TDE’s (Top Dawg Entertainment) president Terrence “Punch” Henderson has revealed that SZA‘s meteoric rise to pop superstardom came with its challenges.
On Sunday (March 5), the record executive took to Twitter to show SZA some love, recalling her first show, noting that only “50-70 people” were in attendance. However, today, things have certainly changed for the 33-year-old singer, who recently sold out Madison Square Garden.
“First show I seen SZA at was Brooklyn Steel. It may have been 50-75 ppl in there,” Punch wrote. “Present day we sold out Madison Square Garden. A couple nights in a row. Crazy.”
Coming off the heels of her long-awaited second studio album, S.O.S., SZA has been riding high. The project has spent nearly 10 weeks atop the charts.
First show I seen SZA at was Brooklyn Steel. It may have been 50-75 ppl in there. Present day we sold out Madison Square Garden. A couple nights in a row. Crazy.
— Punch TDE (@iamstillpunch) March 5, 2023
The chart-topping R&B singer-songwriter was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year for 2023. During her acceptance speech, the singer spoke about her struggles with self-confidence and how she’s managed to push through her feelings of self-doubt.
“There’s so many women in this room right now that I respect so deeply,” SZA said after thanking her team. “This could have been any of us in this room and whether it’s Lana Del Rey or Olivia Rodrigo or Chlöe [Bailey] or Doechii who’s a fucking star or Latto or even Coi [Leray], my very own Jersey baby … I just, I really think sometimes there’s a misconception that like, everybody always feels like that girl. Like, ‘Oh I know I’m that bitch and I have a lot of confidence.’ And I feel like it’s okay to not be that person all the time.
She continued: “And I used to feel like I didn’t belong because I don’t always feel like that but I realized that the key is to stay open and available for whatever the universe or God wants to do with your life. And it’s like even when you don’t know who you are or you may not see – I don’t know why I’m 10 weeks on Billboard. I’m grateful!”
Billboard announced that SZA had officially been crowned their 2023 Woman of the Year in early February with an accompanying cover story.
“Since she burst onto the scene in 2017, SZA has defied genres and continually released raw, powerful songs which have landed her music on the Billboard charts,” said Hannah Karp, Billboard’s editorial director, in a press statement. “The release of her latest album, SOS, has solidified her as a distinct force in contemporary R&B, and catapulted her into superstardom. We can’t wait to honor her as Woman of the Year.”