If you've ever fallen in love, looked for love or lost a love, you've got something in common with the young ladies of
the Swedish pop quartet, Play. On Play's first full-length album, Replay, the Stockholm-based group--comprised
of Anaïs Lameche, Anna Sundstrand, Rosie Munter, and Faye Hamlin--uses luscious pop harmonies and sweet R&B grooves to
explore the uncertainty, longing and excitement of first love.
No song in recent memory rings so true about the scary transition between adolescence and adulthood as the first single,
"I Must Not Chase The Boys." This irresistible track, which lyrically pits the caution of a good girl against the temptations
of first love, sets the stage for the group to confidently show off their vocal finesse. "All of us sing lead," says Anaïs.
"It just varies from song to song."
Other tracks on Replay reveal the diversity of Play's musical evolution. The lush pop confection "Let's Get
To The Love Part," with its layers of sweet harmony, lets the group soar in its playful, insistent chorus. "It's pop with
a touch of R&B," explains Faye. Another standout track, "Whole Again," finds the singers seamlessly blending their angelic
voices in a wistful ballad. The song is the first single being serviced to Radio Disney along with an accompanying video by
director Sasha Levinson.
Play is co-managed by Mathew Knowles--the founder/CEO of Music World Entertainment and the guiding light behind Play's
labelmates in Destiny's Child--and the group's Swedish founder Laila Bagge. Play recorded Replay in New York,
Los Angeles, Miami and Sweden. Richie Jones (Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Anastacia) produced three songs on the album ("Just
a Little," "Whole Again," and "What is Love?"). Other producers contributing to the disc include Ric Wake (Jennifer Lopez,
Mariah Carey), Desmond Child and Andreas Carlsson, Bill Padley and Jem Godfrey, Hitvision, Blaze Billions and Twin. Songwriter
Kara DioGuardi (Celine Dion, Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin) penned the track "What Is Love?" for Play and supplied backing vocals
on several songs.
Replay kicks off another sensational year for the Swedish songsters, who achieved gold certification from
the Recording Industry Association of America with their self-titled mini-album in June 2002. That disc hit #2 on the Billboard
Heatseekers new album chart and became the #1 selling item at Limited Too shops chainwide for six weeks that summer. The group's
first single, the spirited pop anthem, "Us Against The World," topped Nickelodeon's online fan-based program "Nick Picks"
several times. Play scored an additional hit on Radio Disney with "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," a gorgeous remake of the Motown
classic featuring Chris Trousdale of Dream Street. The group also dueted with Lil Fizz of the group B2K for "M.A.S.T.E.R.,
Part 2" a single from the soundtrack of The Master Of Disguise – Music From the Motion Picture. A Play home video,
Playin' Around The World, was released on DVD and VHS in the first quarter of 2003.
In addition to a European tour opening for Destiny's Child, Play have logged many miles across North America. Stateside
audiences first got a peek at Play in the summer of 2001 on the "TEENick Presents: Aaron's Party," a multi-act tour featuring
Aaron Carter. Next, Play shared the bill with rising star Solange and Devin on the Young Pop Power Tour sponsored by L.E.I.
Jeans/Davidoff Cool Water in March 2002. The summer of 2002 was also spent on tour: Play headlined Limited Too's Passion for
Fashion show and then hit the road with the A-Teens and Baha Men. Play capped 2002 by performing "I'm Gonna Make You Love
Me" at New York's Herald Square during the 76th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The teens cruised the 2 ½ mile parade
route on a float sponsored by Build-A-Bear Workshop.
The four young ladies of Play came together a few years ago through a combination of talent, shared influences and good
fortune. As schoolgirls in their native Sweden, all four had been active in dance, musicals and talent competitions. The early
influences they most frequently cite include Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and the Swedish
Anna and Anaïs were discovered by co-manager Laila Bagge through the dance school the girls attended. Both had appeared
in musicals and displayed natural talent far beyond their years. Meanwhile, Faye and Rosie--best friends and classmates at
school--auditioned separately for Laila and were overjoyed to discover that they'd both been selected from some 700 hopefuls
to join Play.
