Photography: John Londono

The career of ZARA LARSSON is cut straight from a modern fairy tale. At the age of ten, she won the
Swedish version of Got Talent, thanks to her powerful interpretation of “My Heart Will Go On” by
CÉLINE DION. With her fresh new award on her side, she was ready to conquer the musical industry
and show them all that she was the real deal despite her young age. The problem was, they weren’t
ready for her. She had to wait four years to sign her first record deal and five more to release her first
album. In the meantime, she paved her way to the top with successful singles topping the charts like
“Uncover” and “Lush Life.”

 

These days, Zara Larsson is ridinghigh on the release of her debut LP So Good, which sounds like thesoundtrack of your wildest summer.She also launched her capsule collection with H&M and completed her first big North American tour for her album, along with booking appearances on popular TV shows like Good Morning America. It would be easy to say that the fairy tale is back on track, but it would minimize the tons of hard work she put into the mix. Hardworking, smart and outspoken, Zara Larsson belongs to the new category of pop stars that prefer to be real rather than perfect; something that smacks you right in the face as soon as you met her.

 

Congratulations, your album is finally out!

It feels amazing! It’s been quite an on and off project because. I had things in between that kind of shifted my focus. But it’s been in the making for years and finally people can hear a full body of work and what I do. The only thing is, I feel like some songs that are on the album are a little bit dated because I did those years ago. They are definitely still there and they are amazing, but maybe I will refresh them and do something new with it.

Is it hard sometimes to have to balance your regular life as a young woman with your career?

 I am still in high school and I definitely won’t go to university; but I know what I want to do in life which I think is good. I just have to finish highs chool otherwise my mom will be so disappointed in me (little laugh). It’s not because I need the education, but at the same time it’s simply that I don’t want to be the only one of my friends that didn’t graduate. I think it’s for my confidence knowing that I did complete that and knowing that I made it.

Especially knowing that you were working on your album and doing promotion for it at the same time!

Yes, exactly! I think it’s probably going to feel like a huge achievement once I am done with school.

“I am okay with taking my time and not rushing anything. I am just going to take advantage of whatever is happening at the moment. I am enjoying it. I am just living my dream basically. Hopefully, it will be a climbing journey”

You said once in an interview that you thought you would be bigger by now. Was it difficult for you to work on your patience, especially knowing exactly what you wanted in life from such a young age?

 Yeah, but I feel like at the same time, everything has to make sense. You can’t rush something. I think the younger I was, the more stressful it was. When I was little and thinking of myself as a teen, I was projecting myself playing in stadiums. It’s still a dream of mine, but I am okay with taking my time and not rushing anything. I am just going to take advantage of whatever is happening at the moment. I am enjoying it. I am just living my dream basically. Hopefully, it will be a climbing journey.

I know you are a huge fan of Ty Dolla $ign; how was it to collaborate with him for the song So Good?

I am a biiiig fan! I love him so much and he is such a sweetheart. He is so calm and just basically a nice guy, and so talented! Like extremely musical. I don’t know if people know that, but he can sing (laughing). Definitely one of my favourite artists. I’ve also been working with great people like Clean Bandit, of course, for the song “Symphony.” The song is climbing the North America charts, but it takes time over here! Everybody and everything is so big, so you got to just keep focusing on what you want to achieve. It’s hard, especially for someone who doesn’t live here. It’s also always so easy for me to focus on Europe because it’s going so well there. And I have to ask myself if I really want to say no to things there that might be bigger, so I can be here working on smaller things. It’s hard to make choices, but I feel like it’s more important for me at the moment to make it outside Europe.

 

I was listening to your song “Only You”, and I like how you just totally own your sexuality on it. I feel like the result is a song that’s very real and relatable to many people, especially for young girls listening to your music who don’t need to be ashamed of what they feel.

 It is definitely one of my favourite songs on the album. It’s not one of those songs that’s just trying to put it in on your face, kinda like “I am so sexually free”. It’s just what it is. It is definitely natural. I reference masturbation and it is something that women have been very ashamed of talking about for a long time and a lot of people think that women don’t do it. Which is “helloooo”, you know (laughing). It is just a very real and raw song. I also like “Make That Money Girl”, because it is very empowering. It is a message to just go out there and try to make it. I unfortunately had to change the lyrics on the second verse because originally it was like “we’re gonna have a female president,” but it didn’t happen. But at the same time you can be the next female president. And somebody will! She is out there, the next female president. It’s just a matter of time.

 

 After we hug goodbye and she walks off to go backstage, I can’t help but smile thinking about how refreshing it is to finally meet a pop star who doesn’t hold back her every thought.

 

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