SZA burst onto the scene in 2012 with underground deep cuts from early albums such as See.SZA.Run and S. After charting on the Independent Album charts in the US, she later signed with RCA Records in 2017. This was just the beginning for the R&B songstress who’s known for her solid, yet enchantingly dark catalog that includes hits like “Kill Bill” and “Snooze,” along with features on Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” and Kendrick Lamar’s “All the Stars.”

But what do we know about this beautiful songbird who’s helped to revitalize mainstream R&B? Is she in a relationship, how did she land a cameo on Sesame Street, and most importantly, what’s her net worth? Let’s dive deep into how she’s built her legacy.

The Start of SZA’s Career

SZA Performs At Rogers Arena
Photo by Andrew Chin

Fans know her as SZA, but she was born Solána Imani Rowe in 1989. Although her birth place is St. Louis, Missouri, SZA claims Maplewood, New Jersey as her hometown. She grew up in a middle class family with a father who was an executive producer at CNN while her mother was an executive at AT&T. 

From an early age, she was raised Muslim, following her father’s Islamic faith even though her mother is Christian. Initially, she attended a Muslim prep school and even wore a hijab until relentless bullying following the September 11 attacks pushed her to stop wearing it. Later she attended Columbia High School where she had an active extracurricular career in gymnastics and cheerleading. After graduation in 2008, SZA chose to attend college, shifting between a few schools before finally settling on nearby Delaware State University to study marine biology. However, she later chose to drop out in her final semester to pursue a music career. 

SZA’s Current Net Worth

According to recent estimates, the songbird is currently worth $6 million. This is almost entirely attributed to SZA’s work in the music industry between songs she’s written and sung as well as her songwriting work with other artists and having select tracks featured in movies like “All the Stars” for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, “The Other Side” for Trolls World Tour and “Just for Me” for Space Jam: A New Legacy. With a resume as impressive as SZA’s it’s obvious that even the sky isn’t the limit for her. So how did she build this legacy? 

SZA as an Independent Artist

The path from a dream to stardom is rarely linear and SZA spent a few years perfecting her craft before RCA Records came knocking with a recording contract. Initially, she signed with Top Dawg Entertainment after meeting with them during the CMJ New Music Report in 2011. Representatives from the group loved her material and later chose to sign SZA in 2013. 

She holds the title as the label’s first female artist and admits that her early content consisted of tracks she recorded with her friends with lyrics she penned and sang over beats ripped from the internet. SZA’s first self-released album predates her time at TDE since See.SZA.Run dropped October 29, 2012, almost a year before she signed with TDE. In April 2013, SZA released her second EP, S which received countless positive reviews from the critics. At this point, her star started rising. Along with a mini-tour, SZA continued to release more tracks which garnered more attention. 

SZA’s song “Teen Spirit” gained significant traction and even caught the attention of 50 Cent that was featured on a remix. After this, she went on to perform features on multiple songs for other artists on her label including Isaiah Rashad and Schoolboy Q. Later in 2014 SZA began working on her EP titled A which included the songs “Julia” and “Sobriety.” Meanwhile, she also collaborated with Jill Scott on a song called “Divinity” and appeared on Aiko’s “Enter The Void” Tour. 

SZA’s Shift to a Major Label

SZA at 65th Grammy Awards on stage
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

SZA’s EP A was later renamed Ctrl but while she was working on that, she also focused on ghostwriting for other artists. During this time she co-wrote “Consideration” for Rihanna’s Anti album in 2016 and eventually performed the song live with her at the 2016 Brit Awards. 

By 2017, SZA was ready for the big time and signed with RCA Records on April 28th of that year. Finally, she released her first official album Ctrl with the debut song being “Drew Barrymore.” This album garnered positive reviews from music critics and even charted at number 3 on the US Billboard 200. 

To promote the album, SZA went on tour, and also collaborated with other major label artists. This included matchups such as Maroon 5’s “What Lovers Do”, a remix of Lorde’s single “Homemade Dynamite” with other artists including Khalid and Post Malone. Likewise, the EP racked up five Grammy nominations, including one for Best New Artist. 

Fast forward to 2022 and SZA followed up Ctrl with the album SOS which was later reissued in 2024 as Lana. The album includes the popular tracks “PSA,” “Snooze,” and “Kill Bill.” To promote this album, she launched the SOS Tour in 2023 which included 54 shows in Europe and North America. 

The World Recognizes Her Talent

SZA’s music has been turning heads and making waves since she started back in 2011. To date, SZA earned an American Music Award, a Billboard Music Award, two MTV Video Music Awards, two BET Awards, a “Rulebreaker Award” from Billboard Women in Music and the Soul Train Music Award for Best New Artist. All of these are for SZA’s main discography, though she also snagged a Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her collaboration with Doja Cat for the song “Kiss Me More.” And in 2023, SZA was ranked number 180 on Rolling Stone’s 200 Greatest Singers of All Time list.