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SZA is one of those artists who shifts the world with her music and then retreats to her safe space until it’s time to be social again. But with her latest album, SOS, the singer is opening up about her past experiences and how they’ve shaped who she’s become today.

In an interview with PEOPLE, SZA gets candid about being bullied as a teen.

“I was bullied because I wasn’t quiet and I was awkward at the same time,” the Grammy-winner tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I wasn’t this tiny sad victim, but I was more so attacked just because it was giving ‘What is wrong with you?’ energy.”

“I always thought, ‘Oh my God.’ I’ll never have the approval of anyone in life, this must be my defining factor, this must be the bottom line,” she adds.

In hindsight, the “Good Days” crooner finally understood that her quirks were what made her special.

“I realized that all the things that made me feel so lame were actually what made me into who I am,” she says. “It’s like, I didn’t go to prom because I didn’t have any friends and I had no one to go to prom with … [and now] it’s so weird that my life turned into [having] a bodyguard while traveling to parties.”

SZA gives advice to victims of bullying

Bullying is the unfortunate side of childhood and teenage memories. Often times it can lead to adult trauma. SZA lends advice to anyone who has experienced bullying in the past or is presently a victim.

“Everyone who experiences bullying, that just sucks, but it’s going to lead you to something, it has to,” the “Low” singer says. “If you could hold on and just wait until high school is over because 10 years from now, I promise you, none of those people will matter.”


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SZA Says Being Bullied As A Teen ‘Made Me Who I Am’  was originally published on