceled indefinitely like anyone else.”
Although SZA assures she’s “grateful” people “like my art and that it speaks to them” — adding that “it’s dope” how “it connects and tethers all of us together in this weird way” — she says, “it’s also still a string that could be cut at any moment.
“Literally, sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Remember Susan Boyle? Like, what if I’m Susan Boyle?!” she continues, referring to the Scottish singer, now 62, who gained international fame in 2009 when she captivated audiences with a performance of the Les Miserables classic “I Dreamed A Dream” on “Britain’s Got Talent”.
One way SZA tries to adjust to fame is by taking time for herself and creating boundaries.
“I need time to prepare myself to be perceived…like, I need to mentally prepare. I need space and time,” she explains, elaborating that taking time isn’t about her trying to be a diva, but rather dealing with her internal struggle.
“Some people think that, like, me having anxiety or me being shy or struggling with self-esteem is an act. I’m just, deada*s, a person. Everybody else has feelings and fears,” she shares. “Why wouldn’t I be scared to be famous? Would you be scared to be famous? Because I’m famous, I’m not allowed to be scared? I wasn’t born famous. I had regular quiet-a*s parents from a small town like everybody else. And I guess at some point I’m supposed to acclimate to all of this?
SZA’s story for Elle‘s June/July 2023 Music Issue hits newsstands June 6.