Girl in Red, who is also known as Marie Ulven Ringheim, is a 22 year old girl born and raised in Horten, a little town on the outskirts of Oslo, Norway. She has always been interested in music, both singing and songwriting. When she was eight years old she wrote one of her first songs, and her sister recorded it on her phone when hearing Ulven singing it in the shower. By the age of 14 she had already started producing her own music after acquiring a guitar, and using her Confirmation money to buy herself a MacBook. Eventually, Marie started posting songs online, and gained huge popularity after uploading her song “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” to YouTube in 2018.
Girl in Red is known for using her indie rock style of music to appeal to her listener’s insecurities and secret yearnings. Her songs are delightfully verbose and snarkily self-depreciating as they talk about mental health and dark themes such as suicide and suicidal thoughts, as well as conveying the pain of unrequited lust and love. When praised for her incredible openness Ulven always says she’s just “really bad at boundaries”.
However, the question “Do you listen to girl in red?” means more than you might think – it became a coded way for women on social media, specifically Tik Tok, to ask each other if they were queer. This ended up being very problematic as it created the idea that listening to certain music could define your sexuality, which could not be any farther from the truth. In fact, back in March 2020, Girl in Red responded to these absurd statements by calling people out on her Instagram account for putting the label of “queer music” on her music. She says that although she is in fact queer, her music can, and should, be enjoyed by everyone.
Other members of the LGBTQ community also share this dangerous mindset. Many disagreements rose with the annoyance of some of her queer fans when seeing that straight people also listened to her songs, and even more when they used them as backdrops to their Tik Toks. Girl in Red added, “recently I’ve noticed a lot of queer ppl being like ‘lmao why is this straight couple using ur music in their TikTok?’ CAUSE feelings are universal. Music doesn’t have a sexuality.”