This week, Swedish superstar Darin released a career defining album of perfect pop balladry. His first under his new deal with Universal, having already released four with Sony, you get the feeling that this is exactly where Darin wants to be musically. He co-wrote all of the original tracks on the album, aside from the Melodifestivalen song, so everything is a lot more personal this time around. It’s Darin. And as a result, his fans seem to be loving it too. Despite a change in sound from his previous musical output, it’s recieving widespread acclaim from both fans of his old stuff and newcomers to the man’s music. You can read our full track by track review of it here.
When an album is this good, we always want to speak to the artist about it! And with Darin, we also wanted to hear his thoughts on the changes that have gone on in his career over the last year (changes that are highlighted quite boldly in the lyrics to the album’s opening track ‘Microphone’), his first participation in Melodifestivalen, and his plans for international success.
And here are said thoughts;
scandipop: Hello Darin! So, your new album is out this week. It’s your 5th. Do you still have the same nervousness and excitement that you had when you released your first album, or does it feel quite different now?
Darin: Actually I still get nervous, and I’m still very excited about it because I’ve been working on it for such a long time. I’ve been living with these songs for almost a year now, so it’s really nice to finally be able to release them.
scandipop: And of course you’ve written a lot of the album this time around. Is it all of the songs that you’ve co-written?
Darin: Yes, I’ve co-written all of the songs except for ‘You’re Out Of My Life’. And I did ‘I’ll Be Alright’ all by myself.
scandipop: And because you’ve written so much of it yourself, does that mean you feel so much more protective of it, since you’re putting yourself out there a lot more?
Darin: That’s true, yes. Especially because of the lyrics, it’s all very close to me.
scandipop: When writing music, what is it exactly that you contribute? Is it more the lyrics, or is it the melody and the production too?
Darin: It’s all of it. I think all three parts are equally as important to me. I usually do the music first, or at least part of it. Then I write the melodies, then the lyrics, and then the rest of the music after that. I like to write almost poetic in a modern way. Like, describing things in another way. For example, ”drowning in the water” means crying so much that you can’t even see, so you feel like you’re drowning in water.
scandipop: Melodically too, it’s such a strong album. So strong that it’s difficult for me to pick any favourites yet. But do you yourself have any favourites? Although I’m sure it’s hard for you to choose between them since they’re all almost like your babies!
Darin: I think it’s ‘I’ll Be Alright’. I think that’s my favourite song. And then of the uptempo songs, I’d say it’s ‘Microphone’.
scandipop: ‘Microphone’ is quite special, yeah. It’s like a huge stadium pop number isn’t it?!
Darin: Yes! Exactly. It’s gonna be fun singing it live up on stage.
scandipop: Reaction to the album online has so far been overwhelmingly positive. But do you ever actually read about yourself online and what people are thinking about you and your music?
Darin: Sometimes I do, but it’s good to keep your own opinion. To feel like, you know, this music is good. And you can go crazy if you read about yourself too much too, you know!
scandipop: I can imagine yeah! But then I also imagine that it’s quite difficult not to read about yourself too. For example, your album is out this week, and it’s the first new music from you in a while. So I’m sure that you’re dying to know what your fans think of it!
Darin: Of course, yes. And I also do read what the fans think, as that’s really important to me. And I’m really happy that they like it.
scandipop: And has the reaction in the Swedish press been positive also?
Darin: Yeah it’s been really good actually. So it makes me very happy, ha ha!
scandipop: Good! So this is your first album on your new deal with Universal. But what happened with Sony? Why didn’t you stay with them?
Darin: Well I had 4 records in the contract with them, and I did that. And then I just felt like I wanted to try working with some new people. So I released the ‘Viva La Vida’ song with Universal, and it felt really good, it was number one! I was like, wow, they’re doing a great job. And so I wanted to continue working with them after that.
scandipop: Ok. And of course when you first signed with Sony, you were fresh out of Idol and a lot younger. So now that you’re more experienced, when it came to signing with a new label, did you have a clearer image of exactly what you wanted them to be offering you, for you to sign with them?
Darin: It just has to be a really good deal. That’s so important because now I know exactly what I want in the contract. It’s important to have the best deal possible. For me and for them, so that it works for both parties. But you want a good deal for you. You want to work with people who believe in you and who are good.
scandipop: And as you just mentioned, ‘Viva La Vida’ was your first single in the new deal. It’s a great cover version and it’s gone one to become one of your most successful singles to date, so it all worked out well for you. But it was quite a big risk to cover such a popular song, and one that was so recent too.
