SZA reimagined her neo-soul ballad “Supermodel” on Tuesday’s Tonight Show, expanding the minimalist track with a live string section and keyboards. The singer showcased her vocal range, building to a series of climactic high notes over a guitar riff and jazzy, climactic drum march.
Pharrell Williams co-wrote and sang on the studio version of “Supermodel,” which opens SZA’s June debut LP, Ctrl. The song’s trippy video finds the vocalist swaggering through a magical forest of winged children and blasting a man with fireworks from her fingers.
“With this album, I allowed myself to learn,” she said. “Listening to Alabama Shakes made me less self-conscious about my voice. When I sing full voice, I get nervous, because I get nasal and abrasive and a little scratchy. I’m not used to hearing myself that much, and I definitely don’t listen to myself after the song’s complete. When I hear [Brittany Howard], I think, Damn. You hear her voice out loud in front of everything. You’re not afraid of your texture or anything like that. Same with Amy Winehouse. There’s so much. Listening to Modest Mouse, listening to Tame Impala, listening to Brazilian jazz, listening to a lot of Wu-Tang, listening to old Jay-Z, listening to The Chronic.”