P4 Extra: "Darin about the great love"

Lotta Bromé and P4 Extra had a chat with Darin Zanyar on P4 Extra, a radio program in Sweden.

The last time Darin was in P4 Extra he said that he wanted to come back in January when the album was done and here we are now.
After a successful year with the TV-show Så Mycket Bättre, it's time for today's guest in P4 Extra - Darin, to release his sixth album. The journey to that has been partly hard and it wasn't obvious that there would be one more album this year. According to Darin this is his most personal album so far and it can apparently be a few girls feeling recognized in the lyrics.
... "En apa som liknar dig" by Darin, or what he was called by Magnus Uggla during Så Mycket Bättre - Durin.
Yeah, even Olle said it.

Oh yes he did, he came up with the whole thing. It's great to have you here and now the album is finished.
Thank you, yes, the album is finished. I made it in the end.

Yes, we will talk a bit more about that soon, I just have to ask you something about the "Finland ferries". What do you think about that you can't drink alcohol in your cabin? You will get a few alternatives: "It ruins the cruise-feelin", "it’s nice to sleep without being disturbed", "it doesn’t matter" or "I never go by a Finland ferry"?
Uhm... I never go by a Finland ferry.

Have you done it some time?
I’ve done it once.

How was it?
It wasn't my thing, I don't know... It smelled pretty bad, and... it just wasn't my thing.

So, it's Darin speaking. He got famous in Idol and got his second break-through in Så Mycket Bättre. Today he releases his sixth album with personal lyrics where a few girls can recognize themselves in the lyrics. Welcome, Darin!

What is this thing with these girls recognizing themselves about?
It's about old relationships that I've had, and things I have experienced. It's from different periods of my life.

So there are a few girls sitting there nervous because the album is released today. "What will he sing? And what will he tell this time?"
Yes, maybe...

This is your sixth album. Would you say it's your most personal one?
Definitely. On my last album I wrote a song called "I'll Be Alright", where I felt that I was pretty personal. And it's still my favorite song from that album. So when I wrote these lyrics I felt that I wanted to go on doing it that way, and write more personal. It just felt natural when I wrote those lyrics, and that's why I did it.

Is that a way to get to know you, to listen to your lyrics?
Yes, I think so. There are many who is asking me to explain exactly what the songs are about. But the songs speak very much for themselves also. That's the thing, I describe things very detailed in the lyrics. What I feel and what Ive been through and stuff.

When do you write the best music, when you’re down or when you're happy?
When I'm happy actually. Even if I write something that ain't happy, I write the best songs when I'm happy and having fun in the studio and when I feel comfortable.

Where do you write, mostly? In the studio, or?
Yes, usually I write in the studio. That's where I get the best music feeling and it's important to me that I click with the other songwriters and producers that I work with.

I've heard somewhere that you're celebrating an album release by start working on a new album. Is that true?
This time I haven't done that.

That's good for you, that you can sit back and relax for a while!
Exactly! But I've been longing for the studio lately, but I haven't had time to start with new things. Otherwise I would have done it, I think. (laughs)

When will you have time to be calm and just say ”it’s great that things go so well with Exit”?
I'm that kind of person that cannot just lean back even though I’m #1 on the charts. I just go on and get even more hyped because everything goes well. Then I get even more energy to do even more things. But I was on vacation in Thailand for one week and a half in December.

But at the same time.. You were already done with one album but then you trashed it?
Exactly. Last year I was going to release an album in April, that was finished. And there were some good songs on that album, but it didn’t feel like the right songs for me at that time.

Who paid for that mistake? That must have been expensive!
Luckily we hadn't started mixing and mastering the songs yet, and that's what costs most.

Where did the songs go? Will they always be gone?
Maybe I'll pitch them to others. The style doesn't work out with the things I do today.

What is pitching? Is it that you check if someone else wants to sing them?

Who'd fit to sing them?
I don't know, it's different from song to song. I haven't thought about that yet. But I would absolutely consider pitching them to other artists.

I said that Så Mycket Bättre was like a second break-through for you. Do you agree?
It feels like I have gotten a whole different audience eyes on me that I haven't had before. So, definitely. It's incredibly fun that things turned out the way they did and I was very happy with my interpretations. Although I had no idea it would get as big as it did. I'm incredibly happy that people appreciated what I did in the show.

You had 4 songs in the iTunes top 10 at the same time. And then you sing in Swedish, which you hadn’t done before and everybody loves it. Don’t you hesitate and think that you should trash this album too and make one in Swedish?
No, when I sang in Swedish I didn’t think about it that much. It felt as natural as singing in English. For me it’s more about getting that feeling in the song and the lyrics and become one with that. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Swedish or in English. But I would definitely consider doing something in Swedish in the future.

Do you keep in touch with the other participants?
Yes, I text and call most of them. Not every day because they’re working so much but I hear from them from time to time.

We had a study visit here earlier today, from Köping. And there was this girl who had a greeting for you.
(a recording of a girl talking Kurdish is played and she mentions the name "Maja". Darin laughs)

What did she say?

It was a little different dialect then I’m used to, but I still understood what she said. It was "Hey Darin, how are things with Maja?"

I’d love if you answered that question!
We’re friends.

Are you single today?
I’m single.

I’ve thought about one thing. The football player Fredrik Ljungberg and Robbie Williams has always, just like you, been surrounded by rumors that you would be gay, just because you’re pretty quiet about your personal life. What do you think about that?
Uhm... To me it’s not a problem. Many thinks that being gay is wrong, but I don’t see it that way. For me it doesn’t matter what people think. It’s not a problem for me.

