The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter took the stage and accepted the event’s top prize with an unscripted speech.
SZA’s newest album SOS has just reached its 10th nonconsecutive week at the top of the Billboard 200. With this feat, the singer was honored as the 2023 Billboard Woman of the Year.
Singer and rapper Coi Leray presented the award, describing SZA as an artist who is “not afraid to color outside the lines. Pulling in elements of rap, gospel, grunge, R&B… One thing about SZA, she’s gonna deliver every single thing you need when it comes to R&B.
“She writes about heartache, self-acceptance. The storytelling in her music takes listeners to all kinds of deep places. In addition to being an incredible singer and songwriter, she’s also a fabulous human being and an amazing soul.”
A special video message from Lizzo was also played, where she described SZA as “the real deal” and “such a genuine human being.”
The Woman of the Hour
SZA took the stage and began her speech by thanking her family, her friends, and her team. She then admitted that she was advised to write her speech but she decided against it.
“I didn’t write anything, but that’s also not who I am. I’m a very off the dome person. What I wanted to say is that there’s so many women in this room right now that I respect so deeply. This could have been any of us in this room.”
She then gave a shout out to her contemporaries and other Women In Music honorees such as Lana Del Rey, Olivia Rodrigo, Chloe, Doechii, Latto, and Coi Leray.
“But I really just want my life to be more than music, to be more than just an artist,” SZA continued. “I want to serve others, I want to serve people. I want to be open and available to whatever God wants from me.”
The singer ended her speech saying, “You don’t have to be confident or even know that you are the one, or anything like that, you just have to say yes to the possibility. I’m grateful and thank you all for saying yes to me and I hope everybody has a blessed night. Thank you very much.”
All 23 songs from SZA’s full-length album have charted on the Billboard Hot 100. Her biggest solo hit to date, “Kill Bill,” peaked at No. 2.
Banner image via Instagram @brandonalmengo.