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Feminists Be strong when you are weak Be brave when you are scared poster
Though she didn’t land a record deal during a subsequent trip to Los Angeles, Swedish indie label TEN Music Group snapped her up in 2012. A year later, she topped her country’s singles charts with a dramatic ballad called ‘Uncover’.
It didn’t take long for international success to follow. Appearing on the cover of NME in late 2016, she told us in no uncertain terms: “I want as many people as possible to go to my concert.” In 2015 and 2016 she sent no fewer than six singles into the UK Top 20, including the skittering ‘Never Forget You’, a duet with London singer MNEK; the club-ready Tinie Tempah collaboration ‘Girls Like’; and the utterly irresistible ‘Lush Life’, one of the best pop songs of the decade. Then, in 2017, she partnered with Clean Bandit for the chart-topping dance banger ‘Symphony’. It still ranks among both acts’ career highlights, Larsson’s emotional vocals adding some red-blooded grit to Clean Bandit’s precision-tooled beats.
“I hate toxic masculinity – it makes the world a worse place”
Since then, Larsson’s chart positions outside of Sweden haven’t been as sky-high – her last four singles didn’t crack the UK top 10 – but her pop star stock remains premium. “And at this point I just want people to hear my new music and I want to stop being so scared of how it’s going to go,” she says. “Because honestly, what could go wrong? That I sell one album. If that happens, I’ll make another one – that’s how I see it now. And that’s how I’ve been seeing it the whole time I was growing up in this industry.
“But because my first [global] album was ‘So Good’ – literally! – I felt pressured, I really did. And then eventually, I was like, ‘Nah, you can’t keep going on like this because the longer you wait to release this album, the less people are gonna care anyways. So just fucking release it because it’s great, it’s fun and it’s my form of escapism.”
Since she broke through globally in 2016, Larsson has also become known for calling out gender inequality and speaking powerfully about the horrors of sexual assault. After a fan was reportedly raped during her set at Sweden’s Bravalla Festival in July 2016, Larsson tweeted: “Fuck you who shamelessly raped a girl in the audience. You deserve to burn in hell. Fuck you for making girls feel insecure when they go to a festival. I hate guys. Hate hate hate.”