HELLO! Fashion spoke exclusively to Zara Larsson while she was in London to perform at the EMA Awards, where she picked up an award for Best Nordic Artist, and the appear finale of Little Mix the Search. The Swedish singer-songwriter, who’s gold-certified first album So Good was the second most-streamed by a female artist on Spotify, has had six UK top-ten singles, four Brit Awards nominations and multiple worldwide hits, is currently promoting her second album Poster Girl.
"I feel that this album has a lot of everything in there. Some beautiful ballads, some sassy songs: the vibe is very fun and dance-friendly. It’s a bit more grown-up, naturally, as my last album was when I was a teenager and now, I’m a young woman. So, it’s me writing about life, and life is high and low, a lot of emotions are there. I think my focus, in general, is probably love. I like to write about that, but in a sexy way."
Zara first discovered music at the age of five, when her mum gave her one of Carola Häggkvist’s albums, she is a huge musician in Sweden. "She is a-ma-zing, my first biggest idol. She sings in Swedish, too, so I could understand what she was saying, rather than Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Beyoncé – and all of the others I also listened to."
Zara’s first break came when, aged ten, she won Talang (2008), the Swedish version of Britain’s Got Talent. "I was so nervous, but also excited, as it was my first time being on a big stage. It went by very quickly, unfortunately, because it’s not like The X Factor, where you are on there every week. It was the audition, the semi-final and the final."
Her life pretty much went back to normal after the competition, until she released Uncover in 2013. "It became really successful. I think some people thought, 'Wait, that’s the girl from the talent show?'. So I think it did help me, because it’s a fun story and connects me to something, but it was also the first time I felt that I had really done something, and it wasn’t just a show."
Since then she has spent a lot of time in LA and collaborated with BTS, Ty Dolla $ign and Mura Masa; and worked with Beyoncé'S choreographer JaQuel Knight. "He knows what it’s like to perform and sing at the same time. I want to dance on stage, but obviously, my priority is the singing. I don’t want to compromise that so I can dance, and he’s really good at knowing how to mix that in. I’ve been so lucky to have some of the best people around me."
VIDEO: Watch Zara on her Hello! Fashion cover shoot
For her energetic performances, she likes to experiment with her outfits. "Fashion and music go hand in hand and wearing my stage clothes is so much fun, I want to wear stuff that I wouldn’t on a normal day. I love a show, I want glitter, I want light, I want shoulder pads – I want to be extra."
The full interview appears in the February issue of Hello! Fashion, out now.