Zara Larsson is only 23 years old and already has three albums to her credit – the latest, POSTERGIRL was released this Friday. She has gleaned large quantities of gold and platinum records all over the world. She sang with the same ease in front of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee as at the opening of the Euro football at the Stade de France. She has collaborated with David Guetta and Clean Bandit , among others, and has opened for Ed Sheeran. “I had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t made music. I am very grateful to have been able to experience all of this ”, she humbly declares to 20 Minutes.who was able to speak with her through interposed screens. Interview with a Swedish pop star who does not overplay the celebrity.

Your album was released just a few hours ago. What state of mind are you in?

I feel serene. I thought I would have been stressed or nervous. Of course, I’m going to read what people are saying about it on social media, it’s natural to want to see the reactions. [The fans] say he’s very good and I agree with that (laughs). I’m not happy with a lot of the things I do, while being happy this album is already a victory in itself. I am proud.

What did you want to express through these new songs?

I wanted to make fun songs that I could put on a great show. They’re pretty positive, they’re the kind of songs I would listen to if I wanted to escape the monotony of everyday life, especially at the moment. Even songs that aren’t very positive seem to be.

There are songs with rather dark lyrics, like “Ruin My Life”, which evokes a toxic relationship …

Yes, even though Ruin My Life doesn’t sound like a sad song and has a certain energy, it does talk about something that will no doubt speak to people: the fact of not always having a romantic relationship. happy, even if we hope so. It’s strange for me, who feels like a strong person in everyday life, to feel vulnerable in my songs. There is a kind of force in that too I think.

The year 2020, so special because of the health crisis, has it had an influence on your creative process?

It had an impact on my daily life because I had nothing left in my agenda and it was very boring. I wanted to perform on stage, that’s what I love to do. I felt like I didn’t have a goal, it was hard. I wasn’t very creative, I mostly spent time with my friends and family. It had been a long time, maybe since I was 15, that I hadn’t been home so long so it was a bit strange and new to me. I had to learn to get used to it, at the beginning I was stressed by all that. Now I can’t wait to go on tour again. That’s the main difference with my life before: I’m at home and I don’t really like it.

You were revealed at 10, in the Swedish version of “Incredible talent”. You are now 23. Did you miss the fact of not having a teenage years, a certain carefree attitude?

No, I was a carefree teenager. I would say that I mostly had experiences and opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t done music. I am very grateful to have been able to experience all of this. I don’t think I missed much. Maybe, sometimes, I could have had this feeling when everyone else was going out, going to dance in a nightclub… And then, six months later, I would come back and the same people were dancing to the same songs, to the same clubs and didn’t feel like I really missed anything.

What is it like to be a pop star in Sweden?

It’s so peaceful! Nobody cares about you. We don’t have paparazzi. The Swedes are reserved, shy, they respect your privacy. Often times I can walk next to a group of people on the street, pass them, and hear 20m away one of them shouting “I love you! “. So, I answer “Merciiiiii” (she laughs). I would say I have a very normal life. In the United States, someone once recognized me and asked me to take a picture with him. I accepted. Then another person came in and asked me to take a selfie with me. I accepted and then the guy said, “What are you doing? I asked him, “Why do you want a picture with me if you don’t know what I’m doing?” “And he replied:” I saw that someone was taking a picture with you, So I thought you must be famous. So I also wanted a photo. ” InSweden , we don’t have that kind of behavior, it’s not in our culture.

What’s the worst part of being famous?

I’m not that famous, so my privacy isn’t invaded. I would say it’s getting hate from people I don’t know. It’s strange for me when someone attacks me personally when they don’t know me. I try to ignore it, not to let myself get caught up in it, even though, depending on the time of year, I might read a comment and [she makes a sad face], you see? (bursts out laughing) In general, I have a good life. I got more hate when I ran a blog where I talked about feminism, it bothered people, especially men. I think that confirmed what I was saying, “Why are you so offended? “

Monday, International Women’s Day, you will perform at an online concert, broadcast on YouTube …

It will be so good! I am very enthusiastic. I will play my new album in a wonderful setting, so beautiful. I’ve never had such a big production, especially for live. This will be an opportunity to draw attention to gender equality, girls’ education …

Is it important for you to use your popularity to raise awareness of the causes that affect you?

I wouldn’t call myself an activist. But I have a platform, a lot of people who follow me, so if I can sensitize even one person to these topics and then they talk about it to their family or friends, I would have contributed to a little change. Anyone can do this, regardless of the number of followers.

Do you have the feeling that, especially since the #MeToo movement, things are changing for women in the music industry?

I think. From my experience, since the #MeToo movement, things are getting better and better. People are more aware of the importance of hiring women. In the United States, I am signed to Epic Records which is managed by a woman [Sylvia Rhone]. Unfortunately, this is not something common. It shouldn’t be uncommon for a black woman to be the head of a label. His energy reflects on all employees. I work with a lot of women, there are a lot of them in my team. When I record, I don’t want to be surrounded by only men. If I could, I would have an all-female group, but I love the guys in my group, I don’t want to fire them (she chuckles), I’ve been working with them for a long time. There is an evolution in the way these questions are perceived, it becomes a topic, people get involved,

Who are your models, the personalities who inspire you?

I would say Beyoncé. I have loved it since I was 9 years old. I love her for the artist she is and for the messages she conveys, especially right now. She became a more political artist with Lemonade , talking about what it’s like to be a black woman in America. I love Rihanna, because she doesn’t apologize for anything, and also Niki Minaj for the same reasons and for her self-confidence. My manager also inspires me a lot. She is eloquent and she is a good person. (She thinks) I would also say that many of those who inspire me are people around me on a daily basis: my friends, my mother. Classic. But Beyoncé is my number 1.

It’s impossible to speak with a Swedish pop star without talking about Eurovision, the country which, after Ireland, holds the record for victories – six. You would make a perfect candidate for Sweden …

Ah ah! You think ? Thank you ! I love Eurovision . In Sweden, we have the Melodifestivalen, eight weeks of selection [to designate the candidate for Eurovision] and I watch the program every weekend. This year Tusse is my favorite. I don’t think I would be a good choice. Not now. I love to watch but I don’t think it would do anything for me. I don’t feel like I need or want it. It’s a special scene, it would be impressive because there is a huge audience every year. Ask me again in ten years, but for now, I prefer to focus on my personal journey rather than on the adventure of Eurovision.

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