Introducing Norway’s Girl in Red

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Listen to the music of award-winning Norwegian singer-songwriter ‘girl in red', a queer icon and the next big thing in Norwegian music.

23-year-old Norwegian Marie Ulven Ringheim, better known as ‘girl in red', was the big winner at this year's prestigious Spellemann music awards in Norway.

Girl in red promo shot.

Often referred to as the ‘Norwegian Grammy Awards', the Spellemann prizes honour the best of Norway's musicians from the previous year. Previous winners of the main award include Röyksopp, a-ha, Alexander Rybak, Karpe Diem, Sissel, Alan Walker and Tix.

In addition to the overall Spellemann prize, she took home gongs for songwriter of the year, and release of the year for her debut album ‘if I could make it go quiet.'

Unfortunately girl in red wasn't able to collect the awards in person as she was finishing up a big US tour including a performance at Coachella, a sign of her increasing international popularity. Billie Eilish surprised her with the album of the year award during the festival.

Who is girl in red?

23-year-old Marie Ulven Ringheim is the real person behind the persona. Born in Horten, she taught herself piano, guitar and music production. She began recording music in her bedroom and publishing to Soundcloud.

She released ‘I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend' under the moniker ‘girl in red' and things grew quickly from there. Ulven amassed a big online following in Norway after being featured by NRK, and the song was even included on a list of 2018's best by the New York Times.

“If I could make it go quiet”

Girl in red's first studio album was the cornerstone of a breakthrough year in 2021. It marked a distinct maturation of Ulven's music, receiving rave reviews from critics, peaking at number 2 in Norway and number 7 in the UK.

‘If I Could Make It Go Quiet' featured the singles Midnight Love, Rue and Serotonin. The latter caught the attention of Irish DJ Annie Mac who presented it on BBC Radio 1.

When describing the lyrics, girl in red described the record as an “emotional recap” of the year 2020 in which she explores her own mental health and “the different sides of love.”

Dig deep, can't hide
From the corners of my mind
I'm terrified of what's inside

– Serotonin

The Guardian said of the album: “Marie Ulven’s debut album is a quietly confident declaration of intent that should resonate far beyond her fanbase”, while NME commented that “lo-fi heartache makes way for widescreen ambition.”

A queer icon

Openly gay throughout her career so far, girl in red quickly became an icon on video platform TikTok. Users frequently asked the question “do you listen to girl in red?” as a way of asking if someone was LGBTQ+.

The touching video for the 2020 holiday single “Two Queens in a King Sized Bed” further established her popularity among the queer community.

Your freckled cheeks, our tangled feet
The closer, the better it gets
So let's stay right here
Until forever disappears

– Two Queens in a King Sized Bed

Following this year's Spellemann recognition, the immediate future seems bright for Ulven. Watch this space!

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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