A female performer on stage, wearing an elaborate tribal-inspired costume with a microphone in hand,...


SZA Teases An Earthy New Era With “Storytime”

The singer debuted a fresh stage set complete with a gigantic ant.

by Carson Mlnarik

Gather around, because it’s story time with SZA. After hinting at something new in the works, the SOS singer just shared an ethereal and mysterious clip featuring new music — and an earthy and fresh aesthetic. “I know you told stories about me,” she croons over a groovy bass line and distant nature sound effects. “Most of them awful, all of them true. Here’s some for you.”

In the clip, which appears to be for new track “Storytime,” a camera pushes through a dark forest before stopping in front of a blue-colored, insect-like creature with long antennae. As it turns out, the bug in question is none other than SZA herself. She showed off the elaborate and intense look in an Instagram post in May without any context, captioning the pic “A bugs life.”

While her last album SOS leaned into a nautical theme — from the ocean on its cover, to the shipwrecked set she built for the tour — this new era in her career seems to be about touching grass — literally. Fittingly, she debuted a whole new botanical setup of lush greenery (including a massive tree trunk and a gigantic ant that she crawled on top of) at her headlining shows at BST Hyde Park and Glastonbury on June 29 and 30, respectively.

And if there was any doubt about what the visual pivot implied, she confirmed that her long-awaited follow-up is, in fact, coming after playing the “Storytime” snippet in London. “New album, you ready?” she shouted to an enthusiastic crowd. While SZA is yet to confirm or deny that the next record will be Lana — which was expected to release in the first half of 2024 — the garden look certainly feels on par with the grassy green covers she shared for the project on Instagram in Dec. 2023.

Although the “Kill Bill” singer is still keeping a release date under wraps, it appears that we’re closer to a new release than ever before. Furthermore, her gratitude about this new chapter seems to imply that she’s very excited to share it with us. “Tonight my entire team made the impossible possible,” she shared on Instagram post-Glastonbury. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for dreaming with me.”