Marit Larsen rose to fame in the duo M2M, but now she's back as a solo artist and ready to conquer the music world on her own. The Norwegian singer chatted with J-14 about her new album (which drops later this summer), what inspires her as songwriter, and if she still talks to her old M2M partner-in-crime, Marion.
J-14: What made you decide to go solo after being in M2M? Marit Larsen: It's these songs. I write so much and really have so much to share, and just the fact that I'm able to do my favorite thing every day of the year. I'm just starting out in Europe, but I have a big audience. I get to tour a lot there, and I'm having the time of my life. Being so young when I started [in M2M] kind of coached some really positive things because I sort of attended the best school of pop music in the industry I could ever attend, but at the same time, we were so young we didn't have time to figure out what we wanted to do. We also wrote with a lot of different people then. What is on my album now is what I make -- these are my songs and I play many instruments now. I do music that I want, which is a nice thing. It's so much more rewarding to get to do it this way. I like to call it pop music without rules.
J-14: What's the story behind your single "If A Song Could Get Me You"? Marit: The song is about having let someone go and then desperately regretting it and trying to do everything in your power to get that person's attention back. People are actually sending me emails because they've used the song to get their exes back. It's very romantic but it's sort of a sad, somewhat desperate story that I like. Many of my stories are like that -- I like wrapping them in joyful, cheerful melodies.
J-14: Can you tell us about the new solo album? Marit: I've been writing on this record for what feels like ten years. This album is actually a compilation of two albums that already came out in Norway that's based on the live show that I do now -- I play a lot of concerts.
J-14: What inspires your songwriting? Marit: I write a lot about things that I experience in my own life, but I also make up a lot of stuff. I have a great imagination. Also, I feel ashamed -- I steal from my friends! They're very interesting people. Sometimes I find myself being a hobby psychologist -- I'm just secretly taking notes behind my ear and going home and making a song about it.
J-14: Do you use their names in songs? Marit: I don't, but it's an honor to end up in a song, I would think. It makes you sort of immortal, doesn't it?
J-14: Which is the most personal song to you on the album? Marit: There's a song called "Under the Surface," and it's about being in love with someone who's been in love before, wondering if you're being compared to the other girl. It's not about being afraid that you're going to lose your love or anything -- it's like when you're kissing him, is he thinking of someone else? Does he wish that he were still with this other person? It's almost taboo that you're thinking about these things, but I think it's an important song and I'm really proud to have written it.
J-14: Do you keep in contact with Marion from M2M - has she heard your solo music? Marit: We're not in that much contact right now, but we both heard each other's album. It's also so interesting to hear our albums in comparison to each other, to really understand the musical reason why we had to start doing other things because for a really long time, our differences were a real strength. We challenged each other and we made each other try things that we wouldn't try on our own. But then it came to a point where it was like, "This is not working anymore." But I mean, that was a complete adventure!
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Petersohn