Blue have proven to be the success story of 2001.
Their debut single "All Rise" entered the UK chart at No. 4, becoming a major radio hit and staying in the top ten for five weeks. Their second single "Too Close" went on to be an even bigger hit, crashing into the chart at No. 1 at the beginning of September. Both singles have gone silver, selling in excess of 200,000 copies. This November they release a third single, a beautiful pop/r'n'b classic entitled "If You Come Back", followed by their long awaited debut album "All Rise".
Blue comprises of London based lads Duncan James (22), Antony Costa (20), Lee Ryan (18) and Simon Webbe (22). The boys got together early last year when Duncan and Antony decided to form a vocal group, enlisting Lee (whom they had seen on the audition circuit and regarded as the best singer around) and his flatmate Simon to make up the numbers. Vocally, the four soon realised they had something special going on, and both management and a deal with Virgin's Innocent Records quickly followed.
Their debut album "All Rise" is a confident collection of classic r'n'b tunes that is sure to cement their position as the hottest new act to emerge from the UK in 2001.
The album was recorded in the UK and Norway with a variety of top producers including the inimitable Stargate and Ray Ruffin (son of Motown legend Jimmy Ruffin). The album showcases the boy's amazingly mature vocal delivery. Tracks range from the infectious and hook laden swing of "All Rise", "Fly By" and "This Temptation", to the heartfelt smooth grooves of "Long Time" and "Best In Me".
Duncan says: "This has been a crazy and exciting year for Blue and we're totally blown away by the success we've had so far. We've worked really hard to produce an album that we are all proud of. All we want to do is perform decent songs with tough grooves and soulful vocals."
Duncan 'Dunk' James
Duncan was born on 7th April 1979 and lived in Dorset with his mother until he was thirteen, when they relocated to Sidmouth in South Devon. After studying drama for 'A' Level, Duncan realised he 'had a voice' and took his newly discovered singing talents to holiday resorts where he performed with a spate of embryonic bands, which he says were 'perfect for cutting your teeth on but no more than that!' Thankfully, Duncan left the world of 'average' bands when he met fellow Blue member Antony.
Born on 23rd June 1981 and brought up in Middlesex and North London respectively, Antony had a very impressive CV (for a nineteen year old) before he joined Blue. He previously had roles in Grange Hill and The Bill ('for some reason I always seem to play the parts of cheeky little thugs!') and played the lead in the hit BBC sitcom Chalk. Although Antony had a natural singing voice, he had never deemed it a serious career option until he met Duncan.
Lee, the youngster of the band was born on 17th June 1983 and is a South East London boy. Brought up in Blackheath, he studied at drama school, but hated his teachers, 'They're always trying to steer you towards West End musicals - and the last thing I wanna do is some cheesy big band number!' Having decided this, Lee began to attend auditions and after bit parts in Holby City, met Duncan and the others.
Simon Solo Webbe
Simon, the oldest of the band, was born on 30th March 1979 in Manchester. For years, Simon had his heart set on being a professional footballer and was signed to Port Vale, before being poached by Stoke City. This was after he'd been approached by Derby County, Birmingham City, Liverpool and Shrewsbury Town. Musically, Simon had occasionally rapped with Birmingham-based hip hop group 'Criminal Damage', before he eventually decided to quit the football industry and move down to London to join Blue.