If you reside stateside, you probably know 17-year-old Zara Larsson as the woman who put a condom on her leg and effectively schooled any and all dudes who like to brag that they're "too big" for latex. (OK, buddy.) The Swedish singer, however, is kind of a big deal in her home country -- and primed to pop here on our shores in the not-so-distant future with her Rihanna-meets-Robyn love jams.
After premiering her EP Uncover with MTV this week, Larsson took some time out to chat about how she's not Taylor Swift, love songs and why, exactly, she decided to wrap her leg in rubber.
Check out our interview below.
MTV: So how does it feel to finally release your EP in America?
Zara Larsson: It's awesome! We’ve been working on this for almost two years, so I’ve been ready since forever. I’ve been waiting for this since the first day I signed with Epic. So, it's like, 'Finally!'
MTV: Can you tell me a bit about the story behind the EP? It's so textured.
Larsson: It’s all about love, actually, which I didn’t think of before I had the EP finished. Then I was like, 'Oh wow, this is all about love.'
I mean, one of the songs,'She's Not Me,' is basically about someone leaving me for another girl. And it’s very sad and kind of bitter. And then we have 'Wanna Be Your Baby' -- a super happy song like you wanna dance and you’re in love and you’re happy. 'Yay! Everything is awesome!'
And then there's 'Uncover,' which is about people who love you -- but they can’t show it. I think everyone can relate to at least one song on the EP.
So yeah, I don’t know why it’s all about love, but I guess that’s just a natural thing to sing about because we feel that all the time, no matter if it's positive or negative or if you’re sad or you’re happy.
MTV: Is the record based on your own experiences with love?
Larsson: 'She's Not Me' is not. 'Uncover' is not. For me, it’s actually really hard to write about my real experience. Like to do a Taylor Swift. You know what I mean? It’s so brave to actually write about things that happened and things you wanna get off your chest, but I’m not really there yet. But at the same time, you know, I can still relate to it somehow -- even if I haven’t experienced it, personally and directly.
MTV: So taking it back, what's your earliest memory related to music? You're still pretty young -- 17!
Larsson: I don’t really know, because I’ve been doing this for my entire life. I always sang after every dinner or when we had people over or when we had a show in school. I just loved to be on stage and sing in front of people. And I sang for the ladies on the subway, when I was like three.
You know, I’ve always loved to perform in front of people, but it became pretty serious when I participated in 'Sweden’s Got Talent.' I thought it would be a fun thing to do, and I was just like, 'OK, why not?' And Mom was like, 'OK, sure, sure, do this!' So I did, and I won it!
MTV: So you were like 10 when you won. How have you changed since then?
Larsson: My voice has definitely developed a lot and just my presence on the stage -- but [I've gained] more of an understanding of the actual music and the track. I can’t really listen to songs without thinking, 'OK so here comes the guitar. OK, and I can hear the piano playing on that part,' you know? I’m just trying to understand music a lot more than before.
MTV: So you also gained a little viral fame the other week with that whole condom leg thing...
Larsson: Yeah it was crazy! I know! I gained like 50,000 followers on Instagram!
MTV: Why did you take that photo?
Larsson: I don’t know. I’ve seen people do it on Tumblr, way, way back, and I just thought it would be a fun idea. I tried it on and it was very, very stretchy. I was like, 'I have to take a picture,' because the thing that I was thinking was, 'Oh my gosh, all these guys think they’re too big to wear a condom.' Like, 'You are lying! This is the proof,' and then it just became this massive thing.
MTV: Any Instagram tips for your fans? Dos and Don'ts?
Larsson: I don’t know. Sometimes, I just want to delete my pictures and start over and be like, this Tumblr girl, drinking smoothies from a pineapple. But then I’m like 'No, I don’t want to do that.'
But it’s literally just being me. I’m just being me on Instagram and that’s what I love about it. It’s definitely personal, and it's like no one in my team would ever get my password for my Instagram. Like that’s a no-no.