SZA is the R&B star behind Time’s best album of 2017, Ctrl. The St. Louis, Missouri, native launched her music career when she released her debut EP, See.SZA.Run, in October 2012. In April 2013, she released her second EP, S, and several months later, she signed with Kendrick Lamar’s hip hop label Top Dawg Entertainment.

She followed up her third EP, Z, with her debut album Ctrl. The album debuted at number three on US Billboard 200 and went on to become a huge success. SZA’s songs revolve around her battle with depression, sexuality, and at times, her family. This piece will look at SZA’s conservative upbringing and the influence her parents had on her music.

She was raised in a conservative home by a Muslim dad and a Christian mom

SZA

SZA was born on 8th November 1990 to a Muslim dad and a Christian mom. She was raised an Orthodox Muslim, and that meant that she had to wear baggy clothes and a hijab during elementary and middle school. SZA is still a fan of baggy clothes because she feels comfortable in them. SZA is appreciative of her conservative roots and the religion she grew up practicing. She stated in an interview with Hot 97 FM:

“It’s the way that I connect with God; it has always made sense to me. I think I would love to wear my hijab but I feel like I don’t wanna wear my hijab and talk crazy on stage and be in videos with Travis Scott. Like I don’t wanna be disrespectful because I have too much love and respect for the religion, for my father, and for myself.”

SZA’s parents are quite successful and they are her biggest fans

SZA and her mother
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

SZA’s parents were very successful in their careers. Her father was an executive producer at CNN, and her mom was an executive at AT&T. They influenced SZA’s music by playing music by artists such as Miles Davis and Coltrane. SZA also told Interview Magazine that her conservative upbringing helped her become creative. She said:

“When your parents regulate everything you hear and everything you intake, it forces you to get creative in other ways. It sparked the writing bug and the very overactive imagination. Because I’ve had a lot of time by myself and a lot of time isolated from regular culture, I created my own.”

SZA’s parents have repeatedly shown that they are her biggest fans. Her mom and grandmother accompanied her to the 60th Grammy Awards, where she had five nominations. In February 2018, a video of SZA’s dad breaking into tears while listening to SZA’s song Broken Clocks appeared on Twitter. She retweeted the video and wrote:

“Really love u daddy. Thank u for loving ME! Forever my favorite warrior.”