SZA discusses her early penchant for grotesque writing, her love of marine biology and her time as a young gymnast in the latest installment of “The First Time.”

The recent Rolling Stone cover staralongside Megan Thee Stallion and Normani — said that the first poems she wrote in elementary school were “really dramatic and dark” and her religious background spurred a fascination with the world’s ills. “As I got older, I realized you can colorfully depict pain in a way that wasn’t so grotesque,” she says.

In college, SZA embraced a new passion, marine biology, and says she would still drop her music career to work in the field (she even noted that she nearly applied to be an assistant for acclaimed wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen). “I know that the ocean is changing in a rapid, permanent way,” SZA says. “I would take six months off just to do entomology and categorize species in the Galapagos or Madagascar — it’s not even a question.”

SZA also remembered her first gymnastics meet, binging a carb-filled pasta dinner the night before then hitting the floor in a massive gymnasium in front of a full audience. “I have spurts of large energy when I’m increasingly nervous, and gymnastics is a perfect sport, because you can get all of your energy out in one spurt and then really commit to it,” she says. “And then it’s done, it’s released.”





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