Zara Larsson has come a long way since her debut 2014 studio album, 1 — not only personally, but also artistically.
That’s why her upcoming album Venus feels like a re-introduction. “This is a very solid body of work that I’m very proud of,” she tells Billboard, noting that she isn’t confined by the idea of remaining in one genre. “I find it really hard to stay sonically in one kind of genre. Even though the album is still pop, it sounds a bit more R&B-leaning and also has more just classic pop jams. There are drum patterns and drum beats on some songs and there are also some beautiful strings on most of the songs. So, while there are definitely elements which tie it together, overall, I would just say the real thread throughout the album is just my voice and me telling a story depending on what I’m feeling right now.”
In fact, vulnerability is also a common thread she’s exploring throughout the project, stepping confidently into her own inner goddess by reflecting on who she truly is — hence Venus being her first album release under her own Sommer House label.
Take her musical reunion with David Guetta, “Oh My Love,” for example. “Into the dark, into the light, baby, I go / Whether it’s wrong, whether it’s right, I will follow / I’ll pay the price, I’ll sacrifice / That’s on my love,” she belts in the chorus, which represents a promise to her younger sister Hanna Larsson that she’ll do anything for her. “Sometimes you’re super happy and no one can stop you, and then other times you’re like, I feel so sad and I feel so broken. You just go through all the emotions,” she says of being human, which is a main theme of the album.
As for reuniting with Guetta seven years after their 2016 collaboration “This One’s For You,” Larsson says being in the studio with the beloved DJ and producer is like spending time with an “old friend.” “I do really love him,” she gushes. “He’s one of the most positive and amazing people that I’ve met in the industry, and he’s always so excited for the stuff that he likes. I just love the song. I think he’s so cool and I’m super happy. It feels like a full circle moment.”
Guetta is not the only industry veteran Larsson looks up to, mentioning Tinashe, Victoria Monet and Troye Sivan as some of her current inspirations. “They’ve never been cooler, and with every video and every song, the image they’re creating for themselves is getting clearer,” she says. “I just love it. So hopefully, with this album too, I’ll continue to create more of a world with my music.”
She plans to do so not only with her upcoming album, but also with her UK and European tour, which is set to kick off February 16 in Manchester, England, and stretch across Europe before wrapping up on March 16 in Reyjavik, Iceland.
“She’s definitely more dynamic than Poster Girl,” Larsson concludes of Venus. “She is more brave in the sense that she dares to be more personal and emotional, but she’s also just a bit more personal in the sassy, fun way. Like she would say some s—, you know? She’s more playful, but at the same time, more honest.”
Venus is out on February 9. Pre-order the album here.