By Stanley Collins
Most music fans have had at least one experience where they did something a little crazy for an artist they like. Spend excess amounts of money (that we don’t really have), miss work (a clear contradiction with the first point), travel across state lines to see someone, and so on. For me, one of my moments was yesterday when I went to the meet and greet to see SZA.
Following the release of her debut album, CTRL, R&B singer, SZA stopped by Hollywood’s Urban Outfitters for a meet and greet + album signing with fans. The ticket for admission was buying a CD (even though I don’t have CD player, it’s a good keepsake. Plus, she can’t sign my Apple Music account). The event ran from 3 PM – 9 PM. En route to the event, I saw a tweet from her account, and it didn’t look like there were too many people there, so I’m thinking “great, this’ll be an in-n-out kind of thing.” Wrong. Really wrong. After buying the CD (around 5 PM), the event coordinators pointed where the line began. And that’s when it set in – this is going to take a while. Like, a long while.
Standing in line isn’t exactly fun, but me, Jode (girlfriend of the blog), and Taigen (friend of the blog) made the most of our wait. Every now and then you’d hear whispers of people saying “she’s taking a break.” These are the times when the line didn’t move at all. About an hour and a half in – it starts to hit you (and your back) – that you’ve been standing in line for a little while. Plus, there’s this California sun beaming down on your head, which is draining all of the life and energy out of you. At about two hours you start the questions, asking yourself “is this really worth it?” and rationalize with yourself (well, I did get a CD *shrug emoji). But, then around the 2-and-a-half-hour mark, and closer to the building, you can see SZA standing inside greeting fans. FULL BLOWN FAN BOY MODE sets in.
Now – I’m not going to lie, or exacerbate the truth – I’m not the biggest SZA fan, at least in comparison to some of the other people in line. I liked the album (a lot), but I’ve had my doubts about her as an artist. But, listen, when I saw SZA through that window? I lost my cool lol. Not to mention, TDE executive, Punch, and TDE label-mate Isiah Rashad (really tripping now). Finally near the entrance, the security guard directs traffic into a small line. And now the moment, the three-hour wait, and there’s SZA in front of me. One of her team members takes the phone for the picture she signs the album. And, she’s giving everyone hugs? I mean, she’s been there for hours (like 6 hours, standing), and she’s still smiling, smelling like Bed, Bath, and BEYOND, having conversations with everyone. Exhibiting the type of grace and kindness you’d want someone to show, but it’s not always guaranteed. In sum, meeting SZA was well worth the wait.