COVID has cancelled pretty much everything this year, but Girl In Red isn’t letting it get in the way of Christmas. Today she releases her new single ‘Two Queens In A King-Sized Bed’, and it’s festive as fuck.
“There’s some sleigh bells and some church bells in it,” she tells NME. “I just feel like it sounds like an entire city celebrating Christmas! Have you seen A Christmas Carol? This song just feels like it’s from one of those animated Christmas cities.”
She’s not wrong. Check out the single below, and watch our interview with Marie Ulven above – as she tells us about the making of her future Christmas classic, her yuletide traditions, her big lessons from 2020, and progress on her long-awaited debut album.
Hello Marie. Was this track always a Christmas song, or did you just add the bells and festive feels later?
Marie: “It was always a Christmas song. The first lines I wrote for it were ‘Two queens in a king-sized bed, there’s no mistletoe above our heads, but I’ll kiss you anyway on Christmas Day’. The melody and piano theme also always felt very Christmassy. I sent it to my grandpa and he was like, ‘Oh this is the best thing you’ve made, young lady! You should put it out as someone else or do your name backwards or something’. I was like, ‘Bitch, I’m not gonna put this out under some other artists’ name, I’ve been there, I’ve done that’. When my grandpa said that, I knew it needed some kind of old-ass Christmas vibe.”
Judging by the rest of your work, we’re guessing this song is based on a true story?
“It’s really just about being in bed with someone you love. I’ve definitely done that. I haven’t had a girlfriend in a while so it’s not about a recent experience, but I was mostly thinking about my first Christmas with my ex. We were just so in love and I was reminiscing.”
Were you inspired by any other Christmas songs?
“I don’t think I drew inspiration from any Christmas songs in particular, because my favourites are like ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham! and ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ by Chris Rea. There aren’t any ‘80s vibes in this song. I like Frank Sinatra’s ‘White Christmas’ and those songs that make your heart go all warm and fuzzy – the Michael Buble versions too.”
Do you think your debut album will be finished by Christmas?
“Yeah, it needs to be! There’s no other way! I can’t work on this album any more. Every day that goes by, I grow more confused by the music so it’s really important for me to get this shit done and get it out of my life! That didn’t sound very love-y, but I’ve loved it for a very long time. I just want to get it done. I can’t wait for it to be out in the world, rather than just on repeat while I analyse all the things that I want to change about it.”
But you’re feeling good about it all?
“Oh yeah, I love it, but I’m a pessimistic person. Well, I’m realistic with a hint of positivity.”
Does that sum up the mood of the whole album?
“That’s really not too far away. A lot of it is me saying, ‘I need to stop this shit, I’ve figured out what I’m doing and I know what’s not helping me to be a happy person’. There are a lot of those moments on the album. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn’t mean that there’s a long way to go. I know what I’m dealing with, but it’s about doing the hard work. That’s what I’m talking about in [recent single] ‘Rue’ – trying to get better and wanting to get better. It’s not talked about enough, you know, how hard it is to work on yourself. Self-care is about how you treat yourself. I definitely have a voice inside telling me that I suck and I hate myself, and I’m definitely confronting myself on this album.”
What can you tell us about the sound of the album?
“There’s not a specific sound because every song documents a feeling I’ve had, and those feelings have all been very strong. I can’t bleed them all into this thing that sounds the same because they’re so distinct. It’s cohesive, and I’m playing a lot of piano as well as guitar. I’m not a good piano player, but I like it. You can hear that it’s been very present in my life. I like to play something that people don’t connect with because they’re always like, ‘Oh Girl In Red, bedroom pop, guitar girl, lo-fi’ – all of those words in one sentence. Now I’m like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, y’all don’t know what’s going to happen!’”
It’s been a weird year. What’s been your big takeaway lesson from 2020, and do you have a New Year Resolution?
“My big takeaway this year is that I’m the rudest person I’ve ever dealt with. That means that I’m really rude to myself, but I’m fairly OK to other people. I also need to be more patient. Dealing with a dog, a creature that you don’t fully have control over or know what they’re feeling, that eats poop, I just need to work on my patience.”
So next year – patience, self-care and the coming of ‘World In Red’?
“Yes! You got it. Next year, the record will come out, I’m going to do a lot of cool shit, hopefully play some shows again, go back to England, hang out in London. I just that a vaccine is like 94 per cent safe. I want to get that shit injected fast!
Watch the full interview above as Marie also talks to us about plans for a beautiful music video, her dream Christmas present, tips for self-care, and more.
‘Two Queens In A King-Sized Bed’ is out now.