A1 (stylised as a1) are a British–Norwegian pop group that formed in 1998. The line-up consists of Christian Ingebrigtsen, Mark Read and Ben Adams. Original member and founder Paul Marazzi was a member from 1998 until his departure in 2002. Ingebrigtsen is originally from Oslo, Norway, but the other members originate from London.
Their debut single, "Be the First to Believe", entered the UK Singles Chart at number six in mid-1999. They achieved success in the UK and other parts of the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s, particularly Southeast Asia and Japan. In the UK, they scored two number ones and eight top 10 hits, seven of which were written by the band. Adding to this, they also won a BRIT Award for "British Breakthrough Act" in 2001. They were managed by band manager Tim Byrne, who also formed Steps.
Marazzi left the band in 2002, citing personal reasons. The three remaining members subsequently decided to take a break due to exhaustion from being on the road for the best part of four years straight.
In December 2009, Ingebrigtsen, Read and Adams reformed a1, without Marazzi, in Norway for a series of concerts at the Christiania Theatre in Oslo. Since their comeback, they have released new singles as well as their fourth and fifth studio albums, Waiting for Daylight, in 2010, and Rediscovered, in 2012.
In 2014, a1 appeared on the itv2 documentary The Big Reunion along with others bands such as Eternal, Damage, Girl Thing, 3T and a new band called 5th Story, made up of Dane Bowers (from Another Level), Gareth Gates, Kenzie (from Blazin' Squad), Kavana and Adam Rickitt.
Paul Marazzi, who had missed the cut for Steps, met with Tim Byrne in 1998 to talk about forming a second group. Auditions were held where Christian Ingebrigtsen, Mark Read, and Ben Adams were recruited and the band was formed by the management team of Byrne and Vicky Blood.
They signed with Columbia Records in February 1999 and released "Be the First to Believe" in Summer 1999.
In 2000, they achieved two number ones with "Take On Me" and "Same Old Brand New You". The video for their seventh single, "No More", was filmed in Singapore while they were on tour there. In 2001, the band began a massive arena tour of Asia, where they were very well received. During a mall signing in Indonesia, four teenage girls were killed in a stampede. In 2001, Sony Music launched a paid subscription service for a1 called 'Access All Areas', the first for an artist signed to the company. This was an early version of a social network allowing fans to meet and chat online.
Their third album, Make It Good saw a change in direction but was to be their last studio project. On 8 October 2002, Marazzi left the group, citing personal reasons, and a1 subsequently decided to split.
In January 2004 a Best of A1 album was released in Asia; a compilation featuring all of their singles, two previously unreleased concert recordings, and three exclusive B-Sides. In 2009, following Adams' appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, the band released its Greatest Hits in the UK.
In 2005, Adams went on to release his first solo single, "Sorry", which peaked at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. Adams was also due to record an album but parted with his record label. In 2009, he appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother, becoming one of the remaining five housemates. He attracted much attention later that same year when he posed naked for the cover of Attitude.
In 2003, Ingebrigtsen also began a solo career, with his first solo single, "In Love With an Angel", being released in 2004. The single stayed in the Top 10 of the Norway Singles Chart for nearly three months. The song was swiftly followed by "Things Are Gonna Change", which became Ingebrigsten's final solo single before he moved into other areas of show-business.
In 2002, Read focused on becoming a songwriter for other artists, after signing a deal with Metrophonic. Read has written for artists such as Charlotte Church, Boyzone, Michael Bolton, Robin Gibb, and The Hollies. Read released his debut solo single, "Greatest Lady in My Life", on 2 March 2009. His debut solo album, Peace at Last was released in June 2009.
Months after he left the band, Marazzi hosted the Andy Cole Children's Foundation (now All Star Kids) on 26 April 2003 together with Jo Good. He turned down the offer to appear in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2004. In late 2005 he formed a soul/rock band in Sunderland, Northeast England called Snagsby. He left the band in early 2009. Marazzi then went to work in The George Hotel in Whitby as a club DJ.
In November 2008, the remaining members of the band formed a MySpace account to keep fans updated of their current situation. In Summer 2009, the band made an official announcement, stating that not only were they to reform, but they were to play a series of concerts in Oslo in December of that year. Marazzi posted on his Facebook that he wishes them good luck when he found out about his former bandmates' reunion on a TV show in Norway. The announcement also stated that the band's first new single in seven years, "Take You Home", would be released via iTunes in Norway on 2 November. The single entered the Norway Singles Chart at No. 9, based on download sales. It was announced in late 2009 that the band would compete to represent Norway in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, with the band's second single since their reformation, "Don't Wanna Lose You Again". The song peaked at No. 4 on the Norwegian Singles Chart. The band reached the national final of the contest and finished in second place. The band made their official UK comeback on New Year's Eve by performing at the Heaven New Year's Eve Party in London. In March 2010, the band embarked on a worldwide tour that began in Norway, with performances in Oslo, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Bergen, Trondheim and Haugesund. The tour extended to Europe and ROTW in Autumn 2010. The band's first new studio album since 2002 was released on 11 October 2010, and includes the singles "Take You Home", "Don't Wanna Lose You Again", "In Love and I Hate It" and "Waiting for Daylight".
In October 2011, the group appeared on Channel 5's OK TV to promote their British comeback gig at the O2 Academy Islington on 31 October 2011. The gig received positive reviews from sites such as This Must Be Pop and Time Out. On 18 November 2011, the band released a new single, "Another Year Gone". On 28 February 2012, the group performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium with Blue and Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees. The concert was entitled "The Greatest Hits Tour: Blue, Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees and a1 – Live in Singapore." They also visited Jakarta, Indonesia and Manila, Philippines as part of the concert tour. On 8 May 2012, the band announced the release of a new single, "Just Three Words", a duet with Annie Khalid.
In December 2013, it was announced that A1 will be appearing, again without Marazzi, on the itv2 documentary The Big Reunion. In October 2014, A1 with other bands from the TV show Blue, Five, Damage, 3T, 911 and a new band called 5th Story toured together in October 2014, the tour was called The Big Reunion Boy band Tour 2014.
On 3 October 2014, A1 performed on the Norwegian show called "The Hit", they chose to perform the song Critical Love written by Mathilde Johnson and became their newest single after winning.
Their 2 new last albums Waiting for Daylight and Rediscovered were released in UK on 12 June 2015.
A1 will have their comeback concert on October 22, 2016 in Singapore. Their next concert will be on October 23, 2016 at the KIA Theatre, Quezon City, the Philippines and on February 23, 2017 at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City, Philippines.
On 18 March 2001 during a mall signing in Jakarta, Indonesia, four teenage girls were killed in a stampede and two others were reported critical. A spokesman for the group said: "They are devastated and are immediately planning to return to Great Britain. They have cancelled the rest of the tour and their thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed and injured."