Darin: Yes, ha ha, it was.
scandipop: So what was the reasoning behind it, at the time?
Darin: It was really unexpected. I actually didn’t plan to release it as a single. But the Swedish Idol tv show wanted me to sing that song at the series finale. So me and Universal decided to release it the same day. And then it went straight to number one, which was so unexpected. But I was really glad, I just didn’t expect it.
scandipop. Ok. So……Melodifestivalen now.
scandipop: I imagine that you’ve been asked to do it every single year since becoming famous, and that you’ve always said no. So what made you finally say yes to doing it this year?
Darin: It was actually the song. I opened my email, had it there in my inbox, listened to it on my headphones, and was like, wow – I really like the song, I wanna do a demo version of it. So when I got the demo version back and listened, I decided to participate. Because the song was already for Melodifestivalen.
scandipop: And then how was the whole experience for you?
Darin: Wow………ha, I knew it was gonna be a big thing, but ha ha, I didn’t expect it to be like it was. I was really really nervous the first week, before I went through to the final. I woke up every morning and I was so nervous. Because all the newspapers were like, yeah of course he’s gonna make it. But I was like, what if I don’t make it?! But then I went through to the final……and got top 5……so I was happy, but……you know. I was nervous during the whole thing.
scandipop: And do you think that perhaps you were so nervous, that you actually weren’t able to enjoy it in that case?
Darin: I enjoyed it once I’d made it to the final. I was really happy then, ha ha. But that was the most nervous part, before I knew I was in the final.
scandipop: And would you ever do it again, do you think?
Darin: Not right now, but……I’ll never say never. Maybe in ten years, when I’m older. But not right now. I’ve always felt that if I’m gonna do it, I’m only gonna do it once.
scandipop: And would you have liked to have gone to Eurovision as a result of winning? Or did it actually suit you better to just have a hit with ‘You’re Out Of My Life’, launch your album, and not have the pressure of competing in Eurovision for Sweden?
Darin: Ummmm…….it would have been fun of course. I wanted to make it all the way, but at the same time……………I don’t know. Of course I wanted to make it all the way, ha ha.
scandipop: Ok. Moving back to your album now, as well as ‘You’re Out Of My Life’ and ‘Viva La Vida’, there were three more singles released before the album came out. Do you think there’ll be any more singles from it in the future?
Darin: Yeah, I think so.
scandipop: And what would you like to be the next single?
Darin: I don’t know yet, it’s really hard to pick one right now.
scandipop: You probably want ‘I’ll Be Alright’ so that you get all the royalties, ha ha!
Darin: Ha ha, exactly! No, the important thing is that it’s as good as possible, ha ha. But I don’t know. I don’t know which one I’d pick right now.
scandipop: And also, your fans have been wondering if you’re ever gonna do any videos for this album, there have been none so far.
Darin: Yeah I’m actually gonna record a video for ‘Lovekiller’ in four days.
scandipop: Aaah, I see, ok.
Darin: Yep, three or four days.
scandipop: And do you know what’s gonna happen in it?
scandipop: ………………….And can you tell me?!
Darin: No, ha ha! I’m sorry.
scandipop: Ok, ok. Have you got any plans for the album to be launched outside of Sweden?
Darin: Yes, definitely. I’m gonna release it here first of course, but I’m planning on it, yes. Hopefully in most parts of Europe. I think it’ll take a while though, because it’s really important for me to promote it here in Sweden first.
scandipop: And I have to ask about the UK. Obviously your last label Sony gave ‘Breathing Your Love’ a push in the UK at the end of last year…..
Darin: Yeah I heard about that, but I wasn’t really a part of that so I don’t know what happened. I didn’t even know they were gonna release it, ha ha!
scandipop: Ah, ok. But do you reckon Universal will bring you over to the UK this time?
Darin: We’ll see which record label wants to release it there I guess. I’m actually going to the UK in a few weeks to meet some record labels, which I’m really excited about.
scandipop: Ooh, very exciting! And finally, 2010 has been a great year for your career and for your music. So what would you like to achieve looking forward to 2011?
Darin: I think that’s exactly it – international. I would like more people to hear my music, and I’d like to visit more countries too. So that’s my aim.
scandipop: So you’re aiming global for 2011 then?!
Darin: Ha ha, yes!
Absolutely lovely chap!
You can discuss this at our forum here