Darin Zanyar

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Darin in 2020.
Darin in 2020.
Background information
Birth nameDarin Zanyar
Born (1987-06-02) 2 June 1987 (age 33)
Stockholm, Sweden
GenresPop, R&B
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • Guitar
  • Piano
Years active2004–present
LabelsDex Music (Sweden),
Sony Music, EMI Germany, Universal Music
Associated actsKat DeLuna Eagle Eye Cherry Lil Jon

Darin Zanyar (born 2 June 1987), known simply as Darin, is a Swedish singer-songwriter from Stockholm. He is one of the country's best-selling artists, with seven number one albums.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Darin was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Kurdish parents Shwan and Ashti, who are from Iraqi Kurdistan.[2] He grew up in a musical family and began singing at an early age, citing Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston as some of his biggest inspirations. He started writing and recording songs at the age of 14 after being discovered by a music producer in school after a performance.

2004–2005: Breakthrough in Idol, "The Anthem" and "Darin"[edit]

Darin became nationally famous in 2004 when he participated in the first season of the Swedish "Idol" at the age of 16. He quickly became one of the favorite contestants in the show and was the only one to receive 78% of the public votes at the semi-final. He ended up as the runner-up and was signed by SonyBMG the day after the finale. In February 2005 his debut album The Anthem was released. The album enjoyed much success entering the Swedish Album Charts at number 1 and eventually being certified gold by the IFPI. His first single "Money for Nothing" was written by Robyn and went straight to No. 1 on both the single chart and the radio chart. In 2005 Darin was the most exposed person in the media in the country.[3] They often wrote about his hysterical fans and referred to him as "The perfect popstar".

Later the same year Darin released his second self-titled album Darin which became Darin's second chart topping album[4] and also the first to be released outside of Sweden, being released in Finland. His second album had greater success than The Anthem, being certified platinum by the IFPI. Darin worked with record producer RedOne while creating the album, subsequently releasing the platinum selling "Step Up", which spent a total of 26 weeks on Sverigetopplistan and was also the first single to be released in Finland. Furthermore, the album included the singles "Who's That Girl" and "Want Ya!".

2006: NRJ Awards and Break the News[edit]

Step Up to the Party Tour 2006

In 2006, Darin won a Swedish Grammis for song of the year, "Rockbjörnen" for best male artist, 2 European NRJ Awards, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and also went out on his own first big tour called Step Up to the Party Tour. Later the same year, he released his first DVD, Tour Videos Interview, which was mainly a concert DVD from the tour. In November 2006, Darin released his third album Break the News. The album went straight to number 1 on the Swedish Album Charts[5] and was certified gold the first day. The album included the singles "Perfect", "Everything But the Girl", "Desire" and "Insanity", two of which were digital-only releases. On this album Darin worked with some of the biggest producers in the world, Max Martin, for instance.

2007–2009: Europe and Flashback[edit]

Following his success in Sweden, Darin signed a new recording contract with EMI Germany to release singles in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In August 2007, Darin's single "Insanity" was released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and was a hit in big parts of Europe. The same year, English singer Leona Lewis did a cover of Darins song "Homeless" on her debut album. Covers of his songs were also made by artists and bands in other countries like Germany, Japan, Israel and Italy.

Darin's "Breathing Your Love" singles in space with Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang in 2009.

In 2008, Darin started to work on his fourth studio album, Flashback, together with RedOne. The album was released in December 2008 and charted at number 10 in Sweden, making it Darin's first album not to reach number one in the country. The album included the number one platinum selling single "Breathing Your Love", a duet with American singer Kat DeLuna, "Runaway" and "What If", a song which was released in collaboration with "Friends", a Swedish anti-bullying charity. In October 2009, Darin performed a cover of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" on Idol. The song was not meant to be released as a single at first, but after it was released as such, it reached the number one position on both the Swedish singles chart and radio chart, which made it more successful than Coldplay's original in Sweden.[6]

2010: Melodifestivalen and Lovekiller[edit]

In November 2009, it was announced that Darin would be participating in Melodifestivalen,[7][8] the Swedish show which determines the country's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Darin entered with the mid-tempo ballad "You're Out of My Life", which was written by Tony Nilsson and Henrik Janson.[9] Darin performed 7th in Heat 3 of the contest and eventually progressed to the final.[10] Darin took part in the Melodifestivalen final at Globe Arena in Stockholm. He ended up in 4th place with a total of 117 points receiving two sets of 12 points from the Greek and Russian juries.

