Zara Larsson is one of the best pop stars in the world right now. As if being a talented singer and dancer isn’t enough, she’s also a beautiful, funny, outspoken Swedish teenage feminist. The only thing she’s lacking is a hit.
Similarly to Troye Sivan, Zara was a child star in her home country, winning Talang (their version of Britain’s Got Talent) at age 10. She released a cover of My Heart Will Go On, but subsequently returned to obscurity. In her teens, she became a YouTube star in Sweden, and signed to TEN Music Group (the brilliant team behind Icona Pop, Erik Hassle and more) and Universal, eventually releasing her first original single in 2013, aged 15. Uncover was a no.1 in Sweden and well-received by pop fans around the world, attracting comparisons to Rihanna. News of this promising young starlet travelled quickly to the US, where she signed a joint deal with Epic and Dr Luke’s imprint Kemosabe Records.
In 2014 Zara released her debut album 1, but sadly it didn’t live up to her early promise. It was pleasant but so underwhelming, I didn’t even notice until a few weeks ago that one of the songs was an Erik Hassle cover. The album was only released in Scandinavia, with the US getting a skimmed version as an EP. A few months later, a new single called Lush Life appeared, and quickly became a hit across Europe. She also made her long-awaited arrival in the UK, duetting on Never Forget You with MNEK. Although I still think the track is pretty average, it was a top 5 hit, and Zara finally played her first UK gig (she was amazing, of course)! Lush Life will be released here in January, and I’m hoping she can benefit from the quietness of Q1 and notch up another chart hit, but I still feel it’s nowhere near as good as she deserves. If Zara Larsson doesn’t become a superstar in 2016, people need to be losing their jobs, because this really shouldn’t be that difficult.
Click here to find out more about This Must Be Pop’s Stars of 2016 and come back on 18th December to vote for the artists you think, and hope, will be the biggest stars of 2016. The results will be announced in the Future Pop mailer on 4th January.