M2M was the Norwegian singer songwriter duo of Marit Larsen and Marion Ravn. The duo grew up in the same village, Lørenskog, outside of Oslo. They met at age 5 and started performing together at age 8. Prior to their international pop stardom, the two recorded a children's album. This garnered them a “Best Children’s Album” nomination for the Spillemanspriset, the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy Award.
In 1999, the pair recorded 'Don't Say You Love Me' for Pokemon: The First Movie. International fame followed. The single went to #1 in ten countries: Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Korea, Norway, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. It was certified gold in Australia and New Zealand, and went to #5 in the USA.
Scandinavian hit maker Max Martin of Backstreet Boys and Britney Spear's 'Baby (One More Time)' fame contributed to M2M's debut record. However, unlike Martin's other teenage projects, the 15 and 16 year-old Ravn and Larsen were already artists in their own right. Larsen and Ravn had been performing professionally for a decade: playing their own instruments and wroting their own songs.
On the first record, Marit trades vocal duties with Marion, and also plays guitar. On the second record and in performances, Marion plays piano and has lead vocal duties. Marion's maturing voice and strong stage presence led to a solo recording contract. On both records, the duo writes more than three-quarters of their own songs.
1999's Shades of Purple hit a chord with teens across the world. Five singles were issued off the album. 'Everything You Do' was an international hit. Like fellow Scandinavian's ABBA, M2M released the single in a number of languages including Spanish. The record received 3 1/2 stars in Rolling Stone.
The second record was a more mature-sounding and self-directed effort. With more original songs, riskier arrangements and a stronger individual vocal performance by Marion Ravn, The Big Room was poised to be a breakout album. Instead, the group and its record company had trouble finding a niche between early and late teen youth groups.On its Shades of Purple tour, M2M was paired with teen heartthrobs Hanson. On the The Big Room tour, M2M opened for Jewel's older pop/folk audience.
Despite The Big Room being a more critically acclaimed record than its predecessor, it was less commercially successful. M2M saw its record company support wane. As the result of disappointing record sales, M2M was pulled in the middle of Jewel's This Way tour. Incidentally, this wasn't one of Jewel's more commercially successful records, with only one hit single, 'Standing Still.'
M2M may have been the source of its own demise. In a New Zealand interview, Larsen reports that Jewel came to one of their NYC shows. She met them backstage and asked them to perform on her tour. 'No agents were involved,' Larsen states.
Shortly after the Jewel tour debacle, M2M was history. Marion Ravn was immediately signed to a big record contract. Marit Larsen went to finish school. As of early 2005, Ravn has a record in the can that she recorded at Bearsville Studio, while Larsen has just started performing live shows again.
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