SZA was born Solána Rowe in St. Louis and raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. She grew up listening to classic and avant-garde jazz, alternative rock, and rap.
Rowe was raised as an orthodox Muslim. She found inspiration for her stage name from the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and the Supreme Alphabet. The S stands for either savior or sovereign, the Z for zig-zag, and the A for Allah.
After graduating from Delaware State University where she studied marine biology, SZA started taking random jobs in order to make money. During one brief stint at clothing company Diesel, her employment was abruptly terminated after she wolfed down two marijuana-laced brownies and had a bad reaction.
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