In June 2010, Universal Music Sweden announced that on 18 August 2010 Darin would soon be releasing his single "Lovekiller" and an as yet untitled fifth studio album, his first with Universal Music and would feature the two previous singles "Viva la Vida" and "You're Out of My Life".[11] Darin began a 17 date Summer Tour in Sweden in June 2010 starting in Karlshamn.[12] The album Lovekiller was released in August 2010. The album included the singles Viva la Vida, You're Out of My Life, "Can't Stop Love", "Microphone" and "Lovekiller". The album was certified gold in the first week of its release and peaked at number one on the Swedish album chart.[13]

Darin with producer Jim Beanz working on his album EXIT.

2012: Så mycket bättre and Chart record[edit]

In February 2012 Darin released the single "Nobody Knows", which was the first single from his (then) upcoming album Exit. In October 2012 Swedish television network TV4 aired the first episode of the third season of Så mycket bättre featuring Darin, a reality TV show in which each artist attempts to do their own version of another artists well-known songs, with each person getting an episode featuring a selection of their songs being performed by the other musicians. Darin performed six songs in the show: "Stockholm", "En Apa Som Liknar Dig", "I Can't Get You Off My Mind", "Astrologen", "Magdalena" and "Seven Days a Week". He broke the Swedish singles chart record and had 6 top 10 songs on iTunes at the same time. In November 2012 during an interview for the Swedish NRJ Radio channel, Darin stated that his next album would hopefully get released at the end of January 2013. It would contain 11–12 songs and it would be a mixture of pop, RnB and club music. On 21 November 2012 Sony Music Sweden released a collection of Darin's songs from his four albums released by Sony. Det bästa av (The Best Of) features 16 tracks, some singles and some album tracks.

2013: Exit[edit]

Darin on tour in Stockholm in 2013.

In early 2013, Darin released his new album Exit which went straight to number one on the Swedish album chart and became his fifth number one album. Darin spent one to two months in the US working with worldwide known producers and songwriters such as Jim Beanz, The Jackie Boyz, Victoria "Lady V" Horn to make the album. Exit included the songs "Nobody Knows", "Playing With Fire", "Check You Out" and "Before I Pass Out", with the latter containing features from rapper Lil Jon.

In 2013 a new single entitled "So Yours" was released in Europe due to a performance as the interval act during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö that was seen by approximately 108 million viewers worldwide. The theme of the interval act was "Swedish Pop Voices". In March 2013 Darin announced via Twitter that he was in Los Angeles to record a music video for the international single.

During the fall, Darin travelled to the Philippines to film the documentary En resa för livet together with SOS Children's Villages and three other artists, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Sophie Zelmani and Uno Svenningsson to bring attention to the poverty in the country and also try to gain and collect as many sponsors as possible for the children in the children's villages. Darin and Eagle-Eye Cherry also wrote and sang the lead song "Dream Away" for the documentary that was aired on TV4. All the revenues went to SOS Children's Villages.

2014–2016: Fjärilar i Magen and Dex Music[edit]

In 2014, the Swedish TV-show Idol where Darin had his breakthrough ten years earlier, celebrated him by giving one of the finales a Darin theme, where the contestants got to sing his songs picked by himself.

During the fall he also started writing new songs in Swedish for the first time. He got inspired by recording a tribute song to the late Ted Gärdestad in the Atlantis-studio in Stockholm, where ABBA also recorded most of their albums and he wanted to record the same way they did. In March 2015 Darin released his first single "Ta mig tillbaka" from his (then) upcoming Swedish album Fjärilar i magen. It was the first time he recorded a song with only acoustic instruments, which gave the production a different sound to what he had before. The lyrics was an autobiographical story about his childhood and growing up in the 1990s. The single went 4x platinum and was the most streamed song in Swedish that year.

The album Fjärilar i magen was released in September 2015 by Darin's own record company Dex Music and became his sixth number one album in Sweden. In 2015, Darin was signed by Sony Music for all the Asian countries, including the Middle East for his previous English album Exit.

