Someday in 2013 it will be exactly 25 years ago, since Michael Learns To Rock played their first ever gig in Aarhus in Denmark, the hometown of the band.
Since then lots of classic songs have been rotated from radio stations around the world. Hundreds of concerts have been played and millions of albums have been sold all over the globe. Noteworthy and worth celebrating: Michael Learns To Rock still continues to write and record these characteristic and melodic songs, that keeps them on the road and on air some 25 years on from the beginning.
With a global record sales of 11 million physical albums since the debut album in 1991, more than 6 million payed downloads, estimated 50 million video views on YouTube and more than 1 million plays on Last FM, the story of MLTR is not only the story of the most successful international act ever to come out of Denmark, but also a story of an exception among artists: Opposite many other international acts MLTR’s way to success has never been about scandals, divorce, drugs or an extreme way of living. It has always been about music ! The secret about Michael Learns To Rock is simply their incredible gift to write, record and play great pop songs and get them through to people all over the world.
MLTR was formed in the spring of 1988 by singer and keyboard player JASCHA RICHTER (born 1963) drummer KÅRE WANSCHER (born 1969), guitarist MIKKEL LENTZ (born 1968) and bassplayer SØREN MADSEN (born 1967). In the summer the band wins a local talent competition and start out on a nearly two year long tour around Denmark. Playing wherever possible, winning an ever growing audience and having both the talent, the musical skills and the songs sharpened along the way. After months of hard work in the studio, MLTR releases their debut album “Michael Learns To Rock” in September 1991. Among the fine songs on the album is the smash hit “The Actor” that gets wall-to-wall airplay from the Danish radio stations and helps the album reach the top of the danish sales chart in January 1992. Later that year “The Actor” goes number one on the charts in Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and The Philippines. The next year MLTR tour intensively in Denmark and visit new friends in the far east and along the way Jascha Richter writes the songs for their second album “Colours”, released in October 1993. Great ballads like “Sleeping Child” and “25 Minutes” are the main singles to secure combined albums sales passing the 1 million mark.
MLTR tours Europe and Asia the next couple of years and in 1995 their third album, “Played On Pepper”, is released all over Scandinavia and in Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, France, Italy, Brazil, South Africa, and Japan. The United Arab Emirates and 11 countries in the far east. October that year sees MLTR on a huge Asian tour, with 25 concerts in 10 countries. “That´s Why (You Go Away)” and “Someday” are new hits for MLTR and “Played On Pepper” ends up selling more than 1,2 million albums. In 1996 “Paint My Love” is released. A Greatest Hits album made exclusively for South East Asia. The album ends up selling more than 3,4 million copies – and make the band one of the biggest international acts ever in countries like South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. The uptempo hit “Something You Should Know” leads the way for MLTRs fourth studio album “Nothing To Lose”, released in ´97. The albums turns the band into superstars in South Africa, and when MLTR in January ´98 plays in Johannesburg and Pretoria, the critics write: “This is as good (if not better !) a band as any current big name group out of America or the UK.”
“Greatest Hits” is the well chosen title for an international collection of MLTR-hits, out in 1999. Same year Søren Madsen leaves MLTR. Kåre, Jascha and Mikkel decide to continue as a trio, releasing Michael Learns To Rocks fifth studio album “Blue Night” in 2000. Early 2001 MLTR embarks on a five week tour including Dubai, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and China. The tour is promoting the compilation “19 Love Songs”, only released in the far east and including new single “The Ghost Of You”. 2002 is a year off from the band, for the three remaining members of MLTR, all working on individual projects, including the first solo-album from Jascha, “Planet Blue”.
In 2004 the sixth studio album is released. Originally titled “Michael Learns To Rock” and later released in the far east as “Take Me To Your Heart”, named after the albums leading single, a remake of popular Chinese singer Jacky Cheung´s “Goodbye Kiss”. 2005 sees the band back in the east, playing concerts in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and China (a gig in the pit during the Formula 1 race in Shanghai). MLTR is also returning to India for the first time since 1996, with shows in Bangalore, Mumbai and Shillong. “Take Me To Your Heart” ends up becoming another huge hit of MLTR – and by the end of 2006 it´s rewarded with the prize of “Most downloaded song of 2006″, after more than 6 million paid downloads.
In 2007 MLTR releases “The Live Adventures of Michael Learns to Rock” – a tour de force of hit singles played live. The seventh studio album “Eternity” is out in 2008, the first album with sole production of Mikkel Lentz. The album included the Thailand #1 single “Sweetest Surprise” and the more surprising asian hit “It´s Gonna Make Sense”, getting very popular when used in Philippine reality show “Pinoy Big Brother”. To mark their northern roots, studio album number eight is titled “Scandinavia”. Released in 2012 it comes with new potential classics as “Renovate My Life” and “Any Way You Want It” (with the video shot in Kathmandu, Nepal).
From 2007 – 2012 Michael Learns to Rock have played another 87 concerts in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Denmark, China, India and Singapore. And more than 20 years into their career, new markets are still opening for the band, with first time concerts in Nepal (2011) and Bangladesh (2012). The total of MLTR-concerts is now up to nearly 500 during the career – and there is no sign of them stopping …