In May 2001, a new band named Blue released their debut single. Two No.1 albums, three No.1 singles, two BRIT Awards, 5 million albums and 2.9 million singles later, Blue are now officially one of the biggest pop acts not only in the UK, but across the world.
Comprising of London based lads Duncan James (25), Anthony Costa (21), Lee Ryan (20) and Simon Webbe (25), Blue released their first single in May 2001, the anthemic "All Rise", which entered the UK chart at No. 4 and stayed in the Top 10 for five weeks. The next two singles "Too Close" and "If You Come Back" went on to be even bigger hits, both crashing into the chart at No.1 and selling in excess of 200,000 copies each.
The boys followed this massive success with their eagerly anticipated debut album "All Rise", which has now sold over 1.5 million copies in the UK alone, reaching No.1 in the album charts after a phenomenal 23 weeks.
Numerous awards followed including "Best Newcomer" at the BRIT Awards 2002, "Best Newcomer" at the Smash Hits Awards, and "Best Single", "Best Newcomer" and "Best Pop Act" at the Capital FM Awards.
In March 2002 the boys hit the Top 10 with the fourth single from the "All Rise" album, "Fly By II". Reworked and remixed, the track proved to be a massive airplay hit, reaching No.1 in the official airplay chart, and is today still a firm favourite with radio programmers across the country.
After spending the summer touring the globe, November 2002 saw Blue unleash their second album "One Love", a confident collection of classic r'n'b/pop tracks featuring some of the best songwriters and producers around. The album entered the UK album charts at No.1, and has to date sold more than 1.3million copies in the UK, and an amazing 2.7million copies worldwide.
The lead single from the album, title track "One Love", shot straight into the UK Top 3 and provided Blue with their second consecutive No.1 airplay hit. This was quickly followed by another single, a duet with international superstar Elton John on a poignant cover of his 1976 hit 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word'. Released in December 2002 the track entered the chart at No.1, providing Blue with their third UK chart topper.
Following the "One Love" album release Simon, Antony, Lee and Duncan embarked on their first ever tour - a mammoth Arena tour of the UK and Ireland, taking in Sheffield, Cardiff, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester and London's Wembley Arena. The spectacular tour was a sell-out success, with the guys earning rave reviews wherever they played across the country.
Blue ended 2002 on a massive high by picking up another batch of awards including "Best Pop Act" at the TOTP Awards 2002, and "Best UK Band" and "Best Live Act" at the Smash Hits Awards 2002. The boys were also named "Best Band" in the Heat Magazine, Hot Stars Magazine and Daily Star's 'End Of Year' polls.
February 2003 saw the boys steal the show at the 2003 BRIT Awards with an amazing performance of album track "Riders. The band also walked away with another prestigious award, this time for "Best Pop Act". The third single from the "One Love" album, "U Make Me Wanna", followed soon after. Hitting the UK Top 5 in its first week of release, the single featured a gorgeous promo video, shot on a yacht in South Africa, that soon found itself on heavy rotation across all music channels.
Yet more awards followed both at home and abroad as Blue picked up Capital Radio's "Favourite Group", MTV Japan's "Best Pop Video" for "One Love" and MTV Asia's "Best International Group". In addition, Blue's success has not limited UK soil. To date the band have scored big hits and major sales in New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Demark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Ireland.
After a summer spent recording, touring Europe and the Far East and appearing at festivals up and down the UK, the boys from Blue will return this October with a brand new single "Guilty". The track, an emotive and heartfelt ballad written by Duncan with production team, True North, beautifully showcases the smooth vocal talents of the band. With lush strings, soaring harmonies and an indelible melody, "Guilty" creates a pop sound that is both soft and mellow, yet still unmistakably 'Blue'.
With their highly anticipated third album following the single's release this November and another massive UK Arena tour already sold out for November and December, the Blue story looks set to continue long into 2004 and beyond.
This is one rollercoaster ride of success that won't be stopping for some time yet.