JOINING A1 AT THE AGE OF 16
You might remember our guest blogger Ben from his time in a1 - The British boy band who was topping hit lists all over the world during the early 2000s. They reached UK number one with songs like 'Same Old Brand New You' and 'Take On Me', and their very biggest hit was possibly 'Caught In the Middle' which was released in 2002.
So if you were born in the late 80s or early 90s you might have had posters like this one here of the a1 boys up on your wall, and you might have seen them perform on shows like 'Smash Hits' and 'Top of The Pops'.
Ben is the youngest member of a1 and left school at only 16 years old to join the band. He spent his last teenage year traveling around the world performing to thousands of fans, and very rarely had time off where he could see his friends and family.
It's safe to say that Ben had a rather unusual 'high school' experience - and if you scroll further down the post you can read a Q&A with him where he talks about the ups and downs from these years with a1 and more.
THROWING IT BACK TO 2002
Q & A WITH BEN ABOUT HIS TIME IN A1
How did you become a member of a1?
I went for an audition when I was 16 whilst I was still at school doing my GCSE's. They were looking for a boy band with a difference in that they wanted songwriters and strong singers. The trend back then was to find a bunch of model types that could dance, and it didn't really matter if they were musical at all. I always wanted to be a solo artists but something about this project seemed special.
You were one of the worlds biggest boybands at the beginning of the
millennium, traveling around the world performing to millions of fans.
Looking back at these years, what are you best and worst memories of it
My best memories were obviously things like winning the Brit Award, my first number 1, my first tv appearance and things like that. The worst? probably doing schools tours and when we first began traveling around the country in a beaten up Ford Mondeo, squashed in the back and doing horrendous night club ans shopping mall gigs for no money!
Would you do it all over again?
Absolutely! I wouldn't be where I am now if it weren't for a1.
You were only 16 years old when joining the group. Do you think it was
easier or harder for you going through all of this whilst being so
Well, I had to grow up very quickly and learned about business and how it os to work hard, whist all of my friends were still having fun in their teenage years. Not that I didn't have fun, but it was very different from the way that they grew up. In a way I grew up fast but I still feel like I'm 16 in my head now - so I guess I stopped maturing when I left school. I've never had to do a sensible days work in my whole life, or had to deal with any of the same struggles people usually would which I'm very grateful for. Thats not to say there weren't bumps along the way, but think they were different hurdles than what most people face throughout their life.
What is your favorite a1 song?
Caught In the Middle. It's also the biggest hit we ever had and was huge in many territories that we had not managed to break before. Like The US and France.
What is happening with a1 today?
We are still touring all over the world. In fact, we are in the process of planning something very special for our 20th anniversary!
Do you have any advice to young aspiring artists?
Don't give up. Have a VERY thick skin and believe in yourself - If you don't, nobody else will either!