SZA admits that life in the spotlight can often be exhausting, so much so that she considers leaving it all behind for a bucolic life.
“So many times I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m going to be a farmer. My contract is about to expire, I might as well be a farmer,” she said during the 100th episode of the Community Voices series. “Because the pressure to put out another album, to make sure my deals make sense […] Building this life is much harder than abdicating my responsibility [as an artist].”
The episode, which aired in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, came less than two weeks after SZA deleted his TikTok account. The 32-year-old artist urged others to follow suit: “Delete everything, anyone and anything that doesn’t serve you,” she wrote on Instagram. SZA elaborated on the toxic nature of social media when meeting with Community Voices.
“It’s weird sometimes, when your personal thoughts and feelings match up with some of the things people say about you,” she said of the trolls. “It’s like, ‘Damn. I think that about me? I don’t know if that person is so wrong. It’s weird, because then it’s like, ‘Damn, what the hell not go with me?’ It’s hard. It’s hard not to fall into this weird hole of self-loathing.
SZA went on to say that the negative comments she receives online also make her wonder if she is cut out for fame. She remembers reading some of the hate other celebrities received and wondering if her skin was just too thin.
She also opened up about her Met Gala appearance earlier this month, revealing she felt insecure and uncomfortable during the event.
“I hated my outfit,” she said. “It’s really unhealthy. I snuck in the back, soon as Lenny Kravitz got on stage […] I couldn’t even go down the main steps to get out. I took a taxi. I walked three blocks without shoes…and just tiptoed a few blocks and took a yellow cab back to my hotel, because I was just overwhelmed. I was too anxious to wait for my taxi in front of the crowd.
SZA said she has several methods to deal with anxiety and stress: going out for physical activity, praying and creating music.
“It’s exhausting,” she said of working in a “psychotic industry.” “Physical exhaustion, mental exhaustion doesn’t come from making music. I love making music. I love creating. It’s sort of my own source of therapy and meditation, but the exhaustion really comes from expectations and reprimands and dehumanization from outside forces. And that shit makes me think, ‘Why am I doing this? Why would I arrange to be full-bodied like this in a way? regular?”
She said her feelings towards the recording had changed significantly. She used to dread going to the studio because she always felt compelled to create “something hot”.
“I have really high expectations for myself, so if I do something crazy, it’s like, ‘I don’t want to be here,'” she explained. “I started focusing on creating and chasing that light bulb moment where I’m like, ‘Oh, that makes sense…or that shit’s kinda honest. I keep moving in that direction and let it snowball.
You can listen to the entire SZA Voice of the community episode below. The Finish Line Youth Foundation, which presents the series, will donate $30,000 to the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) on behalf of SZA.