Charlotte Rutherford

EXCLUSIVE: Zara Larsson Talks Studying Ballet and Her Music

Some might consider Zara Larsson to be one of Queens of Pop. Larsson has had countless hits from “Never Forget You” to “Lush Life” to “Symphony” and to her current hit “Ruin My Life.” Larsson is getting ready to release her second album and recently released her single “Don’t Worry Bout Me.” Larsson is currently on tour in America and CelebMix had the chance to chat with her in Boston, MA before her show.

“Ruin My Life” is one of your first singles to be a non-duet, how does that feel to have a song that is all you be a single?

I wouldn’t say that necessarily, I do have a few songs that are just me. Actually, “Ruin My Life” was thought of being a duet at first and it was sent to me as a duet but because “Never Forget You” is my biggest song, which is a duet I just felt like that I want people to know who I am. I’m a solo artist so of course I want people to recognize who I am. Features can be really cool as well because it brings out the best in both artists but of course I still want that recognition. I think we still have such a long way to go, I’m not even close to where I want to be so this is just the beginning and on top of that I think it’s a really cool song.

You grew up studying ballet, was there a point in your life where you thought dance would be a career?

No, never. I loved dancing growing up and I danced a lot, I don’t know why ballet became such a big part of my life, I went to the Royal Swedish Ballet School so that was the core of the dance, was ballet, but I’ve always wanted to have dance included in my show because I’ve always wanted to be a singer, so I think the ballet really helped me, if you know ballet, you know your body so well and that helps with you all the dance genres, not only the classical ones and it helped me a lot. My biggest idol is Beyoncé and she puts on a SHOW with dancing which is a big part of her show as singing is, but when they’re both combined. it’s like unmatched so that’s the type of artist I want to be.

Speaking of Beyoncé, are you excited for the album?

OF COURSE, COME ON.

Did you watch the Taylor Swift performance at the Billboard Music Awards?

I did, I did. It clocked me at first, I was like “Taylor, girl,” I don’t know if she did it on purpose or not. I think she’s extremely smart, so maybe it was on purpose, maybe it wasn’t but you can’t really compare anything to Beyoncé I think, also I think that was just a monumental historical moment for Black Culture and what it meant, so I don’t think it’s comparable in anyway.

“Don’t Worry Bout Me” is your second single after “Ruin My Life” which is a continuation of “Ruin My Life” in a way. Was that planned at all?

No, honestly I change my mind a million times a day. It makes a lot of sense going after “Ruin My Life” because it’s kind of a paradox because obviously you don’t want someone to ruin your life but when you’re so in love and miss someone so much, you’d rather have someone come back and f*ck you up than not being in your life. That’s the feeling you have and it doesn’t make any sense and it’s not a very empowering message but it’s the truth and it’s the honest truth. As an artist I think that you’re allowed to talk about those feelings too because I think we’ve all felt that at one point but then it’s also nice to come back with when you feel like you’re really over someone and don’t need them. It is so liberating and is the best thing in the world, so it made 100% sense that it would come after “Ruin My Life.” I wouldn’t say I don’t have a vision for my album but it’s more me collecting the songs that I love listening to, whenever I overthink stuff it gets really messy in my head, so whatever I feel like I just do and that’s worked so far!

What style of music can fans expect from your album?

Not too far off from what I’ve been doing, I’m still in the process of it but we’re getting close, absolutely pop, kind of like cool pop. The majority of the songs are quite upbeat and happy but then you listen to the lyrics and you’re like “oh, that’s quite dark” or it has a different meaning like “Never Forget You.” It’s such a fun song and then you listen to the lyrics and it has a message and I like that because it’s quite Swedish too, the vibe of the song, it’s upbeat and pop and happy and it might have a bit of a darker layer underneath.

You’re featured on a song called “Now You’re Gone” by Tom Walker, how did that collaboration come to be?

I was just in the studio recording a song with a producer that I work with quite a lot, Steve Mac and he was telling me how he works with this new artist and I heard the song and loved it and he asked me if I wanted to record it and jumped on it and then he asked if he could put it on the album. He’s amazing, I love his voice, he’s such a nice genuine artist as well with a really nice sound so I thought that was cool, it was quite spontaneous.

Your sister Hannah is also a singer, have you guys ever thought about collaborating?

Sure, absolutely but also I think she’s so independent and we don’t really have the same music style at all, she’s way more cool than I am. She’s so anti-pop, she doesn’t want to do mainstream while I’m like super mainstream and want to be played on the radio. Also I’ve had success and she doesn’t want to feel like she’s riding off of my wave, she wants to be her own person and that’s so important for her but she also’s opening for me in the UK, but she refuses to promote it, she doesn’t want it to be like “I’m her sister” type thing when she is, so you might as well haha. I think that it’s really cool that she does her thing and no one can tell her what to do, she’s super strong and independent.

How has tour been so far?

So far amazing! It’s really nice because I was touring two years ago with Clean Bandit and was opening for them at that time and we’re basically doing the same venues now that we did two years ago but now I’m the headliner. It’s nice to be back here, it’s small and intimate, it’s my first tour, I didn’t want to go too big and be all cocky like 5,000 seaters and then five people are buying tickets. I still have to dip my toe and see what the water is like, are people into it, what’s the reaction and so far it’s been amazing. Pretty much everything sold out, people are loving it so far and I’m having a really good time.

You’re very honest and outspoken on social media, do you think it’s important to be open with fans?

I mean if you want to, I do because I think it’s fun. Lately I’ve been quiet chill on my social media so I haven’t been that active and I actually enjoy just living in the now and not be stuck to my phone but voicing your opinions and having an impact and being able to do it because of my following and you do really have an impact on your followers, I really do believe that you have so much power and if you want to utilize that into something positive or something that will make a change, I think it’s really cool if you do. Celebrities, influencers, that’s a real job and you could influence people to do more than just over consume clothes and buy skinny T’s, there’s so much power in that huge following. I think just spread the world of equality, I’m such a feminist, for me that’s important but that’s just who I am as a person, I’ve always been very outspoken my whole life.

Make sure you catch Zara Larsson on tour in Europe and America by purchasing tickets here!

 

Written by Will Heffernan