How important is it with integrity for you?
When I started I thought it was pretty hard to do interviews and share things about myself. It was very much in the beginning and it was easy to "turn off", withdraw and don’t share so much. I was afraid that there would be weird headlines so I didn't say that much which was reason for that. Now in these years I feel more calm and handle it in a completely different way. That's probably a part of being older and you land more in yourself and get more comfortable. I'm more used to interviews and all that stuff.

Darin was born in 1987 and grew up with his mother who's teacher of Swedish language for immigrants and his father who's a bus driver. But it was his sister who got him to get up on the stage on "plattan" and sing R Kelly's If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time.

What did your parents think when you broke through as early as you did?
They were a bit worried and wanted to check on everything that happened. Especially the first years. I was 17 when I got my record deal. But that was pretty good, they have helped me so much these years and they have always been there for me. I wouldn't have been where I am today if it wasn't for them.

Did you have time to be a "teenager"? Hang out with friends and party late at night?
That’s what I missed a little when I was 19-20. But then I stayed in Berlin for a while, so there I went out a little.

So you had your teenage times a few years afterwards?
Exactly. Many of my friends traveled and partied a lot. But it was something I had chosen myself and if I hadn't made those choices I wouldn't have been where I am today. I regret nothing.

Is Berlin a good city?
The funniest thing is that when I lived there people asked me "What are you doing in Berlin? Things aren’t that nice there?". At that time there weren't many tourists from here over there. It's a really hip city and it has many cool places. For me it feels like the european New York, and I like New York a lot as well.

You told us very lovingly about your parents in Så Mycket Bättre. They ran away from the Iraq war. How has their story affected you, as a person?
It has made me not taking things for granted that I may had done otherwise. I always have that in mind and I think I have learned to appreciate things more, because of that.

How did they react when they saw the show? Was it as emotional for them as it was for you?
I explained it when I came home from Gotland, but I guess there’s another thing to see it for real. My mum saw it first, because my father was working then. She saw it with her friends, and they had cried more than she did.

And your dad, did he cry too?
I don't know. I just saw that he was very moved when I saw him after that. There was period when you almost stopped singing. What happened? Where did the lust go? I don’t know. I didn't think about it in the beginning. It took a pretty long while, maybe a few months, and I realized I didn't sing in my free time anymore. And that’s something I always had done, my whole life. So then I understood that there was something that wasn’t right and I maybe should take a break, because I felt I didn’t have the happiness when I work with music. At the same time I couldn't imagine something else. It wasn’t the music that I wanted to stop working with, it was to get back the energy. Then I decided to take a break and travel around for a long while.

Then suddenly the urge to sing came back?
Yes, luckily it did.

Was it this song? ("Honey And The Moon" by Joseph Arthur is played in the background)
Exactly, this was one of the first songs that I started singing. (Darin starts to sing along with it a little while)

So his name is Joseph Arthur. He isn't that known in Sweden. Is he one of your favorites?
This song, yes. I haven't listened to that many songs from him but I like this song very much.

Diving certificate, was this at the same time?
I read the book and listened to this song at the same time, in a hammock.

Were you traveling on your own?
No, at that time I was in Brazil with some friends. But later I went to Portugal and saw an old childhood friend there. Then I went to the USA with my cousin and we saw some friends when we flew to Miami from New York.

When you’ve been there, where your urge to sing had gone away, were you sure that it was going to come back?
I wasn’t. I thought that it would help to travel around and go on some new adventures, doing something completely different, and luckily it did. I got my energy back. I’m glad that I did it then.

If you see a shark or a giant turtle the lust usually comes back. There aren’t anything more beautiful.
That's true.

Now let's listen to one of your favorite songs from the album, ”Same Old Song”.
You were angry when you wrote that song?

Yeah, I think you can tell in the lyrics.

How are you when you're angry? You seem to be a quite fair creature.
I'm pretty calm. I never freak out in that way. That's the great thing about the music, that I can express myself there. I did that in the lyrics. It's a bit like therapy too.

On Saturday it's time for Melodifestivalen. Would you like to participate?
No, not right now. When I did I felt that I do it once, and to the fullest.

It was in 2010, you ended up at 4th place with "You're Out Of My Life".
Exactly. But right now it isn't something I'd consider doing actually.

Will you watch the show or don't you care?
I will if I have time.

Who will win?
I don't know who's gonna be on the show. And I must hear the songs too before I guess.

When I see you nowadays it feels like you're very far from the Idol-time.
Well it's probably like what we said earlier, I shut myself in for being afraid that there would be tough questions. I got very much attention out of nowhere. Then I was very young too, I think that any 16-17 year-old would react in the same way. It's been a while since then.

Yes, it has happened a lot since then. Did you think that you would end up where you are today back then? With the "Welcome to my hometown" poster at Arlanda, recordings in LA and trips to New York.
No.. I've wanted to do this as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to sing. But doing it in this way, is incredibly fun. I don't take anything for granted. I just go on and as I said before I don’t lean back although I have a number 1. Even though I have very much success right now you never know how things will be like later. I always fight and work hard.

Do you have a hobby? Apart from the diving.
Apart from the diving and the music... Food. I love food. Good food can make me very happy.

Are you good at cooking too?
Yes actually I am. I never do as it says in the recipe though, I just go on and try things and goes by feeling.

Then there will be a great night on Saturday if you watch Melodifestivalen and eat before.

Thank you for coming to P4 Extra, Darin.
Thank you, I'm glad I got to be here.

Live interview in Swedish here. Translated by Nathalie Pentler.