Pop star Zara Larsson opens up about where she gets her inspiration, her new collaboration with Clinique, and more

Swedish Pop Sensation Zara Larsson Eyes U.S. Market
Swedish Pop Sensation Zara Larsson Eyes U.S. Market

Even if you don't know her by name, chances are you've heard Zara Larsson's music on the radio lately. From her new single "Lush Life" to her hot 100 debut of her song "Never Forget You" with NMEK -- this pop star has taken over the airwaves.

The 18-year-old rose to fame in Europe when she won the 2008 Swedish version of Britain'sGot Talent, and ever since then she's been pushing herself to the forefront of the pop scene. That's why it makes perfect sense that her next move would be something fun, exciting and new -- her collaboration with Clinique for their Play With Pop campaign.

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The interactive makeup feature, directed by Hiro Murai, is comprised of four videos that each represent a different beauty look -- bare, bold, sweet and vixen -- paired with a mix of Larsson's "Lush Life."

Not only that, but Larsson made her musical debut at South by Southwest this year with a musical performance on Saturday, March 12 to a crowd full of happy SXSW-goers.

AOL.com caught up with the pop sensation at SXSW before her live show. See the full interview below!

What went into the filming and creation of the Clinique Play With Pop campaign?

It began with the question of whether or not I wanted to work with Clinique, and I said yes because it's a trustworthy and good brand. Then, it was Clinique who brought up the idea of the video and doing different looks throughout the song, and because I'm a singer it was perfect to have my song in the campaign. They said they loved Lush Life, and that was exciting for me because it's my single.

Then they presented the looks, and we talked through them –- what I liked and what I didn't like, and then we came up with what I wanted to do. Then, we just did it. It was really cool, I think it looks really good, and is definitely unique.

How did you connect to the four Clinique colors, and what would you wear on a typical night out?

When it comes to lip color, I've been pretty afraid of using them in the past. But about a year ago, I started to like them a bit more, and it's just really fun to use. I would say that on a typical night out, my lip color of choice depends on my eye makeup. I'm partial to nude shades, and red lips always work, but the look I liked the most from the video is definitely the Vixen -- the dark one-- because it was so different. It was fun to try that out because I don't usually wear a black wig.

It's so easy. You change your lips and you can change your mood!

How have you used makeup to define yourself and your style?

I think it's a huge part of expressing yourself. I've always had to wear makeup on stage, but I honestly wear it because I think it's a lot of fun. When I have the most makeup on is when I'm alone, not going out, and not seeing anyone, just because I love it!

As a teenager, I had bad breakouts, and it's starting to get a little bit better now, but I learned that you don't want to cover up everything, but still find a way to make everything you like pop.

What are you most excited for at SXSW this year?

I'm excited for the The Game of Thrones exhibit. I am also really excited for my performance tonight, of course. I love singing, and I love to talk, so it's really nice to be able meet nice people here -- this is my first year.

When did you first realize you loved music?

I haven't actually had a day where I woke up and I thought to myself: I want to be a singer, because I've always known. I've always known that I want to be a singer. I love attention, always been the class clown, I want people to look at me and see me, that combined with liking music – it makes sense.

See the timelapse Vine video below of Zara's Show:


What's your favorite part of being a musician and working on different, awesome projects like the one with Clinique?

Being a musician is very different and fun, I want to partner with cool brands like Clinique, and that's a great part of it. But I also love the music itself, and one of my favorite things to do is sing live. It's great to sing in front of people and see their reactions. When you make a record in the studio and people buy it, it's cool, but you can't see the faces of the people who are listening. When you perform live you literally see the people in front of you, and how they react to your music. You see what songs they like, and what they sing along to, and that's the best feeling in the world.

When you go to a concert for a big artist in a big arena, and that song comes on that everybody knows, and everyone sings along. I can't even explain what that would be, to be that artist, because that feeling is so beautiful! That's what I want to do with my life.

What's your songwriting process like?

It's always different! It depends on what mood I'm in and who I'm with. Sometimes I'm writing with different people, and it depends on how they do it and what I want to sing about. But normally, you have a good track for the music, and then you come up with the melodies. For me, because English is not my first language, I can have a difficult time with the words, but, if I know what I want to sing about it comes pretty quick. I think coming up with the melodies is the most fun thing to do.

As you write these songs and work with music, where are you getting your inspiration?

I would say, life. As a teenage girl, there are a lot of things going on at once, and pretty much all of my songs are about love. This age is when you start to experience love, for real, as a teenager. Love is so relatable! Love is for everyone. To be a teenage girl is just a big inspiration for my music.

What's next for you career wise?

Well, I'm working on my album, and right now I have a song called 'Never Forget You' with a British artist MNEK, that's climbing the charts. So that's what people are focusing on now. But after that, maybe Lush Life is going to be the next hit single, because obviously you can't really ignore it. Overseas, it's such a big hit. Top 3 UK, Top 3 Germany, it's really growing! And with the partnership with Clinique, it just makes sense! So we'll see, but yes, I'm working on my album which is coming out this summer.

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Check out some other photos below from South by Southwest this year!

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