By early 2001, Play were working with famed Swedish producer Anders "BAG" Bagge (Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson), who
produced many of the tracks on their debut. He brought the act to the attention of Columbia Records, which signed Play based
on the strength of an audition performed halfway across the world. "We sang over the phone and I guess they liked what they
heard," explains Anaïs.
Although the young women of Play blend their voices seamlessly, their personalities are quite distinct. Anna, the group's
youngest member, is "the cute one," who, prior to joining Play, appeared in the musical Annie. This petite teenager, a relative
of screen legend Greta Garbo, is famous for her upbeat, enthusiastic personality. She respects the music of Michael Jackson
and Justin Timberlake and enjoys swimming, horseback riding and surfing the Internet in her free time.
Anaïs, the group's only brunette, is "the wild one" who isn't afraid of expressing her opinion. She comes from a musical
family and cites her mother and sister as her biggest musical influences. Prior to joining Play, she performed the role of
Rizzo in the musical Grease. "I really wanted to have a singing career rather than a theater career," she says. "All four
of us feel the same way." Yet despite all her ambition and success, Anaïs remains a typical teenager who admits that she's
never far from her cell phone.
Faye, who cites singer Alicia Keyes as an influence, is "the cool one." She won a national talent competition at age 11
and studied dance for several years. A fan of rap, she delights in the music of Bow Wow and Ja Rule. Faye never leaves home
without her favorite lip gloss or starts a tour without her good luck mascot, a stuffed giraffe.
Finally, there's Rosie, the teen christened "the funny one" by her fellow members of Play. Before setting her sights on
a singing career, Rosie made her screen debut with a lead role in the Scandinavian hit film, "Eve and Adam." Musically, she
enjoys the rock licks of The Strokes and The Hives, who are also a Swedish import. Like Anaïs, Rosie is very attached to her
A few years ago when Play first leapt onto the music scene, its members were four youngsters with stunning voices and promising
futures. Today, Play fulfills its potential as it blossoms into a group that delivers memorable tracks filled with all the
passion and poignancy of first love. With Replay, Play declares that playtime is over, but the fun has only
At first glance, you might think that the four members of Play are just four young women who like to pursue the usual activities
associated with teens. And while it's true that Anaïs Lameche, Rosie Munter, Faye Hamlin and Anna Sundstrand are still young
teenagers who love to hang out with their friends, go to the movies, listen to the latest music and watch the newest videos,
the Swedish pop quartet have little time these days to do the regular teen thing. Rather, as recording artists and performers,
they're busy shooting their own videos, promoting their self-titled debut album for Columbia Records and performing in concert.
In the fall of 2001, Play performed on the "TEENick Presents: Aaron's Party" tour with Aaron Carter, his sister Leslie and
Swedish compatriots the A*Teens and started creating a real buzz among young audiences who were impressed with the group's
collective energy and vocal skills. With all this exciting activity, the members are certainly not complaining! "It was so
cool being on the tour bus and going from city to city," says Anaïs. "And we all love to be in the studio," adds Anna with
a grin. "It's always a lot of fun!"
Fun is one of the main ingredients evident in this Stockholm-based group's impressive debut album: from a hip, contemporary
version of Olivia Newton-John's '70s classic "Hopelessly Devoted To You" (from the film "Grease") to the infectious "Us Against
The World" (the first single from the album), Play delivers music with a decidedly universal appeal. Key cuts on the album
include the heartfelt ballad "Watch Me Now" and the standout track "Disco Hippie" with its retro party flavor, a lyric line
borrowed from UK legends The Kinks' classic "You Really Got Me" coupled some fab vocal harmonies from the group. "It's pop
with a touch of R&B," says Faye. Rosie adds that lyrically, "our record is 'girl talk,' the kind of things that we girls
talk about with each other. Of course, it's great for the guys too -- by listening to our songs, they get to find out more
about us and what we're thinking!"
As a prime example, Faye mentions the mid-tempo "Boys Lie" which she says "is all about guys lying so they can get what
they want. And," she grins as she turns to Anaïs, Rosie and Anna, "we don't like that, do we girls?" In unison, all three
respond: "No, we don't -- and if we ever run into that situation with guys," the four smile as they raise their hands, "we
say 'talk to the hand!'"
