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An Idol two decades at the top You’d need to search the length and breadth of Sweden, and ask the question to a lot of its inhabitants, before you stumbled upon a Swedish person who didn’t know who Darin is. The avenues they’ll know him through will differ – be it the perennial presence of his music on the radio, his career-defining turn on Så Mycket Bättre, his interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest when it was hosted in Malmö in 2013, or his humble beginnings on the TV show Idol – but know him they most certainly will.
released music exclusively in Swedish. “Writing and singing in Swedish is amazing, and I’m gonna continue doing that, because I love writing in Swedish,” ponders the artist, “but it does limit it to Scandinavia of course.”
By Karl Batterbee
the same time. That I’ve actually been able to do this for such a long time. Some of the things feel like they happened yesterday – while some of them feel like they happened 50 years ago,” he laughs. “It does feel like a long time ago,” says Darin, when asked about those first few years. “It was a different world back then.”
Last year, however, he returned with yet another new sound, a stylish new look, and he was singing in English again. And it’s certainly not the case that he’s limited himself to Scandinavia anymore. The first single, Can’t Stay Away, is currently serving as his debut hit single in Italy, for example, where, at the time of writing, it’s the highest placed Englishlanguage song on the Italian radio airplay chart.
In the many years since then, he’s racked up no less than seven number-one albums in Sweden, and kept things interesting for his fans – and for himself – by dipping in and out of musical eras. For one eight-year period – arguably his most commercially successful, on both streaming and radio – he recorded and
For his latest batch of English-language releases, Darin has worked with a new bunch of songwriters, something which, by this point in his career, he knows is important in order to keep things interesting: “I always get inspired by new things. Things that happen in my life – new people that I meet and new people
Photos: Koury Angelo
It was at this Idol audition, on the very first series of the show in 2004, that a 16-year-old Darin Zanyar first came to the attention of Sweden. As is often the case in these situations, a powerful singing voice belied the shy auditionee it was coming from. But as is actually quite rare in this sphere, it’s a singing voice that is still something of a radio staple almost two decades later; something that most artists – those who have come through reality TV or otherwise – can only dream of. “It’s insane. 20 years,” reflects Darin, who hasn’t been keeping track of the remarkable anniversary he’s been hurtling towards. “It feels crazy and cool at