All About SZA's Parents, Audrey and Abdul

SZA is the daughter of Audrey and Abdul Mubarak-Rowe

<p>Matt Baron/Shutterstock</p>

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Meet SZA's parents.

Born on Nov. 8, 1989, the "Snooze" singer, née Solána Imani Rowe, is the daughter of Audrey and Abdul Mubarak-Rowe.

Though a Missouri native, SZA spent most of her childhood growing up in Maplewood, New Jersey — a town she describes as "completely different than the rest of New Jersey." She told Complex in September 2013, "It’s very small. It’s quietly affluent but more lowkey."

SZA has a half-sister named Panya Rowe, who is 11 years her senior. "She’s my half sister so we have the same dad different moms," she told Complex. The singer also has a brother named Daniel who is a rapper and goes by the name Manhattan.

In an April 2018 conversation for V Magazine, SZA credited her mom for teaching her how to love others. "I’m super sensitive, and my mother made me extra sensitive because she’s just so unapologetically loving," she told Jada Pinkett Smith, who interviewed her for the publication.

The singer — who tops the list of nominees at this year's Grammy Awards with nine nods — previously spoke about her musical influences, noting that her father introduced her to some of his favorites at a young age.

“Growing up, I couldn't do anything other than what my dad did," she told Complex. "So basically, I listened to Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong. That was my only option. My only interaction outside of those things had to be by accident."

Read on to learn more about SZA's parents.

Related: SZA Set to Perform at 2024 Grammy Awards After Leading Nominations with 9 Nods

Her parents are very involved in their community

<p>Abel Fermin/WWD/Penske Media via Getty </p> SZA and her mom, Audrey.

Abel Fermin/WWD/Penske Media via Getty

SZA and her mom, Audrey.

SZA was born in St. Louis, Missouri but grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. Both of her parents are heavily involved in their community, though they had different positions prior.

Her father is a former CNN editor and producer who now serves on the advisory board of the New Jersey Council on American-Islamic Relations, per his LinkedIn. Her mother is a former AT&T executive who is now a program director for the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, per the organization's website.

Related: SZA Slams People Who Leak Her Music and Says She'll Take Legal Action Against Them: 'Leaking My Music Is Stealing'

Her parents prioritize their faith

<p>SZA/Instagram</p> SZA's dad, Abdul.


SZA's dad, Abdul.

In 2018, SZA described her family to a local news outlet as “involved, supportive, overbooked, outgoing, spiritually aware, talkers and loyal," reported the New York Times, which also noted the emphasis they place on religion.

Her parents have an interfaith relationship as SZA’s mom is Christian and her dad is Muslim. "The Quran and the Bible were probably my firsts," the singer, who attended Sunday school and Muslim school, told the outlet of her early reads.

For SZA, the different religious practices in her household were normal. “My mom would do her, my dad would do him,” she said. “They made space for each other. My dad will come to my mom’s church on big events. My mom will get dressed up for jum’ah... and come with my dad to the mosque. My mom would put up a Christmas tree, and my dad would roll his eyes and pretend he didn’t see it.”

Audrey gave SZA a nickname when she was young

In a 2013 interview with Complex, the "Snooze" singer explained the meaning behind the name SZA, saying it derived from the Supreme Alphabet. But before creating a moniker for herself, her mom gave her a nickname as a kid.

SZA told the NYT that her mother called her "Chickabee" because they loved the 1994 movie Nell. In the film, Jodie Foster plays a “wild” child who speaks her own language — and according to Audrey, SZA was a “highly energetic” girl.

They pushed SZA to find motivation

<p>SZA/Instagram</p> SZA's mom, Audrey.


SZA's mom, Audrey.

Prior to pursuing her dreams as a musician, SZA followed a traditional path after high school. She attended Delaware State University and planned to major in marine biology. However, she realized college wasn't for her.

“I drank Malibu and smoked weed every day. And slept,” SZA told the NYT. She ultimately dropped out of school, moved back to New Jersey and then, according to the outlet, "lied about her age so she’d be allowed to bartend and sometimes dance at a number of strip clubs in Jersey and New York City."

Audrey eventually found out about SZA's lifestyle through her older sister. “When I wouldn’t do the college thing they wanted, my mom kind of insinuated that I had to like, get out,” the "Kill Bill" singer said.

She explained, “I started staying on people’s couches, and vibing aimlessly. That sent me into a crazy depression but also lit a fire under my a–.”

Related: SZA Confirms Paramore Collaboration Is Coming 'Soon': 'It's in the Works'

Audrey is proud of SZA for following her dreams

Looking back, Audrey told the NYT that she wishes she knew what she knows now "about listening to what your child has a passion for" and supporting that whatever it is" — especially since "it’s so hard to follow your own dreams."

“So many of us abandon it very young, especially if the people that we respect and love and trust think we could or should be doing something different. I’m so glad that she didn’t listen to me," the proud mom admitted.

Abdul has cried over SZA's music

In a viral video, SZA's dad was seen singing along to his daughter's song “Broken Clocks” in his car.

"Every time I hear this song sweetie, I’m in tears,” the proud dad, who was wearing a CTRL The Tour hat, said in the clip. “I love this song by you — I love your whole album but this is one of my favorite songs.”

As the tweet circulated on social media, SZA reacted to the video and thanked her father. “Really love u daddy. Thank u for loving ME! Forever my favorite warrior.”

They've attended major events with SZA, like the Grammy Awards

<p>Matt Baron/Shutterstock</p> SZA with her mom and grandmother at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

SZA with her mom and grandmother at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

SZA's parents have supported her music career, including praising her in interviews and stepping out alongside her at high-profile events.

In January 2018, the singer's mother and grandmother walked the red carpet with her at the 60th annual Grammy Awards in New York City. In December 2022, both Audrey and Abdul were in the audience when she performed “Shirt” and “Blind” during a taping of Saturday Night Live.

SZA gave her parents a shoutout during her Grammys speech

<p>VALERIE MACON/AFP via Gett</p>


SZA had her loved ones by her side as she won big at the Grammys on Feb. 4. As the singer took home best R&B song, she gave a shoutout to her parents on stage. "I would like to thank my parents, my mom and my dad, God, Top Dawg, Punch, all of TDE and my siblings at TDE, to my godparents, to my niece," she began as her parents proudly clapped from the audience.

"I just.. I'm sorry, I'm just really overwhelmed," the singer said as she got choked up. "You don't really understand. I came really, really far and I can't believe this is happening and it feels very fake."

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