Mark Read is a singer/songwriter best known as a member of the British-Norwegian band A1, but his experience as a musician and performer goes way back to his childhood, growing up in a very musical family. With his dad being part of a rock and roll band, the Wild Angels, his mum a successful pianist and drummer, and grandmother one of the original 60s Tiller Girls on Sunday Night at the Palladium. Mark started playing piano at age 3 and took to the stage for the very first time at age 7, but it was at age 19 when he had his first big break by being part of A1.
Formed in 1998 by the same management team as Steps, their debut single ‘Be The First To Believe’ entered the UK Singles Chart at number six in mid-1999, they followed it up with a string of top 5 hits, before hitting the no.1 spot with their cover of A-ha’s classic ‘Take on Me’. They went on to have many International top 10 and no.1 hits including ‘Same Old Brand New You’, ‘No More’ and Worldwide radio smash ‘Caught in the Middle’. They achieved great success in the UK and Europe, winning countless awards, including MTV, Smash Hits, and a Brit award for Best British breakthrough act in 2001. The band also amounted a huge following across South East Asia and Japan.
After an extensive tour of Asia in 2001, A1 took a short hiatus before returning to the UK charts with a new sound and style, gone were the dance routines and out came the instruments as ‘Caught in the Middle’ from their third album ‘Make it Good’, produced by U2 and Travis producer Mike Hedges would give A1 their biggest radio hit. This opened the door to the US market, as the song gained momentum in the American radio charts. Unfortunately, this momentum would be cut short in October 8th 2002 when band member Paul left the group, citing personal reasons. Soon after, the remaining members, Ben, Mark and Christian decided to take a break after continuously being on the road for four years straight.
To date, A1 have released 5 studio albums and 2 Greatest Hits albums, and have amassed record sales of nearly 10 million Worldwide. In 2014, A1 joined ITVs hugely popular show The Big Reunion, where they would reveal what really happened behind closed doors, this led to a UK arena tour in October 2014, which has reignited A1s fan base after several years away from the UK.
Outside of A1 Mark has written songs for a number of International artists including Michael Bolton, Boyzone, The Hollies, John Barrowman and Charlotte Church as well as lending his vocals and piano playing skills to numerous album projects including video game Little Big Planet & film soundtracks including Harry Potter as well as many XFactor and Britains Got Talent winners and finalists.
As a songwriter, Marks proudest moment to date was having a song he co-wrote, ‘We Will Remember Them’ chosen to be recorded by an All Star cast of artists including Michael Bolton, Robin Gibb and Paul Carrack to name a few, to raise money for Help for Heroes and Royal British Legion. Mark also performed the song to a rousing ovation at the Royal Albert Hall in 2009.
A few years ago Mark produced and co-wrote the entire soundtrack to a fun family musical version of the Noah story. Noah a Musical Adventure, it had a successful UK tour in 2014 and returned to the stage in 2015.
“I was born to play and make music and hopefully entertain a few people along the way..or even just make them smile because I still do the occasional dance routine in my 30s! How did that happen?!
I write, play & sing on A1 albums (good road music) my own & lots of other people’s as well, I love collaborating with all walks of life and interesting characters who help keep life fun & exciting.
Life’s opened many doors for me so far, which has kept me positive and optimistic about whatever’s around the next corner. I possibly should’ve grown up long ago, and had it figured out by now, but I’m having way too much fun seeking new challenges and seemingly unattainable goals, but I’ve never stopped long enough to wonder whether I can or can’t do it. ‘Do. or Do Not. There is no Try’. (Star Wars geek as well..of course)
You can find me on pretty much all of the (anti) Social media platforms from Twitter to Instagram that make people stare at their phones all day..but don’t forget..it’s good to talk!”