She is Sweden’s biggest pop star of truly international calibre and now Zara Larsson has just got started with a new chapter in her career, being her own boss and running her own world. She clearly stood out above most of Lollapalooza’s line up this year.
Just one year ago Zara Larsson gained her full independence, when her label TEN gave her the chance to take full control of her entire recording catalogue, clocking in at something like nine billion streams at the time of the deal. Having 100% ownership of her own masters, now that’s something that would make Tay-Tay jealous.
Zara kicked off 2023 with the release of her first song on her own Sommer House label, Can’t Tame Her, which is fittingly about running her own world and doing her own thing. So it was totally fitting that she would start her Lollapalooza set with this very song, the audience screaming in anticipation as she stepped on stage.
She came out in thigh-high boots, a bedazzled top and a mini-skirt that left very little up to the imagination. Showing off fierce dance moves with her amazing dancers, she really started the show with a bang and threw in some pyro for good measure. The band played super tight and the backing singers gave great support.
The knock-out start with several up-tempo songs was followed by Zara belting out a big ballad and a moment of reflection, where she paused to really take it all in. Being in front of the home crowd got her pretty emotional. “I better start singing again or I’ll cry…”
So much hard work goes into being able to do what she does, with all the singing and dancing at a high tempo for most of the show. Zara has an impressive songbook of hooky bops and just plain pop perfection, all of which most people in the crowd could sing along to. And boy if they did – Zara at one point told everybody should apply to Swedish Idol, since they were singing so well.
One of the big sing-along numbers was her cover of the ABBA classc Lay All Your Love on Me. Interestingly American pop phenomenon Sabrina Carpenter chose to do the exactly same ABBA song on the very same stage the day before. One would think Zara has dibs on the song, as she has actually recorded it as a Spotify single last year. But Sabrina has another trump up her sleeve in the contest over fangirling over ABBA, as her cats are called Björn and Benny…
Zara Larsson is only 25, but already a seasoned veteran. It’s been 15 years since she won Sweden’s Got Talent, after which she was apparently frustrated not being able to start her pop star career right away… But in due time, 10 years ago, she had her first official release Uncover, which actually was one of the highlights of the show, especially the part when she let the audience do the singing all by themselves. That’s how it is, that’s how it goes…
Towards the end Zara’s childhood idol Carola joined for Säg mig var du står and the audience went completely crazy. Definitely one of the things which will make the Lolla experience all the more special for Zara herself.
For the big finish Zara of course did Lush Life, her very summery mega hit. It was a perfect fit for the lovely summer night, when the sun had just set and it only rained confetti.
All photos © Nina Uddin