One of the most genuinely talented groups to emerge from the UK music scene in recent years, a1 is geared up with the musical goods to break big in 2002. In an era of prefabricated manufactured pop music, a1 is the real thing: four talented young men–Ben Adams (vocals, keyboards), Christian Ingebrigtsen (guitar, vocals, bass), Paul Marazzi (vocals, percussion, bass) and Mark Read (vocals, keyboards, drums)–who write and perform their own music with verve, style and substance. American fans, who got their first taste of a1 with the release of the group’s “Caught In The Middle” single in April 2002, can now feast on a mini-album of specially selected highlights from all three of the a1’s UK albums–Here We Come, The A-List, and Make It Good. Simply titled “a1,” this new seven-song collection is an ideal introductory showcase of group’s versatile songwriting and performing abilities.
The mini-album opens with “Caught In The Middle,” the group’s latest UK chart-topper. Written by Ben Adams and Paul Marazzi, the infectious “Caught in the Middle” was released in the UK in January 2002 and entered the charts at #2. The track stayed in both the UK radio and sales Top 10 for four weeks, peaking at #3 in the airplay chart, making it a1’s biggest UK radio hit to date. It has since gone on to achieve Top 3 success in Scandinavia and all over Asia, with equally strong upward results felt in Germany, Holland, Australia and Spain. The video for “Caught in the Middle” was filmed near Helsinki, Finland in November 2001 by Miika Lommi (Bomfunk MC’s “Freestyler”). “It’s just a great song,” says Ben. “There are a lot of heavy-rock acts out there and a lot of heavy R&B acts, but I don’t think there’s an in-between and that’s what we’re bringing.”
Other tracks on “a1” include “Make It Good,” “When I’m Missing You,” “Everytime” (Album Version from 1999’s Here We Come), “If I Can’t Have You,” “One More Try,” and “Same Old Brand New You.” “a1” is produced by Mike Hedges (Travis, U2, Manic Street Preachers, the Cure) with the exception of “Everytime” (produced and mixed by Metro), “One More Try” (produced and engineered by Chris Porter) and “Same Old Brand New You” (the #1 pop UK single produced and engineered by Eric Foster White, who’s worked with Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and others). With the exception of “Everytime,” all the tracks on “a1” were mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, whose rsum includes Eric Clapton, Green Day, Chris Isaak, B.B. King, Dave Matthews, Savage Garden and more.
a1 has won international MTV Awards, two “Best Video” awards (TV Hits & Smash Hits) and the prestigious Brit Award (the UK “Grammy”) for Best British Newcomer in February 2001, establishing themselves in the front ranks of original and creative pop music.
The guys in a1 have been making music since they hummed their first notes as toddlers. Ben was one of the UK’s top choristers, based at Westminster Abbey and regularly performed for royalty. Paul’s inspiration came from his music-addict dad’s extensive record collection and many nights (mis-)spent in karaoke establishments.
Christian learned his skills accompanying his father who was an enormous seventies pop star in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Both Mark’s parents are musicians and, at the age of 12, he joined their touring band, playing clubs and cruises across the globe. “We all met while pursuing our own careers in the London music scene about four years ago,” Ben remembers. “Christian was studying music at the Paul McCartney Fame School, Mark was doing a lot of gigs with his parents band. Paul had just moved over from Spain–he was doing a lot of karaoke bars over there and he wanted to come to England. And I was actually head chorister of one of the biggest choirs in the U.K., called St. Margaret’s at Westminster Abbey. We were introduced through friends–none of us were really thinking about being in a band at first–but we started writing songs together and it went really well.”
Coming together as a group in 1997, they wrote their first song within 30 minutes and never looked back. With eight UK Top 10 singles, including two # 1’s, consistent Top 3 entries all over the Far East and Scandinavia, numerous gold and platinum awards and nearly two million album sales behind them, a1 has only just begun. Having found success in the UK, Europe and Asia, the group is psyched about bringing a1’s music to American audiences. “America is one of the places we’ve never actually been to,” says Ben. “It’s going to be really, really exciting for us to come over and introduce ourselves all over again to a whole new audience. The most exciting thing for us is to come out there to play live gigs, meet the people, and enjoy the American way of life. We’ve never made it until we’re the best we can possibly be. And we’re always growing, we’re always learning, we’re always trying to get better. But, fingers crossed, everything will go great.”