Raven and Larsen come from Lørenskog in the district east of Oslo. They had known each other since the age of five. Discovered by the Norwegian music producers Kenneth M. Lewis and Kai Robøle, the girls were signed to Atlantic Records in 1998. The name "M2M" was chosen from a contest held for fans to give a name to the band, having been previously known as Marion & Marit. The group's first single, "Don't Say You Love Me", appeared in 1999, and was featured on the soundtrack of Pokémon: The First Movie.
Marit Larsen has released three solo albums, Under the Surface (2006), The Chase (2008) and Spark (2012). Larsen is big in Norway where she was born and "Don't Save Me" became a number-one single in several Northern European countries.
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!
In the summer of 2002 the media was filled with storied about Marion Ravn, who seemed glorious happy to have received a million dollar contract. The headlines were saying “Everything will be fine”, “Marion does not worry about M2M”, “Feels no sadness”. “Everything was completely worng. I was wearing a mask that seemed completely wrong in the situation we were in” says Marion Ravn in “Hver Gang Vi Møtes” In the TV2-program Marion Ravn says what she regrets the most in life. “Going out to do interviews about a solo contract, I shouldn’t have done” she says.
Dropped by her label
Before she and Marit Larsen went solo they were told that M2M was history. 13 year old girlfriends had a record deal in the USA and sold millions of records, but in 2002 it was over. In “Hver Gang Vi Møtes” Marion reads a part from her diary:
“Here I am on a plane home, once again. Only this time it’s for good. The Jewel-tour got canceled. Atlantic Records didn’t think we were selling enough records and our song isn’t played on the radio as much. They will released us from the contract at any moment. The M2M-adventure is over. It were four fine and hard years. Much fun, but too much work,… this is what I want to do with my life. Singing and playing. I am not giving up.
- Marion’s diary from July 19th, 2002
Got blamed for everything
Marion was terrified that everything would be over, but after a few weeks the phone from record company Atlantic came. They wanted to focus on her and she got offered a million dollar contract. The next day it was on all frontpages. “I got blamed for everyhing. I was the naughty bitch who dropped her best friend for a million dollar contract”. Something that should have been a nice memory, brings back many bad memories for Marion. “It’s very sad that it was like it was. That’s what I regret”.
Tough to talk about it
To TV2 Raven tells that it was difficult to tell her stories about the M2M breakup. It was a little tough to talk about it, really, because I’ve never talked about it before. The only people who I might have talked about it are my parents and my siblings”.
Raven also clarifies that she had contacted the newspapers.
“When I was offered a solo contract some were talking about me and they told it to VG, so I wasn’t the one who told VG in the first place. But that was was it said at the frontpage of VG a couple of days later after I got the phone. I wasn’t able to tell Marit or anyone else.It was very wrong, and I regret that I did not do interviews afterwards, but then the ball started rolling” Is there much you regret? “No that’s it, and some short skirts maybe” Raven says to TV2.
Songs from a Blackbird is the fourth studio album by Norwegian singer-songwriter Marion Raven (credited as Marion Ravn in Norway), first released in Norway on April 5, 2013. This album marks her first release in six years since 2007's Set Me Free and her first studio album in eight years composed entirely of brand new songs since 2005's Here I Am. Songs from a Blackbird also showcased Marion's musical transition from her past hard rock style into a softer folk-rock music.
Her music transition received mixed reaction especially from fans. Some condemned her for leaving behind her hard-rock style, while some praised her for making an effort to regain her album sales in Norway. Artists like Thom Hell and Lisa Miskovsky made duets with Raven in this album. Songs from a Blackbird peaked at #3 on the Norwegian charts.
In order to promote the album, Raven embarked on a nationwide Norwegian tour. Other than performing her new tracks during the concert, Raven also performed her previous tracks but rearranged the music with a more folk-rock touch. A worldwide release is currently being arranged.
"Songs from a Blackbird" will be released on August 8, 2014 on Epic / Sony Music.
1 The Minute 2 Driving 3 Scandal 4 Better Than This 5 Home - feat. Lisa Miskovsky 6 Colors Turn To Grey 7 In Dreams 8 Never Gonna Get It 9 Running 10 On Fire 11 Never Leave Me 12 When You Come Around
The financial statements of Marit Larsen AS for 2013 show that the songwriter and artist, originally from Loerenskog, had operating revenue of 980,000 million compared to 1.3 million in 2012. Compared with the year 2010, when the company was also created, this is a revenue decline of just over 2.5 million dollars. The profit after tax was NOK 280,000 - against 400,000 in 2012.
In November 2012 she bought a share apartment Ullevil Garden in Oslo for 6.5 million after she sold a condo at Grünerløkka 3.8 million, probably with good profits. The equation for 2011, before she bought the apartment of over 100 square meters on two levels with private garden, she had a capital of 2.5 million and taxable income of 1.8 million. The corresponding figure for 2012 was zero in assets and more than one million in income.
Her solo debut after the breakup of M2M and childhood friend Marion Raven came in 2006 with the album "Under The Surface". In August 2008, the single "If a song could get me you" from the album "The Chase" was released. It was the most played song on radio in Norway for 14 consecutive weeks.
The following year the single went all the way to Germany, where Larsen also sold well with albums and toured much of the growing venues and Larsen had sold 200,000 albums and 300,000 singles in Germany alone. For the release of the new album she has worked in Oslo, New York, Nashville, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles and Stockholm.