- Words Notion Staff
- Photography Bjørnar Strømsholm
- Photography Bonnie Ophelia
Norwegian artist Marie Noreger and Grammy award-winning songwriter, Autumn Rowe, interview each other about their recent collaboration and being a woman in music.
Floating across The North Sea to bless us with her silky sounds is Marie Noreger, the Norwegian artist crafting left-field R&B.
Earlier this year, Marie was nominated for a Norwegian GRAMMY (Spellemann), for her ‘Gravity’ EP; a testament to her melodic prowess and impact on the musical landscape.
After releasing tranquil singles “THE VIEW” and “SLOOOWLY” this year, Marie has now shared her EP, ‘DDVS’ (‘Discodoll in the Velvet Suit’). Blending components of disco, hip-hop and electronic music into a deliciously serene, modern R&B sound, ‘DDVS’ sees Marie collaborate with GRAMMY award-winning songwriter, Autumn Rowe, on the EP’s title track.
To celebrate the release of ‘DVSS’, we brought Marie and Autumn together once more for an honest and open two-way interview about being women in the music industry, tips for getting inspired, the joys of working together, and much more.
Autumn: What’s it’s like releasing music as a woman in 2022?
Marie: I think it’s a very exciting and interesting time for women in this industry. More than ever I feel like we are getting accepted for who we are and we are allowed to be ourselves. I feel the freedom to release what I like, what I identify with… I can dress how I like and shape my career in the direction I want.
Autumn: One of my favourite things about you is how you aren’t only musically talented but you are so good with visuals. It’s been great watching you work in front and behind the camera. How valuable has it been as a woman to have that visual direction for yourself?
Marie: Thank you so much Autumn!
There has always been something that has pulled me in that direction, as a 13-year-old I bought my first camera. I brought my friends to the forest and we had tonnes of photo shoots. It’s always been one of my outlets to express my emotions. During 2016 I started taking self-portraits and filming my environment, it was my way of writing a diary. So, when I started my music career, those two outlets naturally merged with each other. I’m very happy that I have the freedom to decide for myself, it would have felt very unnatural if I couldn’t. I think it’s important to mention that during this project especially I’ve been working close with my co art-director Oswald Amoa. He’s been the brain behind most of my visuals for the DDVS project. It’s nice to be able to do things on your own but I quickly understood that it became a little too much for me. I’m very grateful I found Oswald who is so talented in what he does and we work so good together, we understand each other and want the same things visually!
Autumn: On “DDVS”, you sing about having some quality time for yourself and doing things which give you joy. How important do you think it is to find that balance of work and fun and how do you manage it?
Marie: As creatives, I think it is so important to make space to relax and find moments of joy. In this industry especially, it can be a lot of pressure and with a lot of expectations and it can be really hard at times to find the balance.
I myself, for example, do not work especially well under stress so it’s crucial for me to find things in life that give me energy and happiness! I’m still working on finding my balance but I recently discovered that space is important. To me, it can be a walk outside and just sit in the nature alone and breath. Also just being present, cause when you are you take in all those small moments that makes a difference.
Autumn: I just found a time machine. You can go back in time and spend the day with any woman in music. Who would it be and why?
Marie: I’m very intrigued by Amy Winehouse, I think she was a very interesting woman. In spite of all her tragedies she managed to put everything into her music and she created music that went straight into the heart of people.
I’ve always loved her music and it will always follow me through life.
Autumn: Your new EP ‘DDVS’… is this an alter ego for you? Is this your Sasha Fierce and if so, how is she different from Marie Noreger?
Marie: My new EP is about being your authentic self. I used to be very good at that but at some point in my life I started to overthink a lot. In the process of making this EP I set as a goal to come back to that version of me that didn’t care too much and was not afraid to just be! “Discodoll” is the part inside of me that has that playfulness, she likes colours, she loves dancing and she isn’t afraid of being seen as weird or being too much or too little, she just is. So you could say that she is my alter ego but more than anything I think she’s just the best part of me that is just waiting to come back to life fully!
