Saturday, 14 June 2008


Marit E. Larsen and Marion E. Raven listen intentlt through their headphones as the playback of a just-completed vocal track rolls on the mixing board. Happily ensconced at the famed Atlantic Studios in New York City, the Norwegian teen duo are in their element as they complete work on their forthcoming Atlantic Records debut.

Marit and Marion have already spent a long winter-into-spring turning musical dreams into recorded reality with such producers as Matt Rowe (Spice Girls) and Max Martin (Robyn, BSB).

Songwriters and performers from their earliest years, Marit (16) and Marion (15) are operating in high gear as tehy put the final touches on a host of upbeat tracks that span a field of contemporary musics. "Sometimes the songs are in a pop rock style, some are pop-R&B, and some are just pop-pop," explains Marit.

Along with its Larsen/Raven numbers, other album tracks are the fruit of collaborative work with such trophied talents as Carole Bayer Sager, Phil Galdston (Celine Dion, Vanessa Williams), and Matt Rowe. The album also thrives under the girls' instrumental performances - Marion on piano and Marit on guitar.

"It's important to us for people to see that we sing, we play, and that this is what we like to do," says Marion, who took up piano at 8-years-old.

"Some people think we're too young to write songs," adds Marit. "I can understand. But that's good, too, because it makes us all the more excited to prove ourselves."

During downtime, the girls have enthusiastically discovered the Big Apple's many thrills, among them Urban Outfitters, ice skating in Central Park, the buzz of the city's always-bustling streets..."and cute boys," adds Marit with a laugh. "Yeah, a lot of cute boys," chimes Marion in agreement.

At such moments - while cracking up some shared joke or observation - the chemistry and depth of understanding between the two is readily evident. Inseperable? Definitely.

"We travel together constantly so when we're at home we try to spend more time with our own families," says Marion. "Still, we call each other all the time. Some of my other friends say it's gotten to the point where i even talk like Marit."

"I would never have done this album alone," says Marit. "I couldn't have handled it. We're experiencing so many new things so it's cool to have someone who is right there with you to talk to. It's really great to be two."

Marit and Marion had their fortuitous first meeting back in 1990. when Marion was just 5-years-old. Living just a few houses apart in their hometown of Lorenskog, just outside Oslo, the girls soon discovered a common love for music.

"We were singing all the time so we got this band together with kids at school," says Marit. "We called the band Hubba Bubba, after our favorite gum."

Before long, what began with imprompt performances for family and friend turned into their shared appearances in professional musical theater productions of, among others, The Sound Of Music, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz. They also made a series of early theme park appearances, performing in a pop revue while flanked by a team of even younger dancers. The pair made their official recorded debut with a Norwegian language childrens' album, released before either had hit their teens. "We did kid songs, but they were cool - really funky stuff," says Marion. "Not the same boring old thing."

The pair had already racked up numerous studio hours providing backing vocal parts to a vast array of Norwegian recording artists, but the album did give them an exciting sample of what it felt like to create something of their own.

The popular reception to the album, coupled with numerous television appearances, led to a "Best Childrens' Album" nomination for the Spillemanspriset, the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy Award.

As much as they grew from experience, the idea of recording another childrens-oriented album didn't hold the appeal of doing something more reflective of their true musical passion.


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