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Girl In Red: ‘I didn’t really come out at a specific moment – I was just living as a queer person’

22-year-old Marie Ulven, aka girl in red, is one of 2021's hottest musical properties. We get to know the Norwegian singer-songwriter a little better...

By Will Stroude

Words: Thomas Stichbury

This article first appeared in Attitude issue 322, March 2021

A queer icon in the making, girl in red – a nod to the first person who broke her heart – has graced all the buzzy ‘Ones to Watch’ lists for 2021.

The Norwegian singer-songwriter and, indeed, lower-case letter lover, aka Marie Ulven, specialising in cooking up low-fi tunes simmering with anxiety, tenderness and truth.

The 22-year-old’s debut album If I Could Make It Go Quiet is set to be released on 30 April. Here, she tells Attitude about her musical influences and why coming to terms with her queer identity was smooth sailing…

Who are your biggest influences?

I have a pop and indie background, so as of the music that’s out right now, it’s very Taylor Swift, and [then also] The Smiths. I’m just very influenced by cool sounds.

What is your mission statement?

I wanna be the best musician I can possibly be and make lots of great tunes.

When did you first identify as LGBTQ+?

I started identifying as queer when I was 16ish. My coming-out experience was really smooth and simple — in some ways I didn’t really come out at a specific moment, I was just openly living as a queer person.

Can you single out a moment when you really felt at home in the LGBTQ+ community?

My first Pride in 2016. [That memory] always makes me feel so happy.

Is there a lyric you are particularly proud of?

“I can’t be your midnight love/ When your silver is my gold”, from my song ‘midnight love’. I think it’s the perfect balance between something metaphoric and a very direct message.

What is the most personal or difficult thing you’ve written about?

‘Rue’ is a very personal song about how I feel like a burden to my close ones, and how I will never stop trying to work on my mental health.

What song by another artist means the most to you?

‘California’ by Fog Lake. It reminds me of someone that means a lot to me and I feel like I’m sitting on a train through the countryside when I hear it.

What song do you listen to when you need to turn your frown upside-down?

‘Believe’ by Cher.

What might it surprise people to know about you?

I’m a fingerboard pro!

What question do you hate being asked?

Probably how I got my artist name. I’ve been asked the same question for two years!

If I Could Make It Go Quiet is set to be released on 30 April.