|Also known as||Marit & Marion|
|Genres||Pop, teen pop, pop rock, alternative rock|
|Instruments||Acoustic guitar, piano and vocals|
|Labels||Atlantic, Warner Music Norway|
M2M was a Norwegian pop music duo comprising Marion Raven and Marit Larsen. Raven and Larsen had been friends since the age of five, and formed their first band when they were eight. They released a children's album under the name "Marion & Marit", which was nominated for a Spellemannprisen award when they were 12. They later changed their name to M2M and were signed to Atlantic Records in 1998. M2M were frequently praised for writing most of their songs and performing their own instruments, something which was considered to set them aside from the majority of teen pop music artists.
Their debut single, Don't Say You Love Me (1999), was both a critical and commercial success, and remained their biggest hit. Their debut album, Shades of Purple (2000), was critically acclaimed and sold over 1.5 million units worldwide. Despite critical acclaim, their second album, The Big Room (2002), did not perform as well commercially, and the duo broke up the year of its release, with each pursuing a solo career. A 'best of' album, The Day You Went Away: The Best of M2M (2003) was released after they disbanded. M2M sold over 2 million albums.
Marion Raven and Marit Larsen come from Lørenskog in the district east of Oslo. They became friends at age five, and formed their own band when they were eight, naming it "Hubba Bubba" after their favourite bubblegum. However, when they released a children's album, Synger Kjente Barnesanger, they used the band name "Marit & Marion". The album was nominated for a Spellemannprisen award when they were both 12-years-old. They later decided to shorten the name to M&M, though decided against that due to the candy that uses that name. Instead, they held a competition for fans to come up with a name, and one girl suggested M2M.
M2M began writing pop songs and sent demo recordings out; one of the demo's ended up at Atlantic Records and they were signed to a worldwide contract in 1998. The group's first single, Don't Say You Love Me, was featured in the closing credits of the film Pokémon: The First Movie and was chosen as the lead single from the film's soundtrack. Promoted by a "nonstop marketing effort", advanced airing on Radio Disney and the affiliation with Pokémon, the single was very successful. It charted in over a dozen countries, including at No. 2 in Norway. It was certified gold in both Australia and the US, and was nominated for the year's best song at the 2000 Spellemannprisen awards. In November 1999 M2M performed the song on the episode "Band on the Run" of the TV series One World. The duo released their debut album, Shades of Purple, in early 2000. It was well received critically, and reached No. 7 in Norway, No. 89 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Top Heatseekers chart. The second single from the album, Mirror Mirror, was certified gold in the US. A third single, Everything You Do, reached No. 21 on the US Hot Dance Singles Sales. The track The Day You Went Away was distributed as a promotional recording in Mexico.
Throughout 2000 M2M appeared on episodes of All That, Top of the Pops, Say What? Karaoke and MTV's Hot Zone. M2M performed live at Walt Disney Worlds Epcot park on 12 February 2000. Their performance was recorded and appeared on an episode of Disney Channel in Concert on 29 April, which focused on both M2M and BBMak. In April 2000 they had to cancel a free concert in Arlington Heights, Illinois, as they were obligated to return to Norway to meet high-schooling commitments. In September that year, they toured the US with Hanson, performing as the boys' opening act. Despite having sold over 1 million copies of Shades of Purple and over 1.5 million singles by September 2000, M2M were still considered a risk by their investors, who had not recuperated the downpayment they had made to promote the duo. In 2001 they were featured in Atlantic Records' "Teensation" concerts.
In 2002, the duo returned with a more mature, less pop-oriented sound with their second album, The Big Room. The first single from the album was Everything, which reached No. 6 in Norway, No. 27 in Australia and No. 44 New Zealand. The second single, "What You Do About Me", was less successful, only charting at No. 46 in Australia. The track "Don't" was released in the US-only as a promo single. The promotion for their second album including appearing on the 100th episode of Dawson's Creek. That year, they also took part in the Pantene Pro-Voice concert series, a talent competition that promoted young, female songwriters in the United States. In 2002 M2M were chosen as the opening act for Jewel's "This Way" tour, which commenced on 14 June.
