SZA takes Ctrl at the Novo
Christmas came early for SZA (pronounced "Sizza") fans when she added a concert date at the Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Her "Ctrl" tour, named after her debut album, originally did not have any North American shows for November due to the fact that she is scheduled to tour the United Kingdom with R&B artist Bryson Tiller.
Solána Rowe, or better known by her stage name “SZA” released her debut EP See.SZA.Run followed by her second EP S and was signed to the record label Top Dawg Entertainment shortly after. Her debut studio album “Ctrl” was released on June 9th of this year and produced her platinum single “Love Galore” featuring rapper Travis Scott which she performed towards the end of her set at the Novo.
SZA walked onto the stage, lit in red, as she sang the beginning of Supermodel as fans began to scream. After finishing she asked the crowd “who the f**k has a day job?” which is a reference to her song Broken Clocks where SZA talks about working a stressful day job. She prefaced "Broken Clocks" with a short speech about the song's origin. SZA shared a story of when she was invited to a house party by a guy she was talking to, only to show up and find that same guy with another girl. This story was the motivation behind the song and she told the audience to appreciate themselves and never do things below their self-worth.
SZA clearly communicates the emotion of her songs throughout her set not only with her voice but with the way she moved and danced on stage. During songs like “Go Gina” and “Broken Clocks”, she matched the energy of the song with quick movements and fast dancing which the crowd follows. During the performance of her hit single, “Love Galore,” SZA took the mic and sang the chorus directly to the crowd and the crowd sang her lyrics right back.
One of SZA’s last songs was "20 Something" where she discusses the emotions of people in their 20s with ideas of feeling lost, losing friends, and finding love all while wishing their confusing and emotional 20's never end. SZA also touches on the “27 Club” phenomenon where young, successful artists like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain passed away at the age of 27. Within the song, the line, “Prayin’ the 20 somethings don’t kill me,” refers to this idea.
Throughout SZA’s performance, the crowd could feel the emotions she wanted to convey through her active stage presence and passionate vocals. Considering this, it is no surprise that her debut album was critically acclaimed as she is signed to the same record label as rapper Kendrick Lamar, who is considered by some the most influential rapper alive. SZA is redefining what it means to be an R&B artist by utilizing her strong female voice, along with her own mixture of soul, hip hop, and chillwave.