Meet ArtEx participant Margrete Skretting Bergset
13.03.2023 / -ArtEx has been particularly important in the transition between my studies and my work life.
The singer-songwriter talent Margrete Skretting Bergset (25) has been helped by ArtEx mentor Andrew Murray in making a long-term plan for making a living out of her music.
For nearly two years now, Margrete has been part of Talent Norge’s elite programme ArtEx, which gives twelve selected talents access to mentors, coaches and a broad professional network.
«ArtEx has been of considerable use to me. It’s interesting and fun to get to know people from other art disciplines, and I’ve been able to work very well with my mentor», says Margrete
The debut song became an HBO soundtrack
In 2017 the Asker girl (an Oslo suburb) loaded up «Teen» on the NRK (the Norwegian national broadcasting company) programme NRK Urørt, a song she produced herself and which took her all the way to the semi-finals in the competition. She played at several festivals, got a songwriter scholarship from NOPA, and «Teen» was played in the popular Norwegian series «Unge Lovende» (young and promising).
One day she saw a message on Facebook, which she thought was spam, but when a similar message ended up in the spam filter on her email, she understood that the request was totally real.
«It was completely surreal since it was someone from HBO who worked on picking out music.»
That is how Margrete’s tune and lyrics became part of the soundtrack of the acclaimed HBO series «I May Destroy You»(2020).
«It was a tremendous honour to have the music in that series« says Margrete.
Likes it being so tangible
The «Teen» success» fuelled the dream to become a musician. Together with ArtEx mentor Murray she has made a long-term strategy for how she is going to set herself up as an artist.
«I like that it’s been so trangible. We’ve had a plan. Things can easily ‘flow out’ a little, but my mentor has been very good at making a concrete scheme.
In the spring of 2022 she completed her bachelor’s degree in Jazz and improvisation at Norges musikkhøgskole (the conservatoire of music).
«The support ArtEx has provided has been particularly important now during the transition between my studies and my work life», says Margrete.
Through her mentor, Andrew, she has been given everythign from in-depth knowledge about the industry and a bigger network to tools for developing the artistic aspect. Before Christmas Margrete released her latest EP, Flaws vol. 1, on Murray’s record company New Phase, a sub-label of Luft Recordings.
She uses the personal aspect
She describes her music as «alternative pop».
«Much of the music is about being different and being an outsider in some form or other», says Margrete.
The 25-year old says she was bullied at the end of primary school, and she has brought the bad things she experienced into her music.
«But it has also been a good way of processing these things. Even the darkest songs can be fun to work on, and I am happy to use humour even if the theme is tough.«
At the same time she is aware of the danger of cultivating gloom. In fact, she has had a writer’s block because ‘things were going too well for her’.
«It’s a classic for artists to use adversity and difficult things to generate music, but I can’t go in for having difficulties in order to make music», says Margrete.
Coaching helped the artwork
Through ArtEx´coaching, Margrete got to know herself and her thought processes better. It was an eyeopener when the coach drew her attention to how she talked to herself.
«The coaching I received helped my artwork and also helped me in other ways in life», says Margrete.
«We’ve talked a lot about how to plan one’s day as an artist in order to keep going for a long time.»
The most important thing to do to take care of the joy of art, is to take care of oneself.
As far as Margrete is concerned, yoga and video games ensure that her brain gets time-out.
«You have to be careful about what you take on, and choose people you feel safe and secure with in your work. This is incredibly important for making good art and achieving well. One has to be in a safe and secure place», says Margrete.
Apart from being a solo artist, Margrete is taking part in another project called Fabeldyr (fable animals). She also wants to get established as a songwriter for others.
«My goal is to make a living out of being a full-time musician». -
Both her parents are musicians, but she was not under any pressure at home to go in the same direction as them.
«They were more concerned that I should know that it was not that glamourous. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m brave or because I’m not a sensible person that I chose music», says Margrete, laughing.
Programme of Excellence in Performing Arts and film (ArtEx) is an interdisciplinary talent developing programme which is to help top-level artists to further develop themselves artistically and build an interesting and sustainable career. Through the programme you will become part of an extensive national and international network, you will get to take part in interdisciplinary professional gatherings under the auspices of Talent Norge. A support network will be available to you throughout the duration of the programme, consisting of a mentor, a coach and a place on Olympiatoppen’s health service. You will also get an individual scholarship that is to be used for professional development in consultation with your mentor.