Darin Zanyar

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Darin in 2017
Background information
Birth nameDarin Zanyar
Born (1987-06-02) 2 June 1987 (age 32)
Stockholm, Sweden
GenresPop, R&B
  • 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), better known simply as Darin, is a Swedish singer and songwriter from Stockholm. He is one of Sweden's best-selling artists, with seven number one music albums.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Darin was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Kurdish parents Shwan and Ashti, who are from Iraq.[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, ”The Anthem”, ”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. This second album had greater success than The Anthem, being certified platinum by the IFPI. It was a different sound to Darin's debut album, he worked more with RedOne on this album, writing together the platinum selling "Step Up", this single, when released in September 2005 spent a total of 26 weeks on Sverigetopplistan, the Swedish Singles Chart and was also the first single to be released in Finland. The album also included the singles "Who's That Girl" and "Want Ya!" which was the most played music video on MTV Nordics in 2006.

2006: NRJ Awards, 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. This 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 including Max Martin.

2007–2009: Europe, 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 big 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 work on his fourth album Flashback, working again with RedOne. The album was released in December 2008 and charted at number 10 in Sweden, Darin's first album not to reach number 1 in the country. The album included the number 1 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 it reached the number one position on both the singles chart and the radio chart, which made it more successful than Coldplay’s original in Sweden.[6]

2010: Melodifestivalen, 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" 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 the first week and was No. 1 on the Swedish album chart.

Darin with producer Jim Beanz working on his album EXIT.

2012: Så mycket bättre, Chart record[edit]

In February 2012 Darin released his first single "Nobody Knows" which was the first single from his 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 all 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 and kept dominating that and many other chart lists for a long time.

In November 2012 during an interview for the Swedish NRJ Radio channel, Darin stated that the 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 4 albums released by Sony. Det bästa av (The Best Of) features 16 tracks, some singles and some albums tracks.

2013: Exit[edit]

Darin on tour in Stockholm in 2013.

In the beginning of 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. For this 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. The album included "Nobody Knows", "Playing With Fire", "Check You Out" and "Before I Pass Out" which was featured by 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 in Sweden. All the revenues went to SOS Children's Villages.

2014–present: Fjärilar i Magen, 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 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 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 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. Both albums were with Darin touring in the Nordic countries, on sold out concerts.

Other information[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.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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.[15]
  • In October 2011, it was announced that Darin is involved in writing a new song for Swedish artist Eddie Razaz, titled "Let Me In".[16]




Darin has won 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. 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  2. ^ Expressen: Darin: Mina föräldrar flydde från Saddam (in Swedish)
  3. ^ "Dagens gäst - Darin Zanyar - P4 Extra | Sveriges Radio". sverigesradio.se. Retrieved 2016-11-09.
  4. ^ Sophomore Success "swedishcharts". Retrieved January 2nd 2010.
  5. ^ Break The Top Of The Charts "swedishcharts". Retrieved January 2nd 2010.
  6. ^ Viva la Vida Goes Gold "Darin Official". Retrieved December 18th 2009.
  7. ^ Darin To Enter Melodifestivelan "ScandiPop". Retrieved November 3rd 2009.
  8. ^ Darin The First Jokern "Oikotimes". Retrieved January 2nd 2010. Archived February 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Darin's The First Wild Card Archived 2009-11-08 at the Wayback Machine "SVT". Retrieved November 3rd 2009.
  10. ^ Globen Awaits Darin "www.eurovision.tv". Retrieved 2010-02-27.
  11. ^ Darin To Release New Album. universalmusic.se. Retrieved June 9, 2010. Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Darin Sommarturné. www.darin.nu. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
  13. ^ Leona Lewis Covers Darin Track Archived 2009-11-08 at the Wayback Machine "Leona Lewis Site". Retrieved January 2nd 2010.
  14. ^ Darin Zanyar Blog: Shayne Ward tar hjälp av svenskar (in Swedish)
  15. ^ "Swedish Stereo: Qpid – Under The Radar". Swedishstereo.blogspot.com. 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  16. ^ Автор: Damian (2011-10-20). "Swedish Stereo: Eddie Razaz – You". Swedishstereo.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.

External links[edit]