Swedish pop sensation Zara Larsson is ready to take over the United States.
At the young age of 10 she conquered Talang, Sweden's version of America's Got Talent, in 2008. She was then signed to a record label and dropped an EP in 2013. A single from the EP titled "Uncover" was certified platinum, with the album going triple platinum in her home country.
Her new album, So Good, was released this past March, and is already taking over the UK charts. She recently released a fashion collection for H&M to expand her empire.
This month Larsson played at the House of Blues in Chicago opening for Clean Bandit where she talked backstage about her plans for the future.
Windy City Times: Tell our readers about yourself.
Zara Larsson: I am 19 years old. I am a singer from Sweden. I enjoy long walks on the park. Is this for a date?
WCT: Maybe. What is your sign?
ZL: I'm a Sagittarius.
WCT: Are you single?
ZL: I'm very single, so holla!
WCT: Did you always want to be a singer back home in Stockholm?
ZL: Yes, my whole life I wanted to be a singer. There was nothing I wanted to do so much.
WCT: Did you study singing in school?
ZL: I am still in school actually. I never did study it. I have always been singing and using my voice, but I did not study music theory.
WCT: How did you get in the Swedish singing contest?
ZL: In 2008, I auditioned and was on a Swedish version of America's Got Talent. After that nothing really happened. It took about five years for me to release my first EP in Sweden. It became very successful. I am very happy about that. People did recognize me but a lot of things happened between the ages 10 to 15, when I was a teenage girl. I was no longer the girl from the show after that.
People liked my songs from the EP and it went number one in Scandinavia. I was really lucky. Now we are working Europe. I am finally here in North America.
WCT: How did the Clean Bandit "Symphony" collaboration come about?
ZL: Their people contacted my people. They wanted to work with me. They had spent a lot of time in the UK being British. They have respect for the music scene there.
I heard the song after they sent it to me I felt it was beautiful. I immediately said yes.
WCT: Was the video filmed in a music hall?
ZL: Yes, in the Royal Albert Hall. It was with a full symphony and orchestra. It was incredible to shoot that video. It came together so well.
It was everything I hoped it would be. I was so happy how it turned out. When I saw the treatment for the video my sister and I just cried. I think it is my favorite video that I have done so far.
WCT: Did you come up with the styling in the video?
ZL: We wanted something very classic and glamorous. The way we synched the song with my performance was that I was a part of his orchestra. I was the conductor.
The dress was from Armani, who I have a great relationship with. I thought it was gorgeous on camera. Back then I had my hair pink, because I felt like it.
It was very simple. We recorded my part in a few hours. It is not about me or Clean Bandit in the video, even though we are a part of it. It is about the love story.
WCT: What would you tell people about your album, So Good, [who haven't] heard it yet?
ZL: It is pop and fun. It is pretty positive and uplifting. The majority of the songs are extremely danceable.
The album has Wizkid on it, so there are some African beats. There is some R&B and ballads, of course. Hopefully, if you buy the album you will like at least one song.
WCT: How was working with Ty Dolla $ign on So Good?
ZL: He is one of my favorite artists, honestly. I have a huge amount of respect for him. He wrote the song "So Good." He wrote the verses and the chorus. He is a phenomenal writer.
He was already in the song so it was natural for him to be in it a bit more.
WCT: Chicago is the end of the tour with Clean Bandit. How has the tour been?
ZL: It has been amazing. I feel like I learned a lot. I am more comfortable on stage and can just have fun.
I am ready for the summer, because I am doing some festivals with a whole band and pickup singers. It will be a whole production.
WCT: Will you perform at the gay bars?
ZL: I would love that. I have actually never been to any in America. I have been to Heaven in London, but that is it. It was turned up.
WCT: What is the gayest thing in Sweden?
ZL: Well, if you want to be stereotypical there is a lot of fashion. We have great fashion brands.
Eurovision is a huge deal there, also. It celebrates gay culture and artists with big gay followings.
WCT: Are you friends with Swedish singers like Tove Lo?
ZL: We don't call each other every day, but the music scene is small in Sweden. When there is an event, even in LA, we always bump into each other.
Everyone is so nice and supportive. It is how it should be in the music industry. Swedish artists are happy for each other. We are all friends.
WCT: With the tour over soon, what are you doing with your free time?
ZL: I don't have any free time. I remember two years ago the label told me I wouldn't have anymore off days. I did have a day off in Detroit two days ago. Basically, I just watched Grey's Anatomy!
Larsson will be at Lollapalooza on Saturday, Aug. 5. See Lollapalooza.com .