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SZA’s 'Ctrl' Came Out When It Did Because Her Label ‘Cut Her Off’

"They just took my hard drive from me. That was all. I just kept fucking everything up."

by Lauren O'Neill
Jul 31 2017, 1:46pm

Foto via Wikimedia Commons

Fans had been waiting for ages. SZA's Ctrl was a long time coming but now it's finally here, its blend of confessional lyrics and lazy day beats making it one of the best albums of 2017 so far. But, its aural easiness didn't translate across the process of its making, which was years-long and arduous.

In a new interview with the Guardian Guide which, at one point, takes place in a locked bathroom in a desperate bid for some privacy (and feels weirdly perfect considering SZA's extremely relatable girl persona), SZA divulged how the record that she'd agonised over ended up finally making its way into the world:

They just took my hard drive from me. That was all. I just kept fucking everything up. I just kept moving shit around. I was choosing from 150, 200 songs, so I'm just like, who knows what's good any more?

According to the piece, one day her hard drive with all those songs in it just disappeared from the studio safe. That was that. And though it's kind of an invasion of her privacy, SZA actually sounded kind of grateful for the intervention – when asked whether the record that was released would have been the one of her choosing, she said: "No, absolutely not. Any longer and I probably wouldn't … I'm also driving myself fucking crazy, so I don't know. Give me another month and it would have been something completely different."

It sounds like it's just as well that someone got involved when they did, especially because the version of Ctrl we did get feels like exactly the one we all wanted. And elsewhere in the interview, SZA proves that as one of our most special and exciting musical personalities, she won't be going anywhere soon. She talks her early style influences ("In the early 00s, the only influences for funky styles were Jamiroquai and Kelis. And George Clinton, because your dad is really on some old school shit"), her attitude to her career ("I don't feel subscribed to anything. So I feel like, when this isn't fun, I'm not gonna do it any more. When I can't grow, I'm not gonna do it any more. But it's still fun"), and a bunch of other stuff. She basically ends up sounding like the BFF you always wanted but always thought was too cool for you. Long live SZA, and here's hoping for a Ctrl follow-up that comes a little easier than its predecessor.

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