Marie: I’m a huge fan of your work and it was so inspiring working with you. I wonder, what is your favourite part of working with other artists?
Autumn: That is so sweet, thank you! My favourite part of working with artists is getting to tell a story which is so uniquely yours. I love “idenity records” as I call them. This is a song only Marie would sing as opposed to an interchangeable song which many people could sing.
Marie: This industry can be tough and sometimes full of pressure. What is your best advice coming from a woman, that has been in the music industry for a long time, to someone who just started?
Autumn: The industry is for sure full of lots of pressure and isn’t the kindest to women. My best advice is just do what works for you. Most advice people will give will be poor advice and it’s based on someone else’s circumstances and what they themselves have been capable of, its rarely catered to you personally so don’t take it personally. They say never ask advice from someone you wouldn’t switch places with..I believe that to be true.
My best advice is to have great songs. Don’t get too tied up in the distractions, even if you had millions of followers on socials guess what.. you still need great songs. If you want to be an artist.. create art. That doesn’t necessarily mean singing covers all day, create your own art that feels real to you. I’m all for the long game.
Marie: How do you get inspired and get back to the work flow in a period where you’re generally not feeling inspired?
Autumn: Switch it up! If I’m not feeling inspired to work on lyrics and melody.. work on production, change genres, or focus on DJing. I also have creative projects outside of music like a children’s book. Really important to just live life and let life naturally inspire me. So many songs come out of great conversations, and even the most random conversations. I wrote one of my favourite songs from a conversation with an uber driver. I try to do things that make me happy and feel good, even small things like watching a new show.
Marie: Congrats to you Autumn! You won a Grammy and it made me so happy! As I’ve understood you put a lot of energy and will into lifting up women in this industry. Do you think we’re going in the right direction? I want to see more female producers and song writers getting their recognition!! And if you could mention one thing, what is something us woman can do to lift each other up even more on another lever?
Autumn: Thank you so much! I do put a lot into raising our voices as creators. I think we are slowly heading in the right direction but there are a ton of obstacles and still a lot of “performative” players. Hill Kourkoutis just became the first woman to win recording engineer of the year for the Junos. This is a huge step in the right direction, but when we stop having to celebrate our “firsts” I can relax. I’m only a handful of female producers who won a Grammy for ‘Album of The Year’. Less than 3 percent of women are credited as producers on popular songs. I need this number to be double digits before I can start to feel good about where things are headed.
Marie: I remember we just finished the demo of “Bullshit in Disguise” when you brought your Mac to the table to show me a beat you made. I fell in love with it straight away and we ended up recording DDVS. What is your favourite part of our track DDVS and why?
Autumn: First of all I’m so excited and grateful you trust me to work on music with you. I don’t take this lightly. My favourite part of the track are your vocals, of course. You sound so great.. laid back yet rhythmic and sultry. Your voice is so distinct and really shines on the track. I just can’t wait to see what you do with the visual now.
Notion: How important was it for you, as two female creatives, to work together on this project? And how do you think it helped shape the creative output?
Autumn: I think overall it’s important for women to collaborate together. I personally love working with women and tend to feel an often unspoken understanding when doing so. I hope that Marie felt comfortable to totally be herself and like she could share all sides of herself with me. As a producer, I probably felt most encouraged by other women when I began making tracks. I was excited to show Marie this track and am so happy it’s going to be shared with the world now.
Marie: I love working with other women, there’s something special that happens when we gather. Female energy is a force, I’m not even joking, that energy is so real. Like Autumn said there’s truly an unspoken understanding, I feel seen and understood in another way if I can say so. I enjoyed working with Autumn on this song (“DDVS”), I felt like we were both in the present and was feeling the music so the lyrics and the melody came out so naturally.. I didn’t feel any pressure, I was just enjoying.
We understood where we wanted to go and I think it’s because we also share the common experience of being a woman. I’m so excited that this song is finally out for everyone to listen!