RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW FRENCH ARTIST MARLENE LARSEN
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
When I was a little kid I used to write a lot of stories and was very fond of poetry and fairytales. Then I discovered the theatre, and performed on stage from a very young age. I remember wanting to be an actress. And then… when I was like 13, Youtube arrived on my family computer and it changed things. I spent hours and hours on it, trying to discover new artists and bands and songs I could relate to. I used to belt Avril Lavigne in my living room when no one was home, and lay in my bed with eyes wide open and full body chills, listening to Damien Rice on my USB mp3 player. In high school, I made a girlfriend who played guitar, and immediately I didn’t want to do covers, I wanted to write the songs. And from the moment I wrote my first song, something just clicked, a door opened. I’m still surprised at how music took over everything I had going on in my life very quickly.
Introduce us to you and your musical history?
Well, I’m from rural France, and there we’re not really into music, books, or other cultural stuff in general, especially if it’s not in French. But ! My mother owned The Beatles’ Red Album. I listened to that record until it broke. Then I was very lucky to spend a big part of my teenage and young adult years in the UK, and it opened my ears and mind. I quickly became a FAN, of Paramore, of Taylor Swift, of many bands and artists. I was obsessed with having my own band, and made that dream come true as soon as possible (meaning as soon as I moved to a big city). Mind you I never studied music. But writing songs has always been easy, and I’m pretty much guided by my ears. I had many bands, tried many genres of music. And now, voila! This is me, debuting my solo career, making the music I’ve been wanting to make since I was a kid.
What was life like for you before music?
It was boring.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
The song that gave me body chills, when I was in the dark laying in my bed, the song that got me thinking « Wait a minute, is it normal that music makes me feel like this ? What is this strange overpowering feeling ? » was : No Love, No Glory by Damien Rice.
Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?
I feel comfortable in the music industry now, I spent almost a decade trying to understand how it works, and I think I got a good grip on its cogs. Also, I’m not alone now, I’ve got a label and touring agency by my side. It really does make a difference.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
A mentor told me once « You’re a woman, and you know what you want. People will say you’re a bitch, it’s just a fact. But it’s okay, stay focused. Just make sure you have real close friends who know you and love you. And you’ll be fine. » And boy was she right !
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?
>My surname is Larsen because I come from Swedish heritage.
>My first band was a hard rock band heavily inspired by ACDC.
>I’m going to see Taylor Swift on the Era’s Tour and bought a VIP package because I couldn’t get tickets otherwise (damn you Ticketmaster).
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
I’d love to find a good manager, who would help me check the top 3 dreams on my bucket list (Go on a world tour, have a song of mine in a Netflix romantic comedy, and make an ALBUM!).
Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….
I don’t worry about cancel culture. I’m always respectful of everyone and if I were to unintentionally hurt people I would apologize and learn to do better. People will possibly take things the wrong way, the media might take something out of context and create a bad buzz out of nothing, but hopefully when I get to that point, I’ll have a team that will help me navigate these tricky situations. Also, if things get too overwhelming, I can always completely shut my phone for a while and go touch grass or something.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not, why not?
What a peculiar question! Honestly, I don’t really care and I don’t have time to think about conspiracy theories. I’m a virgo!
What was the worst experience on stage?
One time some dude came up on stage and tried to kiss me. Awful.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I have no theoretical knowledge of music, every song I write is by ear only. No idea what chords I actually play on the guitar.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
You tell me ! I’m done comparing myself to other artists.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
Yes!! I just released my first EP « Galore », on September 15th. It’s got 5 songs on it, and I couldn’t be prouder. I cannot wait for it to find my audience!
What was the recording process like?
I wrote it and produced it in its entirety in my bedroom, then I went to the studio for a week to record it. Started with the drums and the bass, then the guitars and lastly the vocals. Recording in a professional studio is a delicate and exhausting experience, especially when on a budget because you have to be fast and efficient. Some ups and downs, definitely, but overall it went really well.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
My learning curve was not in the writing, but the producing. I needed to make the producing cohesive enough for a record. I had to think « EP » and not « single ».
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
No I wouldn’t! I made sure it was the perfect picture of what I had in my head at the time.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Thank you for these great questions! I don’t have anything left to say except: I’m pretty sure I could be your new favourite small artist! Stream ‘Galore’ and come join me on social media!