Steve Jennings/WireImage, Momodu Mansaray/Getty Zendaya
Zendaya won't be putting her pop star career on "Replay" anytime soon.
Speaking to fellow actor and Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield for the cover of Variety's Actors on Actors issue, Zendaya revealed the reason she mainly chooses acting over music — aside from the occasional soundtrack cut.
During a discussion about fame and projections placed on actors in the spotlight by viewers, Zendaya, 25, told Garfield, 38, her thoughts on pop stardom.
"I was talking to Sam [Levinson] about this earlier. I was like I don't know if I could ever be a pop star," she said. "It's because as an actor, there's a level of anonymity that I get to have, which I really like."
"And I get to sort my stuff, whatever that is, through a character and nobody needs to know about it. Whereas in other forms and other mediums, it's all you all the time," continued Zendaya. "I like the idea that somebody else, meaning Rue [from Euphoria], gets to take on that stuff and I can…"
"Boundaries," interjected Garfield.
"Yeah, boundaries. Learning what's for me," explained the former Disney Channel star.
Alexi Lubomirski for Variety Andrew Garfield and Zendaya for Variety
Perhaps Zendaya's thoughts on musicianship stem from personal experience, as she used to be a pop star.
After recording covers including Katy Perry's "Hot n Cold" in 2009 as a member of Kidz Bop, the then-adolescent star landed her television debut the following year on Disney Channel's Shake It Up, for which she put out pop songs including "Something to Dance For" and "Fashion Is My Kryptonite."
In 2013, Zendaya released an electro-R&B bop called "Replay," which charted at No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to become certified Platinum by the RIAA. The single preceded her self-titled debut album, which dropped later the same year via Hollywood Records and reached No. 51 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Nearly three years later, Zendaya signed to Republic Records and released a collaboration with Chris Brown titled "Something New," which seemed to signal more music to come.
However, the track charted at No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100, and aside from a guest appearance on "X" with Prince Royce from his Five album in 2017, Zendaya's since retreated from pop music altogether.
She hasn't stopped singing completely though, as she's released songs as part of film and television soundtracks for The Greatest Showman, Smallfoot, and Euphoria.
"Acting allows for a character for people to fall in love with, but also for my own anonymity and a life of my own — which music doesn't really afford," she explained. "So that's another thing that kind of scared me about music is not being able to have as much of a life."
Asked further about her decision to leave the music industry, Zendaya continued, "I stepped away from music on purpose because of bad contracts, to be honest with you. The music industry is very different — it's very different from a movie and the theatrical world."
Following the release of the Dominic Fike collaboration "Elliot's Song" from Euphoria Season 2 in March 2021, Zendaya took to Twitter to thank fans for supporting her as a musician in any capacity.
"I stepped away from music quite a while ago, for a number of reasons, but I still really love it," she wrote, "so the kindness and support I've received the past few days just for a little tiny toe-dip back into some music means the absolute world to me..thanks