SZA’s Very Roundabout Path to Success

SZA’s second major label album, “SOS,” spent its first seven weeks atop the Billboard album chart, a startling feat for a performer who has at almost every turn made choices inconsistent with the demands of pop stardom.

Five years have passed since her debut album, “Ctrl.” She generally makes music with a small circle and doesn’t collaborate widely. Until lately, she has largely shunned the press.

But the release of “SOS” appears to mark a new chapter for the singer, who at 33 is one of the most forthright songwriters working, and who has a flexible vocal approach that’s only expanding.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about SZA’s lyricism and production choices, her deliberate and slow career path and new models of star-making in the contemporary pop marketplace.

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