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29 January 2004
Lene Marlin
Source : Nrk
Lene Marlin Pedersen was born on August 17th, 1980. The family lived in the small village of Stordalstrand until Lene reached the age of three, and then they moved to Tromsø. The little girl found joy in singing, and got her first guitar from the parents when she was 15.

In 1996 she played a self-composed song on an arrangement at Tromsdalen High School. The following year Lene Marlin got a record deal.


A girl friend handed over to journalist Egil Jens Pettersen at NRK Troms a recorded tape of Lene Marlin, while Lene was away on summer vacation.

The recording was further sent to another Tromsø man, Virgin manager Per Eirik Johansen, who offered Lene Marlin a record deal.

Johansen and the producer Hans Olav Grøttheim (D'Sound) began the development of the talent.

Schpaaa debut

On the day of her 18th birthday, the debut single Unforgivable Sinner arrived at NRK, and was A-listed by Petre immediately. The self-composed song was the main theme of the Norwegian juvenile movie Schpaaa.

Four days later, Lene Marlin got asked on Petre's morning broadcast how it was starting up the last year at high school with a record deal in her back pocket. Marlin thought it was exciting, but since she was a senior, it ought to get real fun anyway, she thought.

The following week, Lene Marlin performed Unforgivable Sinner at NRK's TV-broadcasted film show Nordic Amanda from Haugesund.

Newcomer at the top

Unforgivable Sinner became a major hit on Norwegian radio. When the single was released for sale two months later, it went straight to the top. It was the first time in the VG chart Top 20's 40 years of history that a single debut seized the 1st position.

The existence got turned upside down. The absence at school was increasing, but she did manage to keep up with the rest. In the weekends, she went to the DiscLab studio in Oslo, to work on the album that was to be released in the spring. On the weekdays, she went straight from school to Bel Cantos' studio, and thereafter to bed.

Marlin fed hungry journalists, and the international launch was planned. A Japanese top photographer was in all secrecy flown in to Tromsø for capturing pictures to be used in the empire of the sun.

Marlin, Carew & Spears

In Januar, Lene Marlin got the Karoline award together with the soccer professional at Vålerenga, John Carew. The prize is awarded to great talents who are living an artist life without renouncing school.

Three weeks after Britney Spears making her debut (on Norwegian radio) with Baby One More Time, Lene came with the follow-up Sitting Down Here in the beginning of February. Petre A-listed the Norwegian comet, who in the following week won Song of the Year at the Spellemann awards.

Unforgivable Sinner sold to triple Platinum (a total of 35.000), and won Song of the Year in competition with Trang Fødsel's Drømmedame, Di Derre's Slå meg på, Bønda fra Nord by Racer, and Out of the Blue from Babel Fish.


Lene Marlin performed her new single Sitting Down Here at the Spellemann show, where Bertine Zetlitz got the award for Newcomer of the Year. At that time, the rules were such that one couldn't be nominated for the Newcomer award before you had released an entire album.

The Britney Spears debut was topping the VG list Top 20 when Sitting Down Here entered in a 2nd position. The Britney single kept its position against the Marlin single at the top of the single list, since the focus was directed towards the Marlin album being released simultanously.

Playing My Game contained 10 pop songs signed Lene Marlin, which had been arranged, programmed, and produced by Jørn Dahl and Hans Olav Grøttheim.

Sales rush

The album was called The beginner of the 90'ies by the country's largest newspaper, while the next largest treated it as the debut of a regular girl with regular songs. Most of the reviewer's were of the latter kind, and with evenly good scores on the dice.

Lene Marlin crushed the record company's previous standard for popularity. 50.000 copies of Spice Girl's Spiceworld had been sold from the Virgin office in the course of three days, while 64.000 Lene Marlin records found their way out to stores during the same period.

Three weeks before release, the company believed that 15.000 records in store ought to be sufficient, but re-evaluated in time. Lene Marlin's debut album sold to Platinum in the course of half a week, and Unforgivable Sinner was topping MTV Nordic's Top 40.

Out in the world

The success widened out to Italy, Sweden and Japan during the summer. However, the plans for an USA launch were abandoned the same fall, since the promotion work was assessed to be lasting 6 to 9 months.

At the HitAwards, Lene Marlin won four awards. Radio playing was the basis for the awards, where Lene made a clean sweep of it when she took the trophés for Hit of the Year, Female Norwegian Artist of the Year, International Female Artist of the Year, and Artist of the Year.

MTV-Awards 99

In November, Lene Marlin took home the prize for Nordic Artist of the Year at the MTV-Awards in Dublin, in competition with among others The Cardigans.

