SZA walked into this year’s Grammy Awards as the most nominated artist, with 9 nods, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Unfortunately, she didn’t leave with the most wins, predictably shut out by the likes of Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish but it was a successful night nonetheless, taking home the Best Progressive R&B Album for SOS and Best R&B Song for “Snooze”, along with Best Pop Duo/Group Performance alongside Phoebe Bridgers.
I would have loved to see “Kill Bill”, which had 3 nominations, take some hardware as an example of the Grammys having a semblance of connection to young music consumers, since the song was such a massive record across social media, putting many people’s indescribable feeling of heartbreak-anger into words.
Her night started with her running late. Very on brand — she’s showed up to carpets after they were closed in the past and it seems tonight was no different. There are no red carpet photos on Getty, just an Instagram post.
So when Lizzo presented her with Best R&B Song and we didn’t see SZA running to the stage, I thought she was going to miss her acceptance speech even though we knew she was in the building because she’d already performed on the show! She did “Snooze” and “Kill Bill” alongside backup dancers wielding katana. It was the most theatrical performance of the night. Finally though, after some dead air, SZA came running out from backstage. It was nice to see her and Lizzo’s genuine hug. There was big feminine energy last night. I can’t even remember any men winning on the main telecast…
In her acceptance speech, SZA talked about being friends with Lizzo since 2013 when they were both on a Red Bull tour together, opening up for rooms of 100 people, now both multi-Grammy winners a decade later. At the end of her speech she loses her train of thought, overcome with emotion, she says she’s not an attractive crier and cuts the speech short.
It was the kind of endearing moment you watch these shows for.
But how will this Grammy haul affect her next era? She’d previously told fans she was reissuing her SOS under the title Lana, as a deluxe edition of sorts, with a rumoured December release date that came and went without materializing. She even released 6 versions of the cover art already. We’ve been hearing it’s morphing into more of a new album than a deluxe edition with a few new songs, so will this weekend’s accolades help speed up the release or apply more anxiety and pressure to delay?
She did debut a new song, “Saturn”, in a MasterCard campaign inserted in the Grammys telecast. It was essentially a music video premiere, featuring her and her dancers moving through a greenspace. It’s promoting her partnership with MasterCard and the Priceless Planet Coalition, which aims to restore 100 million trees in forests around the world that have the greatest potential positive impact on the climate. But when can we stream the new album?