‘Playing To Win‘
WARNING: Do not write off these four fun-loving young teenagers as just pop wannabes, because you would be doing both them and yourself a huge injustice ! And while it is definitely true that Anaïs Lameche (14), Rosie Munter (14), Faye Hamlin (14) and Anna Sundstrand (13) are still youngsters who love to hang out with their friends, go to the movies, and listen to the latest music, this beyond-cute Swedish pop quartet have little time these days to do anything close to the ‘regular teen’ thing.
Their collective lives right now as recording artists and performers mean that they're busy shooting their own videos, promoting their self-titled debut album for Columbia Records and performing in concert all over America. Having already performed on the "TEENick Presents: Aaron's Party" 2001 tour with Aaron Carter, his sister Leslie and Swedish compatriots the A*Teens, Stockholm-based Play have already begun to attract a lot of attention both from the media and fans alike.
Now co-managed by Mathew Knowles - the renowned guiding force behind Columbia Records supergroup Destiny's Child and founder/CEO of Music World Entertainment - and working with hot hit-making producers Rick Wake, Evans & Sturken, Hit Vision and Anders "BAG" Bagge (who was responsible for bringing them to Sony Music) and Arnthor Birgisson, the members of Play showcase their strong harmonies while sharing lead vocals on various cuts on the album.
But, as previously stated, this is not a cookie-cutter band of cute girls brought together to be taught how to act and look good in front of the cameras. Far from is as first recruit Anna is actually related to the legendary actress Greta Garbo, Rosie’s resume includes the lead role in the Scandinavian hit film, "Eve And Adam" and Anais speaks fluent English and French ! So, as you can see, there is truly more than meets the eye here with these four beautifully talented young proclaimers of a new age of girl power !
Taking some time out with the quartet as they got themselves ready for their performance that night on the A*Teens ‘Pop ‘Til You Drop’ Tour which came to Michigan, the talented quartet lined up before me – save for Rosie who was seated getting her hair done by their stunningly beautiful manager Laila Bagge – ready for any and all questions.
I first wondered where their name had come from. Anaïs ”It was actually Christmas and our manager Laila Bagge bought us all little Christmas presents and there was a game called ‘Play.’ We all thought that was a cute name and it also means play music, play instruments and we feel that it is very important that everybody still has a playful side to them … even adults !”
What are the most important things that you are learning whilst being on the road at such a tender age ? Anaïs ”I think we are really blessed to have started so young doing this. We have a lot of good people surrounding us like our manager and Mathew Knowles and we’ve already been on tour with a lot of other great artists and for starting so young I think it’s really good. We really want to be in this business for a long time. That’s what we REALLY want,” she veritably screams excitedly into the recorder. ”I mean, we’ve toured with Destiny’s Child and we picked up stuff every show and it was very inspirational and we’re picking up stuff every day that we’re touring with people. I mean, starting so young I think it’s easier, because it’s easier to learn stuff when you’re younger.”
You all speak great English. Is English a second language growing up back home ? Faye ”Yeah, almost. Everybody in Sweden talks a lot of English and you start school when you’re seven and right then you start speaking both. So English is like our second language.”
Rosie ”Yeah, we had TV in English and radio and all the songs are always in English also.”
What was it like seeing your CD in the stores for the first time ? Anaïs ”It was really cool just seeing us on the CD cover when our manager brought them home one day. It was cool. I can’t explain how cool it was. It was awesome ! And of course, every time we go into the mall we have to ask them if they have Play,” she and they all laugh. ”We have to make sure they are selling Play.”
Do you get given flowers and other gifts from the male admirers in the front row often ? Rosie ”Erm, yeah we get like roses and things like that, but it’s pretty cool …”
Anaïs ”We’ve got this big bodyguard that takes their stuff,” she jokes. ”No, I’m kidding, it’s all okay. We have a lot of fans and we have children and a lot of other different fans and I mean, every fan they’re cool in their own way.”
Describe the band’s music Anaïs & Anna ”Playful pop … with a touch of R&B”
How personal are some of the songs on the album to you ? Anna ”We’ve got a lot of independent songs with different messages. They all mean something to us and now to our fans.”
What are your favorite songs from the album ? Rosie ”My favorite song is called ‘Cinderella,’ and it’s a very independent song about not sitting and waiting for the Prince to come and save you. You gotta just do something about it,” she laughs.
Anaïs - ”My favorite song is ‘Remember To Forget’ because it’s a very good song and it’s about going on even when a guy’s been bad to you … and I think we do that song really good cappella ! Wanna hear some ?"
It’s at this point of the interview that all four girls – three lined up directly in front of me, Rosie still seated having her hair done – suddenly break into an absolutely breathtaking cappella version of the aforementioned track, ‘Remember To Forget.’ With this now accomplished the interview is brought to a very musical close, my hands literally stinging from the euphoric bout of clapping that I had just done. The girls are beyond talented, beyond beautiful and hopefully beyond all the business pitfalls that can ensnare such fresh talent. I truly wish Play all the best for a continued successful career and enjoyable future.
Interviewed By Russell A. Trunk
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