[EXCLUSIVE] Interview with Swedish pop singer - Darin Zanyar

Darin Zanyar, better known simply as Darin, is a Swedish pop singer and songwriter of Kurdish descent and one of Sweden's best-selling artists, with numerous chart topping songs and music albums. His album titled “Exit” will be out on 10th October 2015. The same day when Darin is touring Malaysia.

It was revealed that it was not first time in Asia but in Malaysia also adding on that every country is different and when he got here in Malaysia, he felt a sense of peacefulness and calm. He shared that he loved food and a couple of months ago in Singapore, he tried Malaysian dishes and he was hooked. Want to get to know more about Darin and the EXIT album itself? Check out the questions asked below.

Your Music Video – “Nobody Knows” was shot in Singapore, how was the experience?
Darin : It was really cool, it was my first time there. There were a lot of cool locations with all the buildings. It was hectic but I had my own team from Sweden but also there was a team from Singapore. It was a good vibe and we had a lot of fun. We shot from 6PM to 9AM every day, tense but the video was great. The club scene was shot in Stockholm because when I got back there was something missing because “Nobody Knows” song is very dance, pop, r&b and house so the whole vibe so we added it. When you look at it, it still feels like it’s in Singapore but that was the whole idea. So I wanted it to feel like it was in the same city.

What is your hopes/goals for the EXIT album to be release in Malaysia?
Darin :  I hope the people would hear the music. The first single is pretty new here, I hope the people would like it - the video and the song. There are a lot of songs, the first single is more of an up tempo but there’s also like ballads and those kind of more emotional song as well.

What tracks are your favourite and you would recommend to listen?
Darin : Nobody Knows is the most powerful song on the record because it has both sadness and happiness in one. There’s a song “F Your Love”, I like the lyrics because it’s very personal and it’s about betrayal. I also like “Surrender”, it’s a song I wrote in 3 different cities. It was recorded really quickly in about 10 minutes without the lyrics, when I listened to it, I had to put this song in my album.

Your music videos are cinematic, why so?
Darin : I think it’s because I like watching movies a lot as a kid. I like videos that have a story and leave you thinking. Of course I like videos that are artsy but I think it’s more interesting if it has a meaning.

Have you ever considered acting?
Darin : I have actually had a few offers from Sweden and I’ve been close in saying yes but music is the thing I like the most. I’ve always try to stay in that. To be an artist, songwriter and a musician. Maybe I’ll do it in the future.

As a European artist, how do you measure success?
Darin : Instead of competing with others, I always compete with myself. Try to top the last thing I did, develop as a songwriter, singer, performer come up with new things. Reinvent myself.

When asked if there’s any showcase planned for Malaysia. Darin replied with nothing for now is planned, however in 2 weeks it was revealed that he will be having a tour in China. He expressed that he hope to have a bigger tour next year which will include Malaysia. Darin is also no stranger to humanitarian works. He shared that his parents fled the war between Iran and Iraq during the 70s and they ended up in Sweden due to the war. Darin also shared that although he did not gone through it, he heard these stories and it has become part of him and it became important for him to be able to help people who are in need. Darin uncovers that when you get a lot, you have to give back.

Nobody Knows was released years ago but you recorded your music video this year, what took you so long?
Darin : I didn’t expect the album to be released here but then I got the offer and I was like of course. For me, I felt like it was the single I want to release as the first one. I had to a video because in Sweden, music channels aren’t big anymore. A lot of countries over here have big music channels and it was natural to do one. Put a face to the music as well and start.

What do you do during long flights?
Darin : I listen to a lot of music, watch movies sometimes. Sleep. Eat. Think a lot. I’m a person that thinks a lot.

What’s in your current playlist?
Darin : It’s very different, from classical to 70s,60s to Pop music. I think a good song is a good song, it doesn’t matter who sings it or what genre it is. That’s an important thing I think and a respect for music. Because some people listen to commercial music and they say this is not good because it’s commercial because it’s not true. One proof of that is a good song can be played acoustic or play it with a big production.

Sweden have come up with big pop icons, are you inspired by them and do you feel that you will be like them one day?
Darin : Yes, I grew up with both Roxette and Ace of Base. Hopefully. They were really successful and that’s something I grew up with and that inspired me and a lot of songwriters in Sweden. I think Sweden is a country that takes music really seriously. Even when it comes to education, like schools and stuff like that and I think a lot of songwriters get a lot of support.

What is one piece of advice you are glad you ignored?
Darin : It was my second record in Sweden. I released two albums in one year and I remembered my record company told me that’s not how it works, you can’t just release another record just half a year after the first one. I said trust me and that we’re doing this because it’s a new sound. Finally we released it and it sold twice as much as my first album. That was just proof of listening to your gut feeling and going after that.

What’s your biggest inspiration?
Darin : It’s everything that happens around me even my friends and family. Travelling, seeing new places that gives me a lot of energy and inspiration. Different cultures. That’s what I do when I lose energy and I need inspiration and everything that happens around me. The people I know.

What are your process on song writing?

Darin : It’s different, like on EXIT, like half of the album is written with piano and guitar. The other half is produced by another producer called Jim Beanz. That was more like with computers and it was different from song to song. The up tempo song is with the beat and that’s what gives me the inspiration to the melodies and lyrics.

Visit your nearest record shop in Malaysia for Darin's album - EXIT.

Our publication would like to thank Sony Music Malaysia for the opportunity for the interview.