You’ve heard the voice, now see the act
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