You’ve heard the voice, now see the act

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TICKET SEVEN DAYS - Louise Bru­ton

ZARA LARS­SON As most pop songs soar­ing high in the charts come with the added bonus of a fea­tured artist singing a hook or a cho­rus, we get to know voices well be­fore we get to know the name. In the case of Swedish singer Zara Lars­son, her voice is well and truly ev­ery­where, as a fea­tured artist and a solo en­tity. But who is she?

Her singing ca­reer be­gan in 2008 when she won Talang, the Swedish adap­ta­tion of Got Tal­ent, when she was just 10 years old, and her de­but sin­gle was a deeply dis­com­fort­ing cover of Ce­line Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. But her 2015 sin­gle Lush Life was what re­ally pushed her out of Swe­den and into our ears.

In the sum­mer of 2015, we overindulged in trop­i­cal, steel drum pop songs that all sounded like Ri­hanna cast offs, or as RiRi put it her­self, “air­port reg­gae”. With Lush Life, Lars­son slipped into the back­ground but soared high in the charts, help­ing us to pre­tend that our lives were a lit­tle bit more ex­otic than mouldy Ir­ish night­clubs would let us be­lieve.

Never For­get You, her next sin­gle with MNEK, is the type of song that fits in nicely on Spo­tify’s cu­rated fit­ness playlists, so with ev­ery bead of sweat and ev­ery calo­rie burned, Lars­son’s voice weaves its way into our psy­che.

Her big­gest col­lab­o­ra­tion to date is with the fid­dle-lov­ing pop mae­stros Clean Ban­dit on their num­ber-one sin­gle Sym­phony, which has been in the top 40 since March. You know it well but un­less you were prompted, you prob­a­bly couldn’t pin a name to ei­ther of the acts in­volved.

At 19 years of age, Lars­son is part of new wave of pop­stars who know that over­ex­po­sure is dan­ger­ous. Hits are a ne­ces­sity be­fore the ti­tle of celebrity is se­cured and with head­line show’s in Belfast’s Water­front Hall on Sun­day and Dublin’s Olympia on Mon­day, the fact that we know so lit­tle about Lars­son is a good thing be­cause we’ve seen the back­lash against acts who are sud­denly ev­ery­where, with lit­tle mu­sic to back them up. Heya, Rita Ora.

Fame can kill a ca­reer be­fore it even be­gins, the mu­sic over­shad­owed by fa­mous hook-ups or celebrity pals ap­pear­ing in In­sta­gram posts.

So if Lars­son is guar­an­teed chart gold, and and our heads aren’t wrecked by her om­nipres­ence, it means that she’s learned from the mis­takes of other pop­stars and she’s in this for the long haul.

At 19 years of age, Lars­son is part of new wave of pop­stars who know that over­ex­po­sure is dan­ger­ous. Hits are a ne­ces­sity be­fore the ti­tle of celebrity is se­cured

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