Girl in red isn’t a sapphic secret anymore

Girl in red would like to make an announcement. If releasing her highly anticipated second album, attending her first New York Fashion Week, and crowd-surfing across the globe on her third headline tour weren’t enough, the Norwegian musician confirmed it in a fake apology video: “2024 is like…my year.”

Known for her diaristic soft pop songs about young love and mental illness, girl in red — born Marie Ulven — rose to cultural phenom status through a meme. Gen Z sapphics online would ask, in hopes of scouting out other queer women, “Do you listen to girl in red?” The question equated the singer to a scarlet stamp of lesbianism in comments sections and, later, on billboards.

Before she was girl in red, Ulven was a 14-year-old from Norway who produced songs in her bedroom and competed at fingerboarding duels. With a guitar gifted by her grandfather, she wrote and produced her own songs before uploading them to SoundCloud, originally under the username Lydia X. After rebranding to her current moniker, she first published her ambient ode to queer yearning “i wanna be your girlfriend” in 2016. Four years later, the track, along with her biggest hit to date “we fell in love in october,” picked up steam on TikTok. The subsequent release of her revered debut album, if i could make it go quiet, in 2021 cemented her as a leading voice in the next generation of queer musicians.

The awards and audiences soon trickled in. In 2022, she won three Spellemannprisen prizes (referred to as the Norwegian Grammys) for Album Of The Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Best Artist. That same year, she played sets at Lollapalooza and Coachella, and she opened for Billie Eilish (another 25 Under 25 awardee) while headlining her own European run of shows. Girl in red then took to stadiums as an opener for Taylor Swift’s massive Eras Tour in June 2023, playing the songs she once recorded alone at home to nearly hundreds of thousands.

Though it seems like she hardly ever left, Ulven returned to center stage this April with the drop of her sophomore album, I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! The project elevates girl in red’s SoundCloud sound to radio-ready fullness, including a feature from fellow Eras Tour opener and pop princess Sabrina Carpenter. While she still touches on heartbreak and insecurity, she revels in newfound confidence. As she told Highsnobiety in April, “​It’s just f*cking ballsy, f*ck you, f*ck everything type of energy.”

At 25 years old, girl in red has transcended the meme that made her famous four years ago. She’s a rockstar, and she knows it. Whether leading mosh pits or announcing engagements on her Doing It Again tour, the singer makes one thing clear: girl in red is back, and she’s not going anywhere.

Don't forget to share:

Discover more

Read More in 25 Under 25
The Latest on INTO