Norwegian singer/songwriter Marit Larsen was a record industry success by the age of 13. Larsen released her debut album with longtime friend Marion Raven at 12. The children's music project was nominated for several awards, including Norway's Grammy equivalent. With a healthy success to their credit, Marit and Marion chose to dedicate their efforts to the pop music world. Their band, M2M, was signed to Atlantic Records, and the pair spent the next few years on international performance and promotional tours, rock stars at 16. Strained and frustrated, two years later Marit and Marion dropped the project entirely. After the group's disintegration, Larsen nearly abandoned professional music altogether. After taking a few years away from the spotlight, Larsen returned to writing songs, something she'd done for personal satisfaction for years. As she developed a new catalog of material, the next step toward a solo career became clear. Larsen began recording her first solo record, which would ultimately be released in 2006 under the title Under the Surface. Primarily written on mandolin and piano, the folk-oriented English-language record marked a decidedly different stylistic direction for the onetime would-be pop diva. The album single "Don't Save Me" spent several weeks on national charts and received many accolades, along with such accomplishments as an MTV Europe Award and Spellemannpris Award for Best Female Artist.