Now co-managed by Mathew Knowles--the renowned guiding force behind Columbia Records supergroup Destiny's Child, founder/CEO
of Music World Entertainment--and working with hot hitmaking 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. Most of the album was recorded in Sweden (with the
exception of tracks--including the R&B-flavored "I Don't Get Down Like That"--cut with Evans & Sturken in New York
). Wake produced "Cinderella," a song that Rosie says "is about being strong and independent and realizing that you have to
depend on yourself. It's about the fairytale character but asking the question, 'what if the prince doesn't come along?'"
While no romantic princes are in sight for the four talented performers, the members of Play have certainly had their share
of good fortune in the last couple of years. All four have been singing for as far back as they can remember and each mentions
similar influences including Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Swedish star Carola. Anna--who
is related to legendary actress Greta Garbo--was the first member of Play and she explains, with a smile, "I was studying
in a dance school and that's where our co-manager Laila (Bagge) first saw me. I won a local talent contest when I was ten
and I had been in a musical. When Laila saw me, she asked me if I wanted to be in a group and I said yes!"
The next recruit was Anaïs, who regards her mother and sister as her biggest musical inspirations. "I was in the same dance
school as Anna and I had also been in a musical. Laila thought I sounded good so she asked me to be a part of Play." Eager
to get just the right sound, Laila held auditions to find two more vocally strong female singers. Out of some 700 hopefuls,
she choose Rosie--whose resume included the lead role in the Scandinavian hit film, "Eve And Adam"--and Faye, who had won
a national talent contest when she was eleven. Coincidentally and unbeknownst to Laila, the two girls were classmates and
When all four got together for the first time, the musical magic was instantly evident and during rehearsal and practice
one day fate stepped in. Producer Bagge (known for his work with Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, 98 Degrees, Samantha Mumba
and others) was at the Play rehearsal and, as Rosie recalls, "He was on the phone with Tommy Mottola (Chairman and CEO of
Sony Music Entertainment). He heard us singing in the background over the phone and he asked Anders who was singing." Remembering
the scene vividly, Anna continues, "Anders came in with the phone and asked if we could sing for Tommy Mottola and we started
freaking out!" Anaïs adds, "We sang for him over the phone and I guess he liked what he heard because he said, 'welcome to
the Sony family!'"
After seeing a demo video of the group, Mottola signed Play to Columbia and the group began working with Bagge and partner
Arnthor Birgisson on the song, "Us Against The World" (co-written by the pair with Samantha Mumba and Anaïs' sister Amanda).
"It was a very good start for us," says Anaïs. "It's a song about friendship, about sticking together as a team. It was perfect
Work continued on the album through the summer of 2001 with Play benefiting from the hitmaking experience of producers
like Bagge and other Swedish production teams like Murlyn Music's Hit Vision. "I think American artists like Britney and 98
Degrees come to Sweden because we have such great producers," says Anaïs. "People like Anders and Arnthor and Max Martin are
While huge fans of U.S. stars like Columbia labelmates Destiny's Child, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet
Boys, Joe, Aaron Carter, Destiny's Child and U.K. sensation Craig David, the members of Play feel like they have something
unique to offer. "We don't feel like we're competing with anyone else," says Rosie, "because we do have our own thing. We
can't wait for American audiences to hear what we have to offer."
Though none of the group has boyfriends ("we're too busy working and going to school!"), Anaïs admits to a major crush
on rap star Lil Bow Wow, confessing that if she met him, "I wouldn't know what to say or do!" Faye thinks the young rapper
is "cute" while Rosie expresses similar feelings for superstar Usher who she thinks is also "cool." When the subject of boys
comes up, Anna giggles, stating that her interests are more in "swimming, riding horses and playing on the computer."
Asked to describe each other, Anaïs says Rosie is "crazy in a funny way!" while Rosie says Faye "is the cool one, who likes
to chill." Anna thinks Anaïs is "the wild one, the party girl" while Faye declares that Anna is "the cute one, happy all the
Certainly, with Play ready to hit the streets, the group's members are more than happy: "We chose our name because it stands
for something playful, and we think everyone has the right to play, even when they're grown up." With that kind of philosophy
and the mainstream pop appeal of standout tracks like "Never Neverland," "Is It Love," "Remember To Forget" and "To Live And
To Die For," Play is ready to show the world that the group means business!