Outtakes: SZA on writing for Beyonce and sampling Timberlake
NEW YORK (AP) — SZA — who is nominated for five Grammy Awards for her debut album, “Ctrl” — discusses writing lyrics for Beyonce, sampling Justin Timberlake’s music and collaborating with Maroon 5 in outtakes from a recent interview with The Associated Press. Read the interview here.
THE JUICE IN BEYONCE’S ‘LEMONADE’
SZA, who co-wrote Nicki Minaj and Beyonce’s hit song “Feeling Myself,” didn’t think the song would see the light of day.
“I’m like, ‘This ain’t gon’ be nothing because this is just, I’m talking, what am I talking about? I’m talking about drugs and, just, pimp (stuff),’” SZA said. “I’m just being silly. Like, I’m being silly.”
SZA said Terrence “Punch” Henderson, Top Dawg Entertainment co-president, knew what she wrote would get used: “And Punch like, ‘This is it! This is on.’ I’m like, ’What?” He’s like, ‘Watch! Watch!,’” she recalled, laughing. “And he was just laughing at all these drug references. ... He’s like (rapping), ’36 of that real...’ I’m like, ‘No, no, this is not going to be nothing.’ And I walked out of the room and I never heard from them for like months.”
The song was used for Minaj’s third album, “The Pinkprint,” released in 2014.
“I was just like, ‘Hey, that’s cool.’ Like, this is so random. And just like, I’m here for it. Funny that that’s the one that I ended up being a part of.”
THE WEEKEND WITH JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
SZA was completely uninhibited when she recorded “The Weekend” — simply because it samples a Justin Timberlake song and she never thought the music would get cleared.
“I didn’t even think about anything I was saying. I was just happy to be singing over that Justin Timberlake sample,” she said with a laugh. “I was just like, ‘This is for fun. This is crazy.’
“Honestly, thank you Justin Timberlake, because you have the juice,” she added, laughing again. “I just borrowed it.”
“The Weekend” borrows elements from Timberlake’s “Set the Mood (Prelude)/Until the End of Time,” from his 2006 album, “FutureSex/LoveSounds.”
The song, about sharing a man with another woman, so far has peaked at No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. SZA said some people were confused about the meaning of the song — some online called the song’s character a “side chick” because SZA is singing from the perspective of a woman who only hangs out with her man on the weekend, while another girl, or girls, have him during the week.
“I’m not even explaining that song no more. Not to you, not to nobody. Take it how you want it. Enjoy it. I’m just, I’m thankful that you enjoyed it all,” she said. “That’s all.”
GETTING TOO DEEP
SZA sings about dating, sex, confidence, insecurities and more on “Ctrl.” But she says some of the songs were too heavy so she didn’t include them on the album.
“I pulled back a lot of topics on the album. There’s mad personal (stuff) that I was like, ‘This is too much.’ Like, and I’m glad ‘cause they can’t even handle ‘The Weekend’ so I feel like the other topics are safe where they are, at home, understood by me,” she said.
SZA’S FAVORITE COLOR: MAROON
SZA has launched her own hits, but her biggest chart success so far is her duet with pop-rock band Maroon 5. The upbeat song “What Loves Do,” which SZA co-wrote, is spending another week in the Top 10 on the Hot 100.
“I listened to Maroon 5 since I was in (expletive) middle school,” said SZA, who was 12 when the group made their debut. “It’s like nuts.”
″(Adam Levine) was so nice to me. He’s still so, like, ah, so chill. Like, such a dope human and his whole band is so (expletive) cool,” SZA added.