There is something hypnotic in the voice of Darín, a megastar of Swedish music. He answers my questions with the calm temperament of someone who has reached and exceeded their dreams. Now, after becoming a pop idol of the masses in his youth, he is somewhat of a musical and style icon. Darín faces a new era in his life marked by maturity and the desire for freedom - and he's bringing us all for the ride.
Your life has changed so much, I'd like to look back over it together. Your family is Kurdish and you grew up in Stockholm. How do you remember that early stage of your life?
I had a really great childhood in Stockholm, actually. It was nice. When I think about my childhood, I mostly think of the summers there, in Stockholm, playing outside with my friends and enjoying video games and watching clips on MTV. I’ve always been a performer, even as a kid I used to perform in front of my friends. Even at the beginning of primary school I was the performer, the singer, you know. That’s what I can recall from those days.
Do you remember what role music played during your youth?
I was really into pop music growing up. Everything that was on MTV inspired me so much.
Is there any concrete artist that you could mention?
I can tell you the artists my parents used to play. Artists like Madonna or Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Richard Marx… at home I would often listen to their music.
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Would you say that Darín's undeniable destiny has always been to dedicate himself to music? Did you never think of dedicating yourself to something else?
For me, singing is very natural - even more than speaking. When I’m on stage I don’t like to talk, I prefer to sing. There is no better way for me to express my feelings than through singing.
You were very young when you started in the music industry, did you receive the support of your family?
Yes, they’ve always supported my music, ever since I was a kid. They always liked it, and that’s pretty cool because I know that it’s not always the case if you want to do music. Most parents want their kids to have a safer job with a stable salary but I was very lucky because my parents told me that I should follow my passion.
You rose to fame in Sweden for participating, at the age of 16, in the Swedish Idol, where you became, instantly, one of the favorite contestants of the audience. How do you remember that television phase in your career?
Everything was so different. Before the contest, I was just writing songs for other artists. I hadn’t signed a contract with a record company - and I didn't want to wait for one to come to me, because I already had people interested in my music. But, in the first year when the show was broadcast I got a record deal. I didn’t really know that I was going to become that big, that quick - so it was quite a shock. [It felt like it took just] one day for everyone to know my name and I couldn’t even go outside of my door.
Shortly after, you released your first album, which reached the top sales positions in your country. Now that almost 20 years have passed, what do you feel when you listen to the songs of The Anthem?
Actually, I still think about that album. Thinking back to that period of time in my life, that album was produced by amazing people who currently are producing number one songs in America. I was very lucky to work with such an amazing team. The Anthem is a very 2000 kind of music vibe, but the sound is still good. It is not the [same] art I am [making] today but I feel very proud of that work.
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Shirt and tie GUCCI, dress DOLCE&GABBANA, shoes MARTINELLI.
Are you hard on yourself when you listen to your own music?
Of course, I am. I consider myself a perfectionist when it comes to music, I want everything to sound perfect. For me, the most important thing when creating music is to ask myself if I would listen to this or the other song myself on Spotify, or another streaming platform, if the answer is yes, then I’m happy with it.
Do you pay attention to reviews?
Sometimes I do, but it is not a good thing. A review represents the opinion of only one person. Instead is better to focus on the masses, the millions of people.
Since then you have released seven more albums, all of them to great acclaim of critics and audiences. What do you think your music has that connects so well with the public?
First of all, I think one of my strengths is to song writing and knowing when a song has that special something. I always share my emotions and all my works comes from the heart.
Throughout your career you have explored many musical genres. Your album Exit was clearly pop, later, with Fjärilar i magen and Tvillingen you launched into a much more folk stage. Now, instead, you've opted for a more disco theme with the song Can’t Stay Away. What makes you choose one type of musical genre or another?
I actually don’t plan, it just happens. I wrote the song with Jaime Hartman and whatever happens, happens when we write. This is just what came out from that moment together. We sent the song to the producer, Burns, who also did Rain on me, the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, and he sent the song back and I just loved what he did with the song, it was just what I wanted. It’s a mix of disco, soul, house, and pop all in one. I feel like it represents the artist I am today, and I love that, because artists change but now that song really represents me as a singer. Can’t Stay Away feels so new to me but at the same time, it feels really like me.
