Marie Ulven – better known as ‘Girl In Red’ – is the latest in a long line of Scandinavian pop royalty, with Ulven’s quirky pop act refined from bedroom melodies to what’s expected to be a really hot property when our live music scene reopens.
Debut album ‘If I Could Make It Go Quiet’ is one of those beautiful pieces of work that’s relatable because it’s so close to her heart, evolved almost literally from diary-like thoughts into emotive melodies.
“What’s happening in my life is pretty essentially to my song writing,” Ulven explains. “I’m really nervous and really excited, I can’t wait anymore. It’s going to be so cool to let people hear the new music.”
There must be tough aspects to what Ulven does, too, though. She’s charmingly direct about herself, from her sexuality (she’s into girls) to her experiences with mental health, which it’s clear from her songs can be quite a tough road for her. Writing a debut album in lockdown, though, has clearly been a beacon of hope, and the result is surprisingly boisterous next to her previously more mellow output, like a melodic scream into the ether.
“Making a full length record was definitely harder than I expected,” she says. “It took much more time than I thought it would, and it’s been a really intense experience. You’ve got to make the music, produce all the music, mix all the music and master all the music and go through so many layers of refining and making everything sound so perfect, so it was definitely a different process.”
“Working with FINNEAS on Serotonin was very interesting, we did it all over zoom and it was really cool to have one of my favourite producers work along with me on that. I feel like the finished product is some of the coolest I’ve ever made.”
“All the tracks stand out to me, but I really really enjoy listening to ‘Body and Mind’ as the production is so cool, and it’s just a very personal track for me on coming to terms with accepting I’m a human, and dealing with self hatred and wanting to love myself.”
“Obviously I can’t have a traditional roll out with the album and the tour so I guess it’s heavily affected in terms of promotion, but my vinyl is going to be out, and it’s gonna be on physical media, so that’s important. It’s kinda the practical parts that play in hand with getting things out there.”
Returning to the stage, like for a lot of artists, will be a big thing for Ulven, especially as she’ll be returning to far bigger stages than the ones she left behind, with shows at spots like Reading Festival and the Olympia Theatre (already close to sell out at the time of writing, for May 2022) on the horizon.
“I think it’s going to be a really big thing for me,” she says of that live return. “I also think it’s going to be a tough experience physically. I mean I’ve not been playing shows for two years, so what does that do to your body? It probably puts you out of shape for sure!”
Everything, right now, is shaped towards the future, and Girl In Red’s looks to be a big one, one that’s likely to take her into the realm of true fame. Her hopes, though, remain more modest. “I hope to have new opportunities and be able to continue making new music,” she says. I’m trying to pursue this career and just live off stuff that I love.”
‘If I Could Make It Go Quiet’ is out now.
Photo – Jonathan Kise