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Norwegian singer Girl in Red didn’t have any gay artists she could look up to growing up, so she became one

WORDS BY TINA SUMMERS

The bedroom-pop singer on her forthcoming debut album and making music in lockdown.

You may already know Norwegian sensation Girl in Red. She’s been profiled by everyone from The New York Times to Vogue, made the BBC Sound of 2021 list, has 1.8 million Instagram and 2.7 million Spotify followers and counting and has generally just been kicking goals since she exploded onto the scene in 2018 with her breakout hit ‘I wanna be your girlfriend‘ (which has over a billion streams!).


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Who is this bedroom-pop icon? We asked Marie Ulven aka Girl in Red a few questions to get to know her — and to find out more about her long-awaited debut album If i could make it go quiet, out at the end of next month.

What can you tell us about your new album If I could make it go quiet?

If I could make it go quiet is the best music I’ve made so far. It feels like a real step up, it feels like Girl in Red 2.0.

What were your main points of inspiration when writing the songs?

My main inspiration was probably anything that had happened in my life up until that point.

Do you have a favourite track from the album?

My favourite track from the album is probably ‘Serotonin’ or ‘Did you come?’. But I love them all!

Is there a track where the thing that inspired it is still a bit “too real”?

‘Hornylovesickmess’.

What do you hope people take from your music?

I hope people take whatever they need from my music… and they get what they want!

How have you handled lockdowns over the past year? Do you think it’s been good or bad for creativity?

I’ve been handling lockdown surprisingly well! And, creativity wise, I made a record but it has also been a little bit harder to write sometimes just because it’s not a very inspiring existence being in lockdown.

Where is your happy place for writing?

Anywhere really! I feel like I can write anywhere, so anywhere I can sit down is good!

And is it different to your happy place for relaxing/holidaying?

I don’t think I relax actually… So I’m actually trying to learn how to relax!

Do you prefer creating alone or do you like to be around people when you’re making music?

I like some parts of being alone, and then I like some parts of being with others. I think it’s important that I get some time at the beginning of the song to understand a song, and then I think it’s okay to bring others in eventually… A select handful of people!

I read that you like to hike – any recommendations in Norway?

I don’t really have any good recommendations yet, as I’m still trying to figure out what I like when it comes to hiking… But I’m heading towards some mountains this summer. I’ll have to get back to you!

The New York Times ran a fabulous headline that said ‘She’s Becoming the Gay Musical Role Model She Never Had’. How do you feel about that headline?

That feels like a good headline… I think it’s true!

Were there any queer icons that inspired you growing up?

Not really when I grew up… it was more like when I was a teenager I found Hayley Kiyoko and other artists that I knew were gay creators but I didn’t really have a lot of people I looked up to.

What would you like to see more or less of in music?

I wanna see more people doing what they wanna do, and making the music they wanna make. More people not giving a shit about genres, just have fun!

What would you like 2021 to hold for you?

Hopefully, my album is gonna come out and people are gonna like it! I’m gonna be making some new music, I’m gonna be hopefully going to some cool places and meet my fans maybe, I would really love that. I just hope 2021 has good vibes!

Girl in Red’s debut album ‘If I could make it go quiet’ is out April 30. You can listen to the album’s first single ‘Serotonin’ here and see more of Girl in Red here.

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