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SZA's advice to her younger self: “Trust yourself...[don't] try so hard to fit in”

ABC/Randy HolmesAs SZA prepares to receive the Billboard Women in Music Rule Breaker Award on Thursday, she’s reminiscing about her childhood, and realizing that she should have embraced the fact that she was different.

“If I could give my younger self any advice, it would probably be to trust yourself or [to] not try so hard to fit in, she tells Billboard. “I was so different that I think trying to fit in at all was so obviously painful for me -- and for other people, who caught second-hand embarrassment trying to watch me assimilate.”

The 28-year-old singer was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. She was an outstanding gymnast who studied marine biology in college before pursuing a music career.

SZA, born Solana Imani Rowe, says now she understands that she should have embraced her path in life and not attempted to fight the journey.

“I was definitely just designed to, I don’t know, experience life the way I was supposed to experience it and I think I fought that for a long time,” she says.

After releasing her platinum debut solo album, Crtl, in 2017, SZA has had a great 2018. In addition to the Rule Breaker Award, she also received a Billboard Music Award for R&B Female Artist, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist, and a MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects for “All The Stars.”

The Billboard Woman in Music gala will be held December 6 in New York City, and will stream live on Twitter from 7 p.m. ET to 10 p.m. ET. 

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