Zara Larsson on her love of ABBA and “dark, vulnerable” new album

Hear Larsson's cover of 'Lay All Your Love On Me', as she talks to NME from the red carpet of ABBA Voyage

Zara Larsson has covered ABBA‘s ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’, as well as telling NME what the band mean to her and revealing that work is progressing well on a “dark” and “vulnerable” new album. Watch our interview with Larsson above.

Today sees Larsson release her cover of the Swedish pop giants’ 1981 track for the Spotify Singles series, just after the premiere of the band’s ambitious new ABBA Voyage show in London.

Speaking to NME on the red carpet of the event, Larsson admitted being a little starstruck to have pop royalty nearby.

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“They were like, ‘Oh, can you believe the Swedish Royal Family is here?’ and I was like, ‘I know, ABBA are right there’,” she said. “They were like, ‘No, the actual Royal Family will be here’.”

But who would she be most likely to take a bullet for – ABBA or the Swedish Royal Family?

“I don’t know, I actually love them both! I really do,” she replied. “But obviously as a musician, it’s ABBA.”

Larsson also revealed that she had previously met ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. “Not only are they sweet, they’re some of the talented musicians ever – the way they write the songs, the way they perform them, the outfits; they’re pop legends, truly,” she said.

And what she do to secure a collaboration with ABBA?

“I don’t know! Tell me! I want it! Give me some tips,” she replied. “Could you imagine that, on the next album: ‘Zara Larsson featuring ABBA’? Wow. Maybe I should write a song with Benny.”

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Zara Larsson ABBA
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 26: Zara Larsson attends the first performance of ABBA’s “Voyage” at ABBA Arena on May 26, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Nicky J Sims/Getty Images)

Having previously told fans that she was back in the studio working on her fourth album, Larsson gave us an update last night to say that the follow-up to 2020’s ‘Poster Girl’ was “half done, if not more”.

“It goes back and forth,” she said. “Some days I wake up and I feel like I’m done, I’m finished and I love everything, then other days not. I guess that’s the life of being an artist. I feel really good about this one. It’s going to come out in the beginning of next year. We’re not waiting four more years between an album.”

She continued: “I would say it’s still pop. It definitely has some crying songs on it. It’s a bit more ‘crying on the dancefloor’, but with a bit of a darkness to it. It’s not so cute and disco-ish, although it has that. I’ve always had a variety of songs and feelings to it, but this one definitely has me writing a lot, singing a lot. We’ll see.

Lyrically, Larsson said that the new album is driven by “a lot of love”.

“Where we’re at right now, I would say it’s very vulnerable. I like to be vulnerable, so when you do a stripped-back version it’s like, ‘Wow, this is really deep’ – but then the beat hits. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Zara Larsson
Zara Larsson CREDIT: Press

Back to the evening’s proceedings, and Larsson said that she was most excited to hear ABBA play ‘Super Trooper’, ‘Mama Mia’ and ‘The Winner Takes It All’ – but there was another song she had reserved as her favourite, with a cover of said track released today.

“I’m looking forward to ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’, because I did a Spotify Single cover,” she said. “It had to be this song for me. I recorded that months ago and it’s coming out now, which could not be better timing. I’m excited for that, because that’s my favourite

In a five star review of ABBA Voyage, NME concluded: “Ageing rockers and poppers are bound to imitate the idea, but it’ll be a struggle to come close to the experience of ABBA Voyage. We for one welcome our new ABBAtar overlords, if only for giving these songs back to us in a totally new and joyful way.”

Larsson meanwhile, will be back in the UK this summer to headline Manchester Pride in August.

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