"Tongue in cheek: I’m all about that”: on the eve of her sophomore album, meet girl in red.

“I’m back”, girl in red declares, readying herself for the release of her sophomore album, aptly titled I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! a project that’s been a long time coming for the 25-year-old singer-songwriter. Hailing from Horten, a small city in Norway, Marie Ulven Ringheim found herself making music in her bedroom back in the 2010s, adopting the moniker girl in red with the cult single ‘i wanna be your girlfriend’ on SoundCloud in 2016. Now debuting her major-label album, it’s not hard to be impressed by her meteoric rise so far, but it’s girl in red’s knowledge, attitude, work ethic and – maybe more than anything – quick-witted sense of humour which impress the most.


From being emmeshed in the hipster-y realms of Tumblr back then, to becoming a queer-coding icon thanks to TikTok and it’s “Do you listen to girl in red?” trend (IYKYK), Marie has evidently become an integral part of both making and shaping culture. And I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! is no different, blending anthemic pop and arena-filling rock with her raw songwriting abilities, it’s an album which is sure to define 2024 and beyond.


“I want this album to bring whatever people need from it, I want people to take away whatever they want to take away” girl in red confides, “Mostly, I hope people can feel there’s some development, that they think it sounds confident and crisp and developed”. As co-producer of the project, it’s no wonder, and having worked with Matias Tellez for a second time, the artist hopes that her listeners agree that “it feels like a natural development from where I started”, but brought into a new, polished and perfected era.

Looking back at her eras so far, girl in red feels the project is a culmination of everything that she’s been surrounded by and created. “I think my biggest evolution so far is my taste, in art and music and fashion. My taste and my intuition are the biggest things that have developed. Subjectively, I think my taste has improved: where I am right now and the things that I’m in to”.


She explains, “I travel the world with my best friend Isaac, he’s with me all the time so we’ve just been spending more and more time together over the past few years, we’re just becoming increasingly more similar which I think is interesting. When you’re surrounded by similar environments and exposed to similar things you gradually become a product of that environment. You might think these are all your own actions and your own thoughts, but it’s like girl, we’re all just products of the environments we’re in.”


It’s clear that the places she seeks inspiration to create music are not typical to a 20-something singer: from brutalist architecture to Artemide lamps, girl in red lets the muse strike wherever it may find her, in all these different environments as she travels the globe. “I think I’ve been inspired by lots of different things in the world. Other people’s music of course, but I feel like I see so much in the world right now, architecture and design and interiors inspire me. Old art and newer contemporary art. I feel like I see so much more of the world now. I could see a concrete brutalist building six years ago and think it’s ugly, but now I think it’s sick. It’s like as you discover new aesthetics and new parts of culture, you start to pay more attention.”


Of course, as well as these utterly unique cultural influences, a major inspiration for Marie has always been Taylor Swift: “In my subconsciousness I think her music has always stayed with me, her melodies and the way she writes has always stayed with me”. Now a reciprocal fan – “she sent me a screenshot of ‘serotonin’ being her most listened to song of 2021 or something?!” – girl in red talked through how it felt to be asked to support her longtime musical hero on The Eras Tour. “It’s just like the biggest thing in the world, playing there was insane but watching her shows was even more insane. I’ve seen her show eight times and she’s so consistent, she’s such a perfectionist and she’s a genius: she has an amazing mind. I’m just in awe of everything and I’m even a bigger fan now than I’ve ever been. I’m always going to be a Swiftie and I’m always going to support Taylor”.

Another place where girl in red found herself thanks to the lead up to and making of I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! is in a place of acceptance. Accepting who she is, accepting people around her and, as we discuss, accepting cringe. “It’s a very tongue in cheek type of album: it feels very free and like I don’t care what people think sort of vibe”, she explains, “I did an interview with someone from Australia who said ‘This is no offence, but I listened to some of the songs and I immediately felt myself asking is this cringe’, like they asked themselves that question. But then they were like she’s just creatively free and doing whatever she wants. I feel like I’ve been actively confronting the concept of cringe. I feel like cringe is holding people back. Some stuff is not cool, not a vibe, but I think people need to be more free. With this album I hope people can feel that, there’s humour, I’m leaning in and owning the cringe.”


Owning the cringe is definitely a mixed opinion for Marie’s generation, who we discuss are arguably both the least and most judgemental in many ways. “I remember when I was teasing this tiny snippet of ‘Too Much’, people were commenting, like, ‘Oh, this is so kids bops’ ‘What happened? ‘girl in red, TikTokification’ etc… I hadn’t even thought of that, I was just like, ‘this was an idea I had so I pursued it, I executed it’. I thought it was fun! It was just the pre chorus of that song and I felt like people were just mindlessly judging a whole song based off a snippet”. Nuance, we agree, is what’s missing in internet culture: “some things and people are obviously objectively bad, but people are faulty and people are good; it’s not always so black and white, it’s a whole gray fucking zone. So I’m all for nuance”, she laughs, “I’m all for critical thinking and nuance”.

In another personal experience of the internet, though, girl in red thoroughly appreciates the ‘Do you listen to girl in red?’ trend. Whilst there’s good and bad to the world of social media, we agree it’s a pretty incredible thing to be a part of queer people’s lives in that way: “I feel like that’s where I’ve landed with it. When it happened I thought it was really cool, then a year passed and all the media were talking about it and it was a lot. But now, even though it’s four years later, I see a random comment, see all the people getting the reference and I think, that’s actually really rare and it’s really special”.


It’s true, and it’s hugely thanks to how rare and special girl in red herself is: an icon and role model to people everywhere, notably in the queer community, it’s always an incredibly moving thing to know the impact that musicians and their music can have on the lives of people who feel seen because of them. The day-to-day power that representation can have is something we don’t take for granted, especially as Marie thinks back to the times when she was growing up and coming out even just under a decade ago. “There are so many great queer artists right now, it feels like a positive time”, she says, and with girl in red in the industry, it feels like she’s right.


Up next, Marie is heading back out into the world on tour, ready to “feel the energy of real people who are listening”, she explains sometimes releasing music feels too one sided, “Like I just told you guys a really personal story and you’re all just, you know, silence”, she smirks. “I think being able to play the album and everything live is going to be so important, I can’t wait to connect with people and feel like there’s a community”, so girl in red is ready to head back out there, doing it all again.

Listen to 'You Need Me Now?' below:

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