A1’s Christian Ingebrigtsen on the challenge of going solo

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Christian Ingebrigtsen

One of the things that set A1 apart from other 1990s and early 2000s boy groups, singer Christian Ingebrigtsen said, was that its discography was almost entirely written by him and his band mates, Ben Adams, Mark Read and former member Paul Marrazi.

They probably were not the best dancers, performers or even the most good-looking  back then, but the men of A1, Christian pointed out, were all “musicians at heart.”

And throughout his stay with A1, which debuted in 1999 and produced such hits as “Like a Rose” and “Same Old Brand New You,” the Norwegian recording artist has written numerous songs—not all of which made it into A1’s albums.

Now, he’s releasing some of those in his fourth and latest solo album, “Got to Be,” under Incicon Label.

In this recent phone interview with the Inquirer, Christian talked about his solo record and A1’s concerts in Manila last year:

Tell us about your solo album. I have written a lot of material over the past 15 years, but some of them didn’t fit the A1 mold or style.

“Got to Be” contains songs dear to me that I have yet to release. And I want to share them with the fans; I want to get the music out there. I didn’t write them to make a hit—they’re just straight from the heart.

How do the songs differ from your A1 material? My influences have always been Elton John, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel and the like.

But, I also love country music. I listen to Garth Brooks and Rascal Flatts, so it’s pure pop mixed with country influences.

What is the challenge of going solo? When you have a bad day onstage, you’re on your own—there’s no one else to lean on.

But, I’m so blessed that I’m able to do both. I can hold concerts and sing my own songs, and then do shows with A1.

You also write songs for other artists. Who’s your dream collaborator? Ed Sheeran. I’m a fan of his music, so I think that would be pretty cool.

Is there anything in your album which you think will really connect with the Filipinos? I have heard Filipinos are into love and breakup songs. So, I think “Break Me” could be it. It’s pop-sounding, but has a cinematic feel to it, with music from an orchestra …

I grew up playing the violin. My grandfather was a violinist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And it has always been a dream to write music for a film. I got to do a bit of that in this song.

You did a concert with A1 in the Philippines last year. How was that visit? It’s always very special coming to the Philippines. You have such dedicated and wonderful fans. We felt very special the moment we arrived at the airport.

Some of our songs that are dearest to me—that weren’t necessarily hits in Europe— have somehow struck a chord with the hearts of Filipino fans. It’s great when we do concerts over there—an entire nation that knows the words and melodies that started in our heads.

How does it feel that, after all these years, A1 songs are still popular among Filipinos? I feel happy and blessed that after so many years, our songs still mean something to people across the planet.

When we find out that our songs were used in a wedding or any special occasion, we live for that. That kind of story makes it all worthwhile—the long hours, the traveling, and all the hard work.

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