Not to be confused with Wu-Tang Clan members RZA or GZA (although her stage name is derived from the same source), alt-R&B singer SZA has been steadily building an underground music career since 2011, when various connections put her in touch with indie hip-hop label Top Dawg Entertainment. After self-releasing a couple of EPs to critical acclaim, SZA signed to Top Dawg for her 2014 album Z, featuring guest appearances from big names like Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar. More critical acclaim and top 10 placements on the R&B and hip-hop charts helped SZA land on a major label with the June release of her RCA Records debut Ctrl.

The Los Angeles Times called Ctrl “equal parts aching, brazen and gorgeously honest,” and All Music declared it “an indication of more great work to come.” SZA is now being covered by R&B sensation Khalid, co-writing with Rihanna, making a music video with Drew Barrymore (the namesake of Ctrl’s lead single) and launching her first-ever headlining tour, after opening for artists like Little Dragon and Jhene Aiko. That’s pretty good for a singer who in a 2013 Billboard interview described the recording of her first EP as “totally accidental.”

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