Was going into uncharted ground with Can’t Stay Away scary for you?
As long as it feels natural to me, it feels good. Anyway I’m always scared at the moment of releasing something new. I kind of hate that part of the job, when you release things. I always keep telling myself, keep calm, the result is going to be the same anyway, don’t worry - but I can’t help my self, I’m human.
You have still revealed very little of your new album, of which Can’t Stay Away is the first single. Could you tell us what this new work has that we have not seen in your more than twenty years of artistic career?
There is this song that I wrote not so long ago that the style shares the same music world with Can't Stay Away and also there is another song that I really like that is very slow, intimate, it is almost like a naked kind of production, with very soft guitar - it's so emotional. The album is going to be very varied. 
As you mentioned, the production of Can’t Stay Away was done by Jamie Hartman, who works with Kygo or Calvin Harris and BURNS, and produced the Lady Gaga and Arana Grande hit Rain on me. Tell us more about working together.
It was great. Jaime has done so many great things with artists like Celeste and, as you said, with Calvin Harris. BURNS has been involved in Chromatica, Lady Gaga’s last album. I’m just really happy that Jamie wanted to spend all this time working with me on my new project.
Could you mention some artists with whom you would like to collaborate?
Wow, you just put me in the spot! Let me check my playlist. I love pop music so I can tell you that I would love to do a song with Troye Sivan, Dua Lipa. Also Raye, the English artist. Of course I want to work with the big ones in pop, you can guess the names (laughs).
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Shirt FRNKOW, trousers HERMÉS, jewelry MAM.
Just for curiosity, any Spanish ones?
Let me think…. Rosalia is really cool obviously. I don't know if Anitta is Spanish…
She is from Brazil.
She’s cool though. Who are yours?
Mine? Rosalia too but I don’t really listen a lot of Spanish music. Actually my favorite singer is Swedish!
Tove Lo!
You have to do a song with her!
Yes, she’s cool.
By the way, after so many years in the spotlight I real want to ask you if you ever miss the life outside the fame?
Currently I’m living quite a normal life here in Spain.
Do you live in Spain?
Yes, I just moved to Mallorca. I love Spain and my Spanish friends. I’m probably going to learn the language really quickly now. And going back to your question, there are always pros and cons when it comes to being famous because everything comes with a price. I value my private life but I also feel very lucky because I can do what I love the most as a living.
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In 2020, you decided to reveal your sexual orientation to the world. Why did you decide to do at that precise moment?
I felt like if I didn’t do it then, I was never going to do it. There is no right time and I had so much support from my closest friends, my sister, my cousins and my family. I just felt I needed to be honest about who I am. At the same time, I felt that it was nobody’s business but also I wanted to be honest because It’s something I don’t have a problem with. I just wanted to get it out there. I didn’t know what to expect and I was very touched by all the love I received from all over the world.
How has telling the world about your private life influenced you as a singer?
It has. The post where I said it went viral and I did not expect that. It opened a lot of doors, new fans, and audiences. All this love meant so much to me.
Dating being so famous must be tough…
It's not that difficult, actually. Maybe in Sweden because everybody knows me, but I don’t know them. I think it should come naturally. I haven’t dated that much yet, I should start.
Mallorca is the right place for sure!
We’ll see (laughs).
Have you got used to the scrutiny of your public life after all these years?
I still don’t share a lot about my private life, actually. I’m the same person I was before.
What would you say should change in the music industry regarding the treatment of LGTBQI artists?
I definitely feel that things have changed a lot and it's very nice to see it and I feel optimistic for the next generation. Everything is becoming cooler and cooler. We have to look at the positive side.
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Shirt MANS, trousers EMPORIO ARMANI.
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Suit, shirt and tie GUCCI, dress DOLCE&GABBANA, shoes MARTINELLI.
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Hairband and shoes GUCCI, blazer and shirt MAISON MARGIELA (available in YOOX), trousers MANS.
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Shirt and trousers CHRISTIAN SIMMON, dress LOEWE, shoes EMPORIO ARMANI.
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Full look MANS, jewelry MAM.
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Blazer TOM FORD (available in YOOX), shirt FRNKOW, trousers HERMÉS, jewelry MAM.
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Full look MANS, jewelry MAM.