She came into this world at Solna, Stockholms Län, Sweden as Zara Maria Larsson. Zara nearly didn't survive her birth as her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.
She was raised just outside Stockholm by her father, a military man and her mother, a nurse. Larsson told The Line Of Best Fit
she has learnt "everything" from her parents. She added: "But most importantly to speak up for myself! They taught me to question everything, and never let anybody walk over me."
Larsson knew from an early age that she wanted to be a singer. She told NME: "I've always just wanted people to look at me."
Larsson landed on Sweden's radar after winning the 2008 season of the talent show Talang
, when she was only 10 years old. Click here
to view the audition footage of little Zara belting out Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All."
A version of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On
" was released as Larsson's debut single, peaking at #7 in Sweden.
Despite her early success, Larsson was forced to return to school and wait until she was 15 before she could pursue a music career. "I was too young to be signed, so I went back to everything -- back to school and normalcy and at 10, I just thought, 'Oh my God, my career is over!'' she laughed to Billboard magazine. "I was devastated, but looking back it all makes sense. Life is a chain of events and maybe it helped people recognize me later on."
Larsson signed in 2012 with TEN Music Group, a Swedish label who is also home to such acts as Icona Pop and Erik Hassle. Her comeback single "Uncover
" spent three weeks at #1 in her home country and also topped the singles chart in Norway. It ultimately landed her a "Song of The Year" win at the Grammis (Sweden's Grammys). That success led to a three year contract with Epic Records.
In 2015, Larsson released the singles "Lush Life
" and "Never Forget You
". Those two songs broke her into the global pop scene including the United States.
She has a younger sister, Hanna, who is also a singer and a member of the band Hanna & Andrea. They are also signed to the TEN Music Group.
Zara Larsson struggles with sleep paralysis, a temporary inability to move or speak that occurs when waking or falling asleep. The Swedish singer explained how terrifying the condition can be during an interview with the BBC.
"Oh my God, it's scary!" she shrieked. "Basically, you wake up and you literally cannot move. Your brain is active, but your body is not yet awake. It's weird. It lasts half a minute maybe - but it kind of feels like you're trapped there for half an hour. I get it a lot when I'm stressed out, or when I have a lot of things going on."