girl in red is the solo project for Norweigan singer/songwriter Marie Ulven. One of her first hits was the touching “we fell in love in october”, a beautiful pop song capturing the first flushes of romance, and has some 645 million spotify streams to its name. Recently girl in red released a sequel to the story, the equally heart-felt “October Passed Me By”.
Marie was in Australia recently for the Laneway Festival series of shows. I caught up with Marie before her sideshow in Sydney at the Metro Theatre, to chat about the new song, dealing with requests for ‘Shoeys‘ and much more.
Hi Marie, loved your show at Laneway. It went off!
Thanks – it was a good one. It was much like a workout.
You don’t need to go to the gym when you are doing that kind of show.
I think I should go to the gym so that the shows are less like a workout. I’m more prepared. I’m planning for that day.
I was speaking to the other photographers, and seeing what they have been posting this morning, and yours was amongst the first that were going up
Really – damn! I need to see these photos. Sometimes I see these people taking photos in the first couple of songs, then I think who are these guys? Where are they coming from?
We’re only there for the first 3 songs then they kick us out (sadly!). You’ve enjoyed the Laneway shows so far?
Yeah – that was the second one. We have 3 more this week – that’s going to be cool. We can’t wait.
Have you seen any other acts ?
We’ve been so tired after playing. Yesterday we met the HAIM girls at the airport lounge. I said I’ll see you tonight and watch your show, and then afterwards my show at 8pm I was so tired, and I was telling my guys we need to see Phoebe, we need to see the HAIM show, but I was just one of those douche-bags that pulled up and left.
It’s pretty hot here at the moment. You’ve come from Northern hemisphere winter to our summer….
It’s a little bit of a jump, yeah.
You’ve picked up on some of the weird shit that goes on down here. Shoeys – for example.
Yeah – I learnt the hard way. My right shoe that I drank from on the Brisbane show, smells like shit now. So I think I need to get some new shoes, or maybe just clean them.
I wouldn’t be doing that. Do what you did yesterday, and get someone else to do it for you.
Yeah – I’m not drinking from a shoe again. I decided I’m not doing that. And then I had a realised the power of being on stage. I can maybe get someone else to do it.
My partner was impressed you delegated.
Yeah – I thought it was a total boss lady moment. You know, I thought I really handled this.
Congrats on the song – “October Passed me By” – The video was beautiful too.
Thanks. We made 2 videos – one a longer one with some acting in there – there are 2 really famous actors in there. And then we made a shorter one, a music video.
There’s going to be a 3rd one. The first one was “we fell in love in October” when I was 17 or 18. Then many many years had passed, and it’s like we’re adults. Then in the last one, it’s going to be really old!.
The new song is great. It explores the conundrum of how do you get past your first love.
I think that’s actually quite hard. When you fall in love when you are young, it’s just so intense, and then you are going to compare everyone you meet to that. I think it’s a very normal phenomenon to compare everyone to your first love.
But I have a girlfriend now, and I’m not comparing so I think that’s a good thing.
It’s not always easy – people look back with rose-coloured glasses don’t they?
And they don’t remember why it ended – something wasn’t working hey!
So – this is your second time in Australia…
Yep – it was 2019 – did a couple of shows. Was sick for a week pretty much, cause I’d just done my first US headline tour. Then we flew from LA to Australia the day after that tour finished. It was just too much for me. So I was sick for a while then. So this visit has been much better. I think we are here for a couple of weeks.
I’ll see the Opera House again. I saw it last time, but I’ve got to see it again right.
For sure – maybe get on the harbour?
And maybe Bondi Beach – I just saw a video of Bondi Beach about a student from Tokyo who drowned. He was dead, and then the lifesavers, saved him. And it turned out he had a heart attack in the water, so he didn’t actually drown. I love watching those videos!
Plenty of touring this year?
Yeah – I had to cancel some shows last year, due to vocal nodules. So I had to shut the fuck up for three months which was hard. I was talking through google translate saying ‘I love you’ to my girlfriend.
So I’m going to do those shows, then I’m doing support for Taylor Swift in June. That will be 8 shows for her. Then hopefully put out a record at some point. I just need to get some stuff going.
After this I’m going to get straight up and produce some beats!
Yeah – I’ve got to make some beats!
I won’t take too much of your time then!
Don’t worry – it’s very typical of me to say I can’t make a song is because I’ve got to do another interview. That’s the reason. No, it’s not that. I can’t blame other people. It’s fully me. It’s fully me.
Taylor Swift hey – it’s going to be fun
It is – I can’t wait to meet her. I really hope I meet her.
I think you’ll meet her
You think so? I’m going to cry then. I get nervous, really nervous.
I’m sure she’s lovely
I think so too. Everyone says so. I don’t think you every get to be that big a star, and go that far in your career if you’re not nice. I think being nice really gets you a long way. After each show we’ve done in Australia I’m sending a message to everyone in the crew chat a message saying what a great job we did. I think it’s important to show your gratitude, even though the artist isn’t always with the crew.
The show wouldn’t happen without the crew.
It’s easy to forget that shit.
I want to make sure people know that I am grateful
Have you been watching the Grammys today?
No – I didn’t even know they were on. Probably ‘cause I wasn’t nominated, though to be fair I didn’t have anything to be nominated for/with.
In Norway we have a thing called the Norweigan Grammy’s, because we just copy American pop culture, but it’s not as big as it used to be. I think these huge institutional things are not as big as they used to be because of social media. But I’d very much like to win a Grammy when I get older, so I’m not going to say they don’t matter. I just wish I had seen more about it, that’s my final answer!
That’s gas – I’m going to be shooting tonight
Cool – 1st 3 songs hey!
It’ll be the 1st 3 songs you heard yesterday. Keeping it consistent. We’re working on that setlist.
You can mix them up – I’m across them all
I’m not going to mix it up. We’re going to keep it that way for a while. Then we’ll mix it up with some new songs. But we’re really smashing it right now I think.
I think me and my band have really good chemistry. Somtimes you look at a band and you’ll think they are hired musiciians. But we all take ownership of our contributions. I feel like we are a great band.
You are a great band
I’ll see you tonight. Thanks for your time!
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Photo credit: Bruce Baker