2017–present: Tvillingen and new singles[edit]

Darin continued to make music in Swedish and released his eighth studio album Tvillingen, on 24 November 2017. The album was very successful in Sweden, peaking at number one on the Swedish Albums Chart. Two singles on the album were particularly successful: "Tvillingen" and" "Ja må du leva", both sold 2x platinum in Sweden. [14] Darin has since then released a handful of singles: "Astronaut", "Identitetslös", "Hög", "Finns inga ord" and "En säng av rosor", with the last being his latest single, it was released on 7 February 2020.[15][16] The single peaked at number 7 on the Swedish singles chart and was certified platinum in week 18 of 2020.[17][18] Darin has described his song "Identitetslös" as his most personal song yet and has mentioned that the song is about being lost and not knowing where you belong. He further stated that there had always been that "inner conflict" in him, referring to his history being an immigrant in Sweden.[19]

Other collaborations[edit]

  • As well as being a successful performer, Darin is also an established songwriter. In 2009, "Love Struck", a song co-written by Darin and David Jassy, became the first official single for the American boyband V Factory.
  • In 2007, Leona Lewis covered Darin's ballad "Homeless" for her debut album Spirit.[20]
  • In 2009, Darin had performed the song Se på mej at Melodifestivalen 2009 as an interval act.
  • In June 2010 Darin was asked by Swedish broadcaster SVT to record a specially written song "Can't Stop Love" for the Royal Wedding of Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling.
  • In 2010, the song "Foolish" originally recorded for the album Lovekiller and written by Darin with Tony Nilson was recorded by Shayne Ward for his album Obsession.[21]
  • Darin wrote the Idol 2011 winner song All This Way for eventual winner Amanda Fondell.
  • Darin wrote a song called "Turn It Up", originally on the track list for Lovekiller, but gave it to the British girl group, A Girl Called Alice.
  • Darin co-wrote the song "Under The Radar" with Tony Nilsson and Teddy Sky. It was the first single for the artist Qpid.[22]
  • In October 2011, it was announced that Darin was involved in writing a new song for Swedish singer Eddie Razaz, titled "Let Me In".[23]

Personal life[edit]

In early August 2020, Darin came out as gay via a post on Instagram.[24]




Darin has received several awards throughout his career, including:

  • A Grammis in 2006, Rockbjörn (Rock bear award)
  • Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award
  • The Voice 06 Award in Sweden
  • NRJ Award for Best Nordic song in Finland
  • Kurd of the Year award in 2005
  • QX Artist of the year 2013


  1. ^ "Darin om fortkörningen, tjejer, partyliv & nya skivan – och tiden efter Idol | Nöjesbladet | Aftonbladet". Aftonbladet.se. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Darin: Mina föräldrar flydde från Saddam". Expressen. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Dagens gäst – Darin Zanyar – P4 Extra | Sveriges Radio". sverigesradio.se. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  4. ^ Sophomore Success Archived 2 December 2012 at WebCite "swedishcharts". Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  5. ^ Break The Top Of The Charts Archived 30 January 2012[Date mismatch] at the Wayback Machine "swedishcharts". Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  6. ^ Viva la Vida Goes Gold Archived 24 July 2011[Date mismatch] at the Wayback Machine "Darin Official". Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  7. ^ Darin To Enter Melodifestivelan Archived 7 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine "ScandiPop". Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  8. ^ Darin The First Jokern "Oikotimes". Retrieved 2 January 2010. Archived 11 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Darin's The First Wild Card Archived 8 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine "SVT". Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  10. ^ Globen Awaits Darin Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine "www.eurovision.tv". Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  11. ^ Darin To Release New Album. universalmusic.se. Retrieved 9 June 2010. Archived 29 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Darin Sommarturné Archived 24 July 2011[Date mismatch] at the Wayback Machine. www.darin.nu. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  13. ^ "Veckolista Album, vecka 35, 2010". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Darin släpper nytt album och åker på vårturné". Mynewsdesk. 16 October 2017. Archived from the original on 27 February 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Darin framför "En säng av rosor"". TV4 (Sweden) (in Swedish). 15 February 2020. Archived from the original on 28 February 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  16. ^ Eliasson, Fredrik (7 February 2020). "Darin om nya låten: "Starka känslor"". Sveriges radio (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 28 February 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Veckolista Singlar, vecka 16". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Veckolista Singlar, vecka 18" (Scroll down to number eight on the chart). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  19. ^ Oxblod, Aino (22 November 2018). "Darins ärliga ord om sin bakgrund". Expressen (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  20. ^ Leona Lewis Covers Darin Track Archived 8 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine "Leona Lewis Site". Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  21. ^ Darin Zanyar Blog: Shayne Ward tar hjälp av svenskar Archived 14 August 2011[Date mismatch] at the Wayback Machine (in Swedish)
  22. ^ "Swedish Stereo: Qpid – Under The Radar". Swedishstereo.blogspot.com. 1 July 2011. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  23. ^ Автор: Damian (2 October 2011). "Swedish Stereo: Eddie Razaz – You". Swedishstereo.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  24. ^ "Darin: Jag är stolt över att vara homosexuell". Expressen. Retrieved 3 August 2020.

External links[edit]