Music Notes

SZA’s New Song Reminds Us Not To Judge A Book By Its Cover Or A Musician Based On Looks

"Our outer experience doesn't really define who we are as people."

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Growing up, we were always taught to not judge a book by its cover but, growing up, there were often times when we forgot that sage advice. With SZA —  a singer who burst onto the scene in 2017 with Ctrl — at the lead, we meet six up-and-coming performers who, despite what your eyes may see, remind us of this adage with their abundance of talent.

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"Our outer experience doesn't really define who we are as people. The way we perceive each other has nothing to do with who we are," SZA said in a video from Mastercard as part of its Start Something Priceless movement, explaining how she was teased and taunted when she was younger. "Growing up was hard. I was bullied for being different — the way I thought, the way I spoke, calling me camel lips and horse teeth. Self-acceptance usually comes when you're fed up trying to be, I don't know, somebody else."

In the video we meet six rising stars: Victoria Canal, a musician and singer who was born without a right forearm; Ruby Ibarra, a female rapper of Asian descent; William Prince, a Canadian aboriginal and First Nations singer; Radkey, a rock trio made up of three Black men; Noé Socha, a blind man who is a beast on the guitar; and The Tracks, a band made up of Latino men.

These unique artists join SZA — who is nominated for five Grammys this year, including Best New Artist — and get a chance to show us what they're made of musically while covering "You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover," a song from 1962 that was written by Willie Dixon and first sung by Bo Diddley. It's a song that, while a little on the nose, shows us that it's important to push past stereotypes to go for what you want in life no matter what.

Check out the music video for “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” here:

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