SZA is no stranger to discussing her mental health struggles and her experiences with anxiety. In 2021, the “Good Days” singer tweeted about having “debilitating anxiety” that causes her to shield away from the public. Unfortunately, she still has those same struggles today and opened up about it during Community Voices 100th episode for Mental Health Awareness Month. While SZA enjoys making music, she’s not a fan of the spotlight, which may be surprising to many.
“So many times I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m about to go be a farmer. My contract is about to expire, I might as well be a farmer,’" she said. “Because the pressure of dropping another album, making sure my deals make sense [...] building this life is way harder than abdicating my responsibility [as an artist].”
While she has fans who love her, like many celebrities the “I Hate U” singer still deals with criticism no matter what, and sometimes those negative comments get to her especially if she was already thinking about herself in that way.
“It’s weird sometimes, when your personal thoughts and feelings align with some of the things people say about you,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Damn. I think this about myself? I don’t know if this person is so wrong.’ It’s weird, because then it’s like, ‘Damn, what’s wrong with me?’ It’s tough. It’s hard not to fall into that weird hole of self-loathing.”
During the sit-down, SZA recalled how her anxiety caused her to leave in the middle of the 2022 Met Gala. “I hated my outfit,” she said. “It’s really unhealthy. I snuck out the back, as soon as Lenny Kravitz hit the stage [...] I couldn’t even walk down the main steps to exit. I took a cab. I walked three city blocks with no shoes on … and I just tiptoed a couple blocks and caught a yellow cab back to my hotel, because I was just overwhelmed. I had too much anxiety to wait for my cab in front of the crowd.”
She calls working in the music industry “exhausting” but not because of the music. It’s the politics, expectations, and other outside forces that come with it which she calls “dehumanizing.” She also admitted to putting some of the pressure on herself due to having high standards when she’s creating. But she has since learned from it.
“I have really high expectations for myself, so if I’m doing something wack, it’s like, ‘I don’t wanna be here,’” she shared. “I started focusing on creation and chasing that lightbulb moment where I’m, like ‘Oh, this makes sense … or this sh-t kind of honest.’ I keep moving in that direction and letting it snowball.”
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Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic