The Top Dawg Entertainment singer detailed her “sh*tty experience” while attending Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ. The Grammy-winning artist recalled not attending her own senior prom because she “didn’t have any friends” and also because she “had no one to go to prom with.”
The 33-year-old also spoke on how she was bullied, stating: “I wasn’t quiet and I was awkward at the same time.” On the flip side, she did mention that bullying is what shaped her into who she is today.
In the magazine’s issue for this week, the “Low” crooner shared, “I wasn’t this tiny sad victim, but I was more so attacked just because it was giving ‘What is wrong with you?’ energy. I always thought, ‘Oh my God.’ I’ll never have the approval of anyone in life, this must be my defining factor, this must be the bottom line.”
Turning her pain into power, the St. Louis-born singer added, “I realized that all the things that made me feel so lame were actually what made me into who I am. It’s like, I didn’t go to prom because I didn’t have any friends and I had no one to go to prom with … [and now] it’s so weird that my life turned into [having] a bodyguard while traveling to parties.”
SZA also declared her high school experience as the turning point for her to chase her dreams by any means. She refused to allow her Maplewood neighborhood to be her final destination on her path to success.
“All these things, if I had such a fulfilling existence and experience in high school, I would’ve felt validated to the point where I didn’t need to do anymore,” she said. “[So] I just had to do more, I had to be more because I was like, ‘This sh*tty experience can’t be the end of it because if it is, I am cooked.'”
However, SZA nèe Solána Imani Rowe, has now found new ways to channel her deep sentiments of feeling inadequate or as he describes it — “trash.”
“Sometimes it’s crying, sometimes it’s eating my favorite food, or going to the beach, or going for a walk or doing Shambhavi [Mahamudra],” she revealed. “Sometimes it’s just praying straight up by myself and just telling God, ‘Wow, I feel so trash right now and I desperately need your help.'”
Leaving a few gems behind for those coming after her, she advised: “Everyone who experiences bullying, that just sucks, but it’s going to lead you to something, it has to. If you could hold on and just wait until high school is over because 10 years from now, I promise you, none of those people will matter. I’m grateful.”
Read SZA’s entire interview with PEOPLE here.