Before SZA was a chart-topping R&B singer, the New Jersey native took the academic route. During a recent interview, the SOS performer reflected on her decision to drop out and delved into why it was a necessary step on her path to superstardom.

The Grammy Award-winning musician went from earning perfect grades at Delaware State University as a marine biology major to earning an income working unconventional jobs.

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“I’m like, ‘I told you I was smart and I proved my point. I have to leave now,’” shared the 33-year-old with Elle Magazine. The Top Dawg Entertainment signee continued to detail how she “completely flunked out of school and stopped working at jobs that make any sense to other people.”

Sza performs on stage during Global Citizen Festival 2022: Accra on September 24, 2022 in Accra, Ghana.

“I really disrespected my parents for a long time… Me telling my mom I would rather go run in the streets and bartend at the strip club so I can pay for studio time [than go to school]. It’s crazy,” she said while shaking her head.

The investment into her artistry has certainly paid off, as the former co-ed evolved into the global pop star fans recognize today. Since her time on her HBCU campus, SZA has released two studio albums — which are both certified platinum — three EPs, and earned acclaim as a singer, songwriter, and creative voice.

Her latest release, the record-breaking SOS, resulted in the singer’s first sold-out arena tour where ticketholders were able to watch her expansion in real-time. The album was released in the latter half of 2022 and features Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott, and the late Ol’ Dirty B******. Listen to SOS below.

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2023-06-01T14:11:25Z dg43tfdfdgfd