Zara Larsson; Epic, Sony Music
AN EPIC JOURNEY FROM SWEDISH ARTIST TO GLOBAL STAR
Zara Larsson is a Swedish singer songwriter who first came to prominence in her home country and across the Nordic region. Now, as an Epic artist, she is enjoying success around the world.
Central to her global rise have been three key factors: massive global streaming numbers, smart, engaging social media and high quality collaborations.
Having won a TV talent show aged just 10, Zara was signed locally by TEN Music Group and enjoyed some initial success in Sweden, Norway and Denmark with a single, Uncover ,and EP, Introducing.
In 2013 she signed a worldwide deal with Sony Music’s Epic label, where she benefitted from the guidance of CEO L.A. Reid. She was given time and space (as well as facilities and top quality writers and producers) to hone her craft, refine her sound and step onto the world stage as a more complete artist.
Sylvia Rhone, President, Epic Records, says: “We always saw Zara’s global potential from her early success in Sweden and other Nordic markets. It was our responsibility to give her a global platform. L.A. Reid gave her the opportunity to go into the studio with various writers and producers over a two year period. Sessions were booked in Los Angeles, London and Sweden, allowing her to get fully involved in the creative process.”
Rhone also flags up the importance of the instantaneous, data rich, global nature of streaming: “Zara’s deal originates with TEN Music Group from Sweden – the capital of streaming and where it was birthed. Therefore Zara had a natural relationship with fans and the streaming process. Streaming delivers simultaneous access around the world and we are able to build global marketing plans based on real time analytics.”
She describes Zara as “a social media princess” who connects directly and personally with her fans via her blog, her podcast, plus Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Zara’s first globally released album, So Good, was launched in March 2017. Rhone says: “We spent two years setting the album up, since[2015 hit single] Lush Life. We subsequently released four smash singles– Never Forget You, Ain’t My Fault, I Would Like and, most recently, So Good.
“Our approach with Zara was always multi-pronged – we had a consistent flow of new songs to keep feeding her fanbase on digital music platforms and radio, amplified with promotional tours, TV and press. Over the past two years we have covered Europe, Australia, Japan and North America consistently to keep her profile high alongside streaming and radio play. “The US was actually the last market on board, but once they kicked in with the success of Never Forget You, we truly had a global story.”
Throughout the process, to broaden her A&R approach, Epic sought out collaborators outside her Nordic roots. She collaborated with Ed Sheeran on Don’t Let Me Be Yours, WizKid on Sundown, Ty Dolla $ign on So Good and features on Clean Bandit’s Symphony. During the two year process she had local hits in Europe and Australia with Tinie Tempah’s Girls Like in the spring of 2016 and David Guetta’s This One’s For You, released for the UEFA Euro Championship in the summer of 2016 and was a number one single across France, GSA and also had success across Europe and Japan.
So Good went straight to number one in Sweden and was a top ten album across Europe as well as in Australia and New Zealand. Along the way, she broke the record for the most streamed debut album by a female artist (over 1.3 billion streams and counting).