How Princess Diana inspired SZA’s ‘SOS’ album artwork

"I just loved how she isolated she felt, and that was what I wanted to convey the most"

SZA has confirmed that the cover art for her new album, ‘SOS’, was inspired by a photo of Princess Diana.

The ‘SOS’ cover features SZA sitting on the edge of a white diving board, surrounded by deep blue water. The photograph of Princess Diana was taken in 1997, and sees her in a similar pose aboard a yacht during a trip in Portofino, Italy, also surrounded by the ocean. Fans spotted similarities between the two images earlier this week, sharing their observations with SZA on social media.

“Originally I was supposed to be on top of a shipping barge, but in the references that I pulled for that, I pulled the Diana reference,” SZA said when asked about the reference during a recent interview with Hot 97. “Because I just loved how she isolated she felt, and that was what I wanted to convey the most.”


Elsewhere during the same interview, SZA was asked how the collaborations on ‘SOS’ came about; the record features appearances from Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott, Don Toliver and late Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

“DMs and, like, begging people,” SZA replied. “Sometimes people turn in their verses and sometimes they don’t.” She continued: “And a lot of people just like did not turn in their verses, but I’m grateful for who did.”

‘SOS’, out Friday (December 9), arrives more than five years after SZA released her debut album ‘Ctrl’ in 2017. The singer released three singles from ‘SOS’ ahead of its release – ‘Good Days’ in 2020, ‘I Hate U’ in 2021 and ‘Shirt’ in October of this year – and debuted album cut ‘Blind’ during a Saturday Night Live appearance last weekend.

Last month, during an interview with Billboard, SZA opened up about the stress she experienced surrounding the album’s release. “To be expected to do anything at a high level while life is life-ing is fucking crazy. This isn’t meant for a person, it’s meant for a machine,” she explained.

“I like to create, I like to write, I like to sing, and I like to share. But I don’t know if chasing after superstardom or whatever I’m supposed to be doing right now is sustainable for me. I’mma take a good swing at it, and I’mma give ’em my absolute best.”

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