SZA Sat 9/16 Roseland
SZA Sat 9/16 Roseland RCA Records

It’s no secret that 2017 has been a huge year for Solána Imani Rowe, better known as SZA. After dropping a couple of successful mixtapes (2012’s See.SZA.Run and 2013’s S), SZA released her EP Z in 2014, then threatened to quit the music industry altogether. Lucky for us, she didn’t, and instead released her debut LP, Ctrl, earlier this year after feeling liberated by a mushroom trip.

Ctrl was quickly embraced by fans and music critics (including yours truly), and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. Every song is exceptional: SZA pours her honeyed vocals over catchy melodies with brazen, gritty, and sometimes triggering lyrics that dig into toxic relationships, anxiety, and the unattainability of control. It’s been called the feminine counterpoint to projects like Bryson Tiller’s Trapsoul and Drake’s Take Care, as SZA offers a different perspective for a similar narrative—one that’s simultaneously vulnerable, confident, and defiant.

She confesses her insecurities on “Supermodel” and “Normal Girl,” confidently rips apart the stigma of being a sidechick on sultry track “The Weekend,” and processes feeling like the “other” on “Drew Barrymore.” Songs from Ctrl have appeared on several recent episodes of Issa Rae’s HBO series Insecure, and last week SZA released “Quicksand” especially for the show’s soundtrack. I expect her sold-out Portland concert to be a religious experience.