Marion Raven

Marion Raven – A Solo Comeback

“I just like to be myself. Be natural. I just wear what I wanna wear. I like my hair how it is,” said Marion Raven during a round-table interview with UrbanWire at The Amara on July 31st when she was in Singapore for the President’s Star Charity.

In fact Marion still dons her familiar long wavy tress – a signature look of hers that she’s kept up till today, reminding me of the fresh-faced teen I met about 3 years ago during M2M’s promotional trip for The Big Room with her childhood friend, Marit Larsen.

The same resolve and sense of identity is shown when it comes to the 21-year-old’s music. Marion, half of defunct Norwegian pop band M2M, fought her way to achieve the musical direction she wanted, for her first solo album, Here I Am.

“Well in the beginning, the record company didn’t really like that I was going rock and they thought that some of my lyrics were too hard or too angry. But I was very precise on it that I wanted to be like that because that’s me. So I had some meetings and some fights and I got it the way I wanted it,” she explained.

Here I Am consists of rock numbers and piano ballads, contrasting heavily with M2M’s bubblegum pop/rock sound. She’s recently acquired a taste for rock music especially from the 60s to 70s, citing musicians like Janis JoplinLed Zeppelin, and the Doors as major influences. It also wasn’t until 2003 that Marion discovered grunge band Nirvana – which she believes has changed her thinking about song writing.

Over the last 3 years, pop princesses – Britney et al – have been increasingly challenged by rock-inspired and punk-pop female acts like Michelle BranchAvril Lavigne, Ashlee Simpson, and the first American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson.

marion raven
Marion Raven

Marion, who bears a slight physical resemblance to Alanis Morrisette, seems to align with these female singers, and understood the comparison between her and their names. Nikki Sixx praised Marion as the most talented new artist he had worked with, emphasizing her music-making abilities. Marion is passionate about her musical career and wants to continue making music, performing, being in the studio, and writing songs. She hopes to produce numerous albums, embark on tours, and make music her lifelong profession.

She believes the trend began because “…people want more real artistes. They want girls who can actually sing and play an instrument and write their own songs – that’s not fake and manufactured anymore”.

As much as she likes the trend of rock chicks, she’s sceptical about this rising trend, saying, “but, of course, there are always girls who pretend to be [rock chicks]”.

Marion Raven isn’t worried if she is going to be taken seriously after her transition from pop to rock “Because when we were in M2M, we wrote our own songs and we played instruments even though we were Pop.”

Indeed, comments from fellow rock musicians who worked with her on Here I Am such as Everclear’s Alexakis and Motley Crue’s bassist Nikki Sixx have been positive.

Based on her biography released by Warner Music Singapore, Nikki Sixx said,“I’ve written with artists as diverse as Joey from Saliva to Meat Loaf and Vince Neil, but Marion is the ******* most talented new artist I’ve worked with since I’ve been making music.”

Her capabilities are supported by her passion, “I [would] love to do this forever. I love making music, performing, and being in the studio. And writing songs, so I really hope I can make tons of albums [as well as] be on tour and make this my living and my life.”

Remembering M2M

M2M first raided the airwaves in 1999 with their hit single “Don’t Say You Love Me” taken from Pokémon: The First

Movie’s original soundtrack. Following the success, M2M released their debut album Shades of Purple which spawned more chart-topping hits such as “Mirror, Mirror” and “Pretty Boy”. M2M’s second album, The Big Room, was released in 2001 and their sophomore transition showed a maturing in their sound. It was however their last collaborative effort together and their stint in the Pop-world faded soon after.

The exact reason for the break-up isn’t known. Wikipedia writes, “M2M was dropped by Atlantic records, citing lack of record sales,” but according to Marion, the break-up was mutual. She said, “It was a very natural process. We felt that M2M was a teenage dream– we were running around and having fun. But we were getting older and starting to grow apart and being different women wanting to do different kind of music, [so] we decided to separate and not be M2M anymore.”

When asked what her ex-band mate Marit is up to these days, Marion replied swiftly, “actually, she has to tell that herself when she wants to”.

Marion Raven
Marion Raven

Loneliness is something that Marion has to grapple with when going solo. She’s been staying in her New York apartment alone since last August and though she felt lonely, she has adapted to the change and is said to have become more independent – “[at first] wow what am I doing? Starting to get bills for the first time and realise how much your parents really do! And suddenly all the dishes are there… the unwashed clothes… you have to wash the toilets and the bathroom. It was a good reality check for me. But after a while, I started getting friends and getting used to it. [I] enjoy being by myself and having my own place.”

You can take out the girl from Scandinavia, but not the Scandinavian out of the girl. Marion isn’t planning on making the Big Apple her home. Apart from missing her loved ones in Norway, Marion misses the calm serenity of her native land. “It’s really quiet there. You can sit in your garden and hear the birds and the wind. I miss that a lot.”


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