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24 August 2010
Lene Marlin turns 30 years of age
Source : NRK Troms/Finnmark
The artist Lene Marlin turns 30 years on August 17. Read about how she broke through and meet the ones who first saw her talent.

- I could immediately hear that there was something about the song. "Unforgivable Sinner" had both heart and soul, it was complete and sung by a girl who really wanted it released.

- It was catchy, plain and simple, the NRK-journalist Egil Jens Pettersen says.

Pettersen was the one who in 1997 discovered the 17-year-old Tromsø girl, following her having recorded a demo at NRK in Tromsø. The NRK-journalist later met Lene Marlin on the bus, and asked whether he could be allowed to send the tape to an acquaintance from Tromsø who happened to be the manager at the record company Virgin.

This he was allowed.

- Following this, I had to bug Per Erik (Johansen) several times, but he was busy and repeatedly told me he hadn't gotten around listening to the recording. Suddenly one day when I called, he answered: "My God, this is huge! I'm coming north!"

The NRK-journalist Egil Jens Pettersen discovered Lene Marlin and tipped off an acquaintance at the record company Virgin. The rest is Norwegian music history.

The single "Unforgivable Sinner" was released in the fall of 1998, and rose straight to the top of the VG-chart. There it stayed for 17 weeks. The Tromsø girl received an MTV-Award and reached solid chart positions both in France, Italy, and England.

Both the debut single and the follow-up, "Sitting Down Here", became huge video successes on MTV. The Tromsø-girl was awarded a Spellemann prize in 1998 and four in 1999, in addition to several international awards. In 2000 she got several great British hits with "Sitting Down Here" (5. position) and "Unforgivable Sinner" (13. position), according to Store Norske Leksikon (a Norwegian encyclopedia).

The albums "Another Day" (2003), "Lost In A Moment" (2005), and "Twist The Truth" (2009) all have good sales figures, but doesn't come close to the debut album.

The Tromsø artist has also contributed to the artist Rihanna's "Good Girl Gone Bad" which went to the top in England, and got nice chart positions worldwide. In addition she wrote in 2005 "Venn" together with Espen Lind for the benefit of the tsunami victims in Asia. The year after (2006) she was on top of the charts in Switzerland with the duet "Avalon" together with the Swiss band Lovebugs.

Today, Lene Marlin still has a great amount of fans abroad, especially in Italy where she also has her own fan club.

- With a couple of million records sold she is in the upper layer among Norwegian artists with a commercial success. Lene has proven for a long time that she's doing well. A hug hit talent, the music journalist Egon Holstad at Nordlys concludes.

In 1999 Lene Marlin won the MTV-Europe award for Best Nordic Artist.

An unexpected "Lenomania"

The Lene Marlin fever brought the girl from the district of Kroken around the world, and created a media hysteria Norway seldom has witnessed. On one occasion, the artist got picked up directly from the plane at Tromsø Airport, bypassing the arrival hall to get away from the press.

At Tromsdalen High School the management had to invoke special measures for protecting their famous pupil.

- One evening while I was sitting at school working, I discovered blitz lights outside in the winter darkness. There two Japanese juveniles were standing, who had travelled all the way from the other side of the planet to see the city Lene was coming from. I invited them inside and they got to both sit down and take pictures of her desk, her old teacher Karstein Hansen has previously told NRK.

The media pressure and the travelling eventually became so great that the Tromsø girl pulled away from the limelight for a period.

That the fragile teen girl was to be one of Norwegian pop music greatest export items was on the mind of the very few.

- I was imagining this yet another hopeful musician who would record one of the countless demos we have recorded, but who never gets anywhere. However, when I heard her singing, I heard that there could be something there. But the chances of anything ever happening are so minimal. I didn't quite have the faith, I'd admit that, says Are Kristoffersen, sound technician at NRK at Lene Marlin's very first demo recording.

Had clear goals

NRK's Siv Helberg was the first who interviewed Lene Marlin.

- She was talking so low that there was barely I could use the radio recording with her. She was modest during the whole interview, but had great ambitions and knew what she wanted. I remember this impressed me, Helberg tells almost 13 years after.

Not even the Tromsø girl's discoverer could imagine that he was about to write Norwegian music history when he mailed Lene Marlin's demo.

- You never think that way when you hear somebody for the first time, but I was certain she could do well here in Norway, says Egil Jens Pettersen.

Hoping she would get where she wanted

Today, there has been a long time since Pettersen have had any contact with Lene Marlin.

- Just after the breakthrough there was a call on my door. There Lene stood with a bouquet of tulips and wanted to say thanks. I thought this was very nice. I thanked her as well. I also said that I hoped she would get where she wanted with everything an artist life and a success would involve, Pettersen says thoughtfully.

Lene Marlin lives today a relatively withdrawn life in London with her actor boyfriend Kåre Conradi and seldom gives interviews. According to the tax lists from 2008 she is doing well with almost 15 million NOK on the bank account.

Translated by Tef Johs of lene-marlin.info


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