Despite The Big Room being critically acclaimed, it was not as commercially successful as their first album, attributed in part to a lucklustre promotion campaign by Atlantic Records. In mid July, half way through their tour with Jewel, M2M were removed as the opening act by Atlantic, who cited disappointing sales of The Big Room, which at that time had only sold around 100,000 units in the US. Shocked and disappointed by the decision, M2M returned to Norway. Raven was immediately offered a solo record contract from Atlantic US, though the offer was later revoked. Interviewed in 2013, Raven said that her and Larsen had always agreed they would keep the band together as long as they were having a good time, and they ended because it was not fun anymore. Interviewed in 2007, Larsen said of the break-up: "Let me put it this way: when we decided it had to end, it really had to end. The ending was very peaceful, so it was not dramatic at all, but the time before it definitely led up to that. ... we started to pull each other in different directions, because I wanted to make really good pop music and Marion wanted to go rock, and do our little things."
A 'best of' album, The Day You Went Away: The Best of M2M, was released in 2003. In 2005, Raven released her debut solo album Here I Am, and in 2006 Larsen released her debut solo album, Under the Surface. Both singers have continued their careers as solo artists, going by their own names. M2M sold over 2 million albums.
Critical response and musical style
M2M wrote many of their own songs and played their own instruments, even when performing live, which is considered rare amongst teen pop artists. In 1999 Ron Shapiro from Atlantic Records said "What was extraordinary about them from the beginning was that they had an incredibly accessible pop sound and contemporary visual for what's happening today, coupled with a truly organic songwriting and musical instrument prowess. It was like crossing the greatest pop-crafted artist and material with some of the more significant critically acclaimed singers/songwriters/musicians, all in one. It's rare to find truly mainstream contemporary pop artists today who are also extremely skilled live performance artists and talented songwriters". In 1999 Stephanie McGrath from AllPop.com said M2M's music "breathes fresh, brusque Norwegian air into the world of pop music dominated by Britney Spears wanna-bes and Orlando-born boy bands" adding "Instead of singing about true love forever or candy or getting hit one more time, they sing about taking things slow or not betraying your friends." Reviewing Shades of Purple, Michael Paoletta from Billboard said the album's tracks showed a "seasoned singing style that is, quite frankly, the antithesis of teen sensations like Britney Spears", concluding "Beautifully sun-kissed, Shades of Purple is poised to be the soundtrack of spring/summer 2000.
M2M recorded The Big Room in just six days, saying they wanted to be like The Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel, who also recorded their albums quickly. Commenting on The Big Room, Karen Tye from the Herald Sun praised M2M for using "down-to-earh tunes and thoughtful lyrics" instead of revealing outfits to propel them into the limelight, unlike many of their pop counterparts. M2M described their second album as "organic pop", as they used all real instruments, while most pop albums use computerised ones.
|Year||Album details||Chart positions|| Certifications|
|2000|| Shades of Purple
|2002|| The Big Room
|2003||The Day You Went Away: The Best of M2M
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions|| Certifications
|1999||"Don't Say You Love Me"||2||4||31||12||21||16||4||17||16||21||—||Shades of Purple|
|"Everything You Do"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||21|
|2002||"Everything"||6||27||—||—||—||—||44||—||—||—||—||The Big Room|
|"What You Do About Me"||—||46||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
- M2M was nominated for the "Best Song" category and won the "Best German Group" honors at Comet 2003.
- In June 2000, M2M was named "Discovery of the Year" by the Singapore Radio Association.
- M2M was nominated for the "Best Pop Album" (Shades of Purple) and "Song of the Year" (Don't Say You Love Me) at the 2000 Spelleman Awards.
- M2M was nominated for the "Best Group" award at the 2001 Spelleman Awards.
- M2M was nominated for the "Favorite Pop Act" at the 2002 MTV Asia Awards.
- M2M and their song "Everything" were nominated for the "Best International Artist" award at the 2001 Mnet Asian Music Awards.
- Taylor, Chuck (27 November 1999). "Atlantic's M2M aims for kid, adult appeal". Billboard. 111 (48): 15, 98.
- "Sounds From the Big Room". The Sunday Mail. Brisbane. 30 June 2002. p. Brisbane.
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- Barry A. Jeckell (1 March 2002). "Jewel Takes Labelmate M2M On The Road". Billboard. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
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- M2M official website at Wayback Machine
- Marit Larsen official website
- Marit Larsen official MySpace
- Marion Raven official website
- Marion Raven official MySpace
- US chart history