Zara Larsson Interview: Singer Talks About Her EP ‘Uncover’ + Why She Stuck Her Leg in a Condom [EXCLUSIVE]
Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson made headlines recently when a photo of her shoving her entire calf inside a condom went viral. And while Zara never intended for that image to blow up in the way that it did, you can't deny that it was some seriously good -- if totally unintentional -- promo.
What most people probably don't know about Zara is she's a pop singer in her own right. After winning the Swedish version of 'Got Talent' at the insanely young age of ten, she held off on putting out any music for five years. Now she's back with an EP full of super catchy pop songs and a voice that's reminiscent of another modern day pop star -- Rihanna.
Check out our interview below with Zara to find out why she took that controversial photo, how she feels about being compared to Rihanna and just how much she loves Beyonce.
Let's get the obvious question out of the way first. That photo of you posing with a condom on your leg went viral. It was hilarious. What prompted you to do that?
I just did it! All of the guys in sixth grade did something like that, everyone's done it -- they put condoms on their head, I even see people doing it on Tumblr now, it's whatever. I was home alone and I was really bored so I wanted to try it, and when I had it on I was just thinking about how many of my girlfriends have been told -- even from their boyfriends -- "I can't wear a condom because I'm too big." I put a condom on my leg, literally up to my knee, and I was just thinking, "You're lying," you know? and I just posted it. I mean, it had a point, but it was really just supposed to be a funny thing! I never expected it to go viral, but it became a massive thing!
People refer to you as a feminist for that post. Do you agree with that title?
In my personal view, I don't think it has anything to do with feminism. Of course, I consider myself a feminist, but I wouldn't say I'm a feminist genius or anything. It had a point, but it was just meant to be a funny post.
Okay, now that that's out of the way let's talk about music. You got your big break when you won 'Sweden's Got Talent.'
Actually, I would say my big break was when I released my EP in 2013. People in America talk about 'Sweden's Got Talent' because that's what comes up when you Google me, but in Sweden people don't really think about it because it was such a long time ago. I won in 2008 and five years later I released my EP. I grew up! Some people recognize me from the show, but it wasn't my turning point. And it was a good thing I did that, because I wasn't associated with that show so I became more of an independent artist than "the girl from that talent show."
That makes sense. I know some artists get stuck with the association of coming from a televised singing competition and they can't get away from it.
Yeah, exactly. Maybe it's because the songs I have are great, but they're not childish, bubblegum pop.
How involved in the songwriting process are you?
I'm really hands-on with everything. Lately, I've been writing my own stuff which I didn't do for my past EPs. For the upcoming album that I'm hoping to release in May, I'm writing. This EP, 'Uncover,' I didn't write, but at the same time I'm very involved and in charge of my own sound.
You probably get this a lot, but your vocals remind me of Rihanna. You have a unique tone. Is that a comparison you welcome?
Sure! She's great! It's just funny to me, because I've never idolized Rihanna the way I do Beyonce. I think she's SO cool, but I personally don't think I sound like Rihanna! But when I first released my music I did get that comparison a lot. I never really thought about that, but it's a good thing. She's awesome.
So Beyonce is your favorite artist, right?
Oh yeah. Everyday. I became a massive fan in 2008, so it's been about seven years or so. Before that it was Whitney Houston. Those are the only two artists I've really idolized. Of course, I listen to a lot of music, but that's really it. You know, when you're standing in front of the mirror and singing? Beyonce's the only contemporary artist that I really, really idolize.
You recently went on tour opening for Cher Lloyd. Tell me about that.
It was great! It was so fun. We were with the Fifth Harmony girls, and they were so sweet. We had a lot of fun. It was such a bummer that I didn't have any music out back then, because I was performing and at the end I had to say, "Sorry guys, you can't buy my music!" which was kind of weird, but it was a great experience to be on the stage in America, because it's a different thing. But even though nobody knew who I was -- they never heard my name or my music because it wasn't out in America -- everyone was really nice, showing me love. It was a great experience.
Any plans in store for the rest of 2015?
I'm hoping to put an album out in May, and hopefully this summer I'm going to get a chance to perform live a lot, which I love so that should be exciting. I love to have a band but dancers are my priority, because I really want a show, you know? I want to be Beyonce!