IN REVIEW: ZARA LARSSON MAKES A STELLAR US BOW

January 2015 is in the books and we already have a new rookie popstar to root for.

Okay, so "rookie" is kind of a misnomer -- at least in the case of Sweden's own Zara Larsson. At just 17 years young, Zara has released a #1 debut album in her native Sweden, a handful of successful EPs, and is now setting her sights on the USA.

She first rose to public consciousness back in pre-Lady Gaga 2008, winning the televised reality competition Talang (read: Sweden's Got Talent). At the final stages of the competition, she wowed while singing Celine Dion's signature song, "My Heart Will Go On". She was 10 years old. Yes, really. What were you doing when you were 10?

Following a jaunt opening for Cher Lloyd's North American tour in 2013 after the success of her debut EP in Sweden, wheels began turning to package together a greatest hits EP of sorts for Zara to be released here and a few weeks back in late January, that came to fruition.

Dubbed Uncover (after her first real single in Sweden that indeed rose to the top spot on the Swedish and Norwegian charts), this EP presents the perfect balance of slick, shiny pop music with brooding, age-appropriate r&pop yearning.


The American Uncover EP features gems from previously released material like "She's Not Me" and the aforementioned "Uncover" as well as songs cherry-picked from her debut full-length 1, which was released in Sweden last October. These include the dramatic-Rihanna-midtempo-esque "Carry You Home", my fave in bouncy "Rootop" that you can view above (produced by Billboard who also did Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend"), and "Wanna Be Your Baby" (co-penned by Claude Kelly). (It also bares noting that 1 further features songwriting by the likes of two fellow Swedish super-songsmiths in Tove Lo and Erik Hassle.)

Vocally impressive and utterly relentless in intensity, Uncover is as strong an introduction as they come -- tight as a drum. My only complaint? It lacks 1's lead single -- the catchy as all get out "Bad Boys". Maybe it'll be released as a single to come stateside? I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Here's to a fruitful 2015, Ms. Larsson.



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