In February, Lene's third single, Where I'm Headed, went to the top in Italy, as did the two previous singles.

At the same time, Sitting Down Here was becoming a radio-hit in Great Britain. The single made its debut on a 6th place on the British hit lists.

At the launch, there was arranged a net-meeting in England, where Lene Marlin among other things answered what she would've liked to change with her own looks; Many, many, many things. Isn't that something all girls want?

Spellemann 00

In February, she won four Spellemann awards in the categories of Song of the Year, Newcomer, Artist, and Pop Solo Artist. The only nomination that didn't give a prize was in the category of Video of the Year, which went to Babel Fish. When she received the fourth award, she was having a hard time keeping the tears back.

This was also the first time she showed herself together with, at that time, the boyfriend Stian Barsnes Simonsen (from Hotel Ceasar) in a public connexion.

Tired and exhausted

After the awards, Lene Marlin asked the media to respect the family's wish to remain anonymous.

She was tired, and was to go back to Tromsø for celebrating her brother's wedding the following day. For the second time in its history, Tromsø Airport allowed a car to approach the runway. It picked up Lene Marlin and guided her passed the press and the fans to the private arrangement.

In an interview with the Tromsø newspaper Nordlys, Marlin explained:
- And I'm so incredibly, incredibly tired. Sometimes I feel the need to hide away.
- Besides, there haven't been a lack of articles about me. I'm pretty tired of seeing myself in every newspaper and everywhere.

Took time off from everything

After the interview, it got silent from Lene Marlin who took time off. Even without promotion the success continued in England, and reports were ticking in from countries in Europe, Ocenia, and Asia, about topping the lists and record trophés.

Due to illness, Marlin had to cancel when the municipality of Tromsø by Christmas time 2000 wanted to award her their honorary prize. Lene Marlin's importance for Norwegian music industry was a roundtable debate at the industry part of by:Larm in Tromsø a few months later.

In March 2001, her management rejected the news about Lene Marlin having received 15 million nkr in advance for her next album.

Playing My Game sold 1.8 million copies worldwide, and the single sales were exceeding 3 millions.

Lack gave come-back

After three years away from the public, Marlin in March of 2003 said she was sorry that she hadn't picked up the honorary prize of Tromsø. Even though the record company was hushing up the release information, it simultanously got clear that a new album was on the horizon.

Lene Marlin thanked Guri Solberg in the NRK Petre programme Kaliber for her come-back. In connection with one of her songs being played, Solberg said she was missing Lene Marlin. Lene Marlin heard the broadcast, and took the words to her heart.

Italian radio listeners and net surfers were the first to hear the come-back, in July 2003. The album recordings were done live with a band in Wessex Studios in London, under supervision by the rock producer Mike Hedges (Manic Street Preachers, Texas, Travis), and A&R-responsible Hans Olav Grøttheim.

Radio-hit of all times

The single You Weren't There became a massive radio hit in Norway, with Petre in the front seat, who for the first time put a song on double A rotation.

The Norwegian media interest was enormous, and Marlin was interviewed by a multitude of radio stations and newspapers.

In the course of a few days, it got confirmed that the interstice between her front teeth was gone, and that Lene Marlin had been seeking psychological help.

In the late summer of 2003, Lene Marlin set a Norwegian record when the come-back melody was the most popular on radio for a whole 13 weeks. Summer hits and Idol artists stepped aside as the single made its debut at 1st place on the VG list Top 20.

Two weeks later, Another Day made its debut in a 1st position on the VG list Top 20. The album was the first in Norway that simultanously got released as a DVD.

Rare concerts

On the occasion of the release, over 6.000 showed up at Oslo City to be present for half-an-hour's mini-concert. One month earlier, Lene Marlin had entertained 50 persons with an unannounced performance during a visit at the smaller place Frognerveien 6. In the course of the autumn, she played for an audience of 20.000 and 8 million TV-viewers in Verona in Italy, and performed at the Nobel concert which was broadcasted by TV to over 100 countries.

The album received, as the debut, evenly good reviews. The record sales didn't reach the same heights, neither in Norway nor abroad. Among other things, Eco Crime were investigating illegal downloading from the internet.

Another Day gained gold- and platinum trophés in Italy and Norway. Before Christmas the title track Another Day came as a radio single. Early January 2004, Lene Marlin was nominated for two Spellemann awards; Female Pop Solo Artist and Song of the Year, for You Weren't There.


Playing My Game (Virgin - 1999)
Another Day (Virgin - 2003)

Translation by Tef Johs


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