GRAMMY upsets are nothing new in the worlds of hip-hop and R&B, but when one of 2017’s biggest breakout stars, SZA, was shut out of every award last month, fans were up in arms.
In a new interview with GQ, SZA told writer Mariah Smith that while she was initially upset, awards cannot define her success, and they definitely don’t represent her impact as an artist.
“I was so grateful to even have been honored by being nominated and having so many people fuck with my music,” SZA said in measured form. “I feel like at some point you start to get sucked up into the accolades and you’re like, Oh, this is what this is about, and this is what quantifies my success or me as an artist or a human being.
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“We reached a billion streams on Spotify. The United States fucks with my songs. We’re changing little girls’ lives across the world, and we didn’t even know what we were doing when we started. This is something much bigger than me and a fucking trophy. I’m appreciative of the opportunity. But shit happens.”
In the most organic way possible, Ctrl has acted as a beacon of light for young girls and women struggling to find themselves and face their insecurities. In fact, SZA’s music is so open and vulnerable, her fans are able to cry along to her album as a moment of cathartic release.
Earlier in the interview, SZA made clear that she had no idea Ctrl would touch lives in such an intimate manner, which is central to why the record has remained such a cultural touchstone since its June 2017 release. Not only do the album’s organic roots prove that music from the heart and soul will always rise to the top, regardless of nominations and awards, but that no trophy could ever quantify or overshadow the importance of changing lives.
As long as SZA continues making a difference, she will go down as a life-long winner.