Sweden-based singer-songwriter Darin Zanyar picks Singapore for music video

Darin Zanyar.
Darin Zanyar.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

The country's beautiful skyline was perfect as a futuristic backdrop for Sweden-based singer-songwriter Darin Zanyar

When Sweden-based singer-songwriter Darin Zanyar was looking for a futuristic city in which to shoot the video for one of his 2013 songs, Nobody Knows, he picked Singapore.

"I wanted to do something that's not done yet. I mean, New York would be too obvious. I wanted something fresh, something that hasn't been in music videos that much," he tells The Straits Times.

Zanyar, who was here recently to promote his music, had not visited Singapore before coming here last June to shoot his video for the song, which hit No. 5 on Spotify's viral chart in Singapore after the music video was released.

After the video crew had shown him pictures of different places, he decided on Singapore because the country's skyline fit his idea of a futuristic city.

In a scene from the music video for Nobody Knows, a song about a man on a quest to find out what love is, he is on the roof of the Swissotel The Stamford hotel.

"When we were filming on the rooftop during sunset, that was the most beautiful skyline I've seen, ever," he recalls.

When you stand there and see the whole city, it feels like the world's at your feet.

SINGER DARIN ZANYAR on how he felt when he was shooting on the rooftop of the Swissotel The Stamford hotel for the Nobody Knows music video

"When you stand there and see the whole city, it feels like the world's at your feet. It feels powerful but, at the same time, it feels like a mix between something very modern and yet still traditional, which is really cool."

He has mixed feelings about Singapore's weather, though.

"I'm not used to the heat. I get really sweaty because it's humid, but it's nice to get warmth when you've been living in a country that's cold and dark.

"Here, it's the opposite, so I'm just enjoying it."

Asked about the strict laws here, he shrugs and says: "When I'm in Singapore, the rules are not something that bother me. I don't usually throw things on the streets when I'm back in Sweden either. I guess cleanliness is what Singapore and Sweden have in common."

Zanyar, who performs as Darin, is a 29-year-old Kurdish singer- songwriter from Sweden who came in second in a Swedish television show called Idol, which is part of the Idol franchise, in 2004.

The following year, he released the first of his seven albums to date, six of which had hit No. 1 on the music charts in Sweden.

Besides being brought up in an environment where his extended family gathered regularly to play music together, he says living in Sweden has helped him in his career because music is a big part of Swedish culture.

"I was in a music school, but I dropped out because after being in Idol, I got signed. It was a big risk for me and I'm lucky it went well," he says.

He recently signed to Sony Music Asia, which says a collaboration is possible between Zanyar and a Singaporean act such as his labelmates The Sam Willows or Singapore Idol 3 winner Sezairi Sezali.

A senior marketing executive from Sony Music Asia says: "Darin has not heard their music yet, but we will be playing some songs for him. Once he has heard their music, maybe we can work something out."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore choice for music video'. Print Edition | Subscribe