Seven years ago, Marie Ulven Ringheim’s music career kicked off when her grandpa gave her a red nylon guitar for Christmas. “I started writing my own songs immediately,” she says. “I’d wanted to be in a band for such a long time.” Better known as Oslo-based indie-pop singer girl in red, Ringheim’s confessional music is inspired by everyday life – she loves “happy melodies and miserable lyrics”, which has earned her a dedicated following, to whom her music means the world (a quick YouTube search brings up a number of tribute videos and cover versions by fans).
Off the back of a stellar 2019 – which saw the release of her second EP, chapter 2, win the Untouched of the Year award for “i wanna be your girlfriend” at Norway’s P3 Gull ceremony, and amass over 150 million streams – girl in red is working on her debut album in 2020.
Along with a traditional record, the artist is planning on creating bespoke garments that reflect the mood and feel of each song, as well as a self-directed 30-minute accompanying film, and a book featuring fan-created art, which will “take fans on a deeper journey of the album”. Called world in red, the project reflects Ringheim’s ambition to be constantly innovating. “I’m always gravitating towards new ways to express myself,” she concludes, “so it never gets boring.”
What issues or causes are you passionate about and why?
girl in red: LGBTQ+ rights because there are still 68 countries in the world where being queer is illegal, and in many places gay rights are being limited. I can’t imagine a life where I wasn’t able to be myself fully and love whoever I wanted safely – I’m so privileged to not be able to imagine that, and I want that for everyone.
What or who gives you hope and why?
girl in red: The environmental movement that Greta Thunberg has advocated for so greatly, and the movement that Bernie Sanders created was also very inspiring. They were both getting people together to fight for a better future for all of us, which is the solidarity and warmth we need.
“I’m always gravitating towards new ways to express myself, so it never gets boring” – girl in red
How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected you, your work, and/or your community?
girl in red: The pandemic meant I had to postpone a number of US shows and miss out on playing Coachella. Also, being so isolated and self quarantined has worsened my anxieties TBH – I had to go back to my mom cause I wasn’t able to function, hehe. But I’m seeing a lot of cool and interesting creative things come out of a very sad situation, like online festivals, music, and art.
What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?
girl in red: I’m working on my world in red concept this year, which won’t just include a ‘standard’ album format, but will also be released as a book, a short film, and a line of clothing, all inspired by work on my album. I want to work with designer Deaton Chris Anthony to create a physical version of each track, focusing on sustainability in fashion. With the book, I would shine a light on my own mental health and its impact on my music, and would like to score my own film, too.