We sit down with Swedish songstress Zara Larsson to talk being sassy on Instagram, working with MNEK and being an ultimate RiRi fangirl.
Swedish pop star Zara Larsson has steadily been gathering steam in her home country, with over 900k Instagram followers and a win at the Swedish version of Britain’s Got Talent under her belt. Don’t be fooled by her reality TV success though, Zara makes music that whilst the kind of pop you have to dance to has a definite edge. Despite her Stockholm-stardom, things here in the UK are only just beginning to kick off and with a little help on her latest single ‘Never Forget You’, from MNEK, we’re certain that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
You won a sort of Swedish version of Britain’s Got Talent when you were very young: could you tell us a little more about that?
I was 10 years old and I wanted to be in the competition because I was too young to participate in shows like Idol and X-Factor. And my friend was in the program the year before and I was inspired by her, and honestly I just entered the competition because I thought it would be fun.
Do you think you would still be making music if you hadn’t entered Talang?
Yes absolutely. It was mostly for fun and I’m certain that I would work with music anyway today. But of course the show opened a lot of doors for me and what led me here is probably a chain of events, that started with Talang.
How do you feel your sound has evolved from your previous singles to the album you’re working on now?
It’s hard to say because it’s not finished yet, but it’s not a dramatic change. If you like my past singles you’ll probably like my album. The sound is a little more grown-up and the biggest change for me is that I’ve started to write a lot myself, and I’ve actually co-written most songs for this album.
Following on from the previous question, can you tell us a bit more about the album?
I have some really great songs to choose between and it will be a struggle to pick, it will feel like killing my babies. The songs are written and recorded in LA, Stockholm and London and I’ve had the pleasure to work with some really talented songwriters and producers.
Working with MNEK must have been interesting, how did you find it?
It was very interesting, he is so talented and very productive. He is very fun to be around and I love the way he works and creates music. He is really good at not overthinking stuff, so everything he does comes from the heart.
Who are some of your favourite musicians?
Beyonce, Jhené Aiko, Kehlani, Frank Ocean, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj. I listen to a lot to RnB and top 40, and I don’t want to sound cheesy but I actually love Vivaldi and listen a lot to classical music. Beyonce seems like such a sweet and humble person, down to earth but still knows what she wants. And she’s not afraid of letting people know that. I think she is truly a hard worker and I would like that mentality for myself. I love Rihanna because she is such a bad ass and she doesn’t care about what people think of her, in a really good way. She doesn’t let negativity affect her which I really admire. And I’m obsessed with her fashion style.
Outside of music, what else inspires you?
I’m very engaged in social issues and injustices, and I’m very inspired by strong female role models who takes a stand. A good role model for me is someone who shows people that you’re human, that you can mistakes even if your intentions are good. You might not think of Rihanna for instance as a role model, but she is to me. There’s other people that you would consider ”good” persons and natural role models, but not all of them really takes a stand for human rights, like same sex marriage for instance. And Rihanna does that.
You’re a big Instagrammer, often showing off your outfits; what are some of your favourite brands or designers?
If it’s expensive I like it! I’m not really a designer-girl, I usually shop at Topshop and Zara, those are my two favourite stores. I think they just have great affordable clothes with good quality. They’re just stylish!
Are you planning to keep living in your native Sweden or do you see yourself moving to the US or elsewhere?
I really want to live in LA in the future, but I could never leave Stockholm completely. Maybe because I’m born and raised there, but it’s so beautiful and I love the city.
Lastly, where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years from now I hope I’m going towards the top of my career, I will have won a Grammy – at least one! I’m on my arena world tour and sold multi platinum with my album and had a number one on Billboard.
Words: India Opie Meres