The past 12 months has been nothing short of momentous for rising Norwegian singer/songwriter/producer Marie Ulven, better known as girl in red. Hitting hundreds of millions of streams, playing several sold-out worldwide shows and garnering widespread critical acclaim is just the tip of the iceberg of a movement with unlimited potential broadly called World In Red.
You get the first glimpse of her yet-to-be-named debut album in the shape of brand new single “rue,” a song about escapism that shows Marie in a completely different light, one much darker than ever before, below.
Explaining why “rue” came to be, Ulven explains “I wrote this song for my loved ones who are affected by my mental health. I will always try my best to get better for them, and I am forever grateful for their presence in my life.’
“rue” is the start of an exciting new chapter; a track which swirls with ominous depth as Marie’s sound outgrows the confines of the bedroom pop that’s been tagged besides her name before today. Taking cues from escapist fantasies, soundtracked by Robyn’s Body Talk and Lorde’s Melodrama, Marie’s melancholic euphoria turns off all the lights and lets the storm play out in real time as she races through the night searching for catharsis and freedom.
Written like no song she’s ever created before, “rue” began in a Guitar Centre in Times Square where she was trying out acoustic guitars and happened upon its chord progression. Taking further shape at the back of her tour bus, it’s inspired by the parallels she recognised between herself and the character of Rue in HBO’s Euphoria. “She is a drug addict, which I’m not,” says Marie. “But a lot of the stuff she’s felt and is trying to escape from is shit I’m dealing with all the time.” Returning to Norway, she began to construct a far bigger arrangement. The song sees Marie battle with mental health struggles. “That’s some heavy ass work,” says Marie. “It’s not physical work but it feels like it because it’s so hard.”
Striking a chord with listeners thanks to her unfiltered songwriting, girl in red is a zeitgeist-shifting artist who’s openness to discuss both her queerness and mental health has sparked feelings of hope, solidarity and togetherness among her fanbase. “A lot of people don’t know about mental health,” she says. “People lack knowledge and don’t understand that your mental health isn’t necessarily who you are.
You can be depressed but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to go outside or you don’t have feelings. To me it’s not taboo at all to talk about mental health. Everyone has a mental health. I don’t see talking about sex as a taboo thing either.” With these boundaries erased, Marie’s own fearlessness will no doubt continue to inspire others to open up and come to terms with their own challenges and perhaps those of the people around them.
You can find it on all streaming platforms here; https://girlinred.ffm.to/rue-