Monica Heldal will be heading to the United States this fall after staking her claim as one of Norway’s most promising singer-songwriters. Earlier this year, she won two Spellemannprisen Awards – Norway’s version of the Grammys – for best new artist and best pop solo artist. However, her subdued music also incorporates elements of Americana, bluegrass and Irish folk.
“Scarlet” is a new recording that will appear on the digital version of Heldal’s debut album, Boy From the North, scheduled for a U.S. release on Sept. 16. She tells CMT Edge the narrative wasn’t inspired by the famous heroine of Gone With the Wind. Instead, she simply considers Scarlet a beautiful name that she’s wanted to write about for years now.
In the song, the title character is pressing on, despite a stretch of obstacles in her path. Heldal’s sweet, enticing voice makes you root for Scarlet as she forges ahead.
“I have always thought it was a sad song, but you also get the feeling that there is hope,” Heldal says. “The feeling of being away from your loved ones when you don’t know when you’ll see them again is hard, but … there’s patience and she struggles to return and has not given up.”
In the song, there is a lyric about how “every fiddle tune will ease her pain,” which ties into Heldal’s own affection for a simpler kind of music.
“I just fell in love with the acoustic guitar when I was about 12 years old, and also before that I would listen to a lot of acoustic music,” she says. “I think acoustic music is really honest and real and has a depth that you cannot get when you’re making music with all kinds of electronic devices that people are using these days.”
Heldal will make her U.S. performance debut on Oct. 16 at the Mercury Lounge in New York City, supporting the Last Bison. Enjoy the CMT Edge premiere of “Scarlet.”