Play was a Swedish dance-pop quartet originally comprised of Rosanna Munter (aka Rosie, born 1987), who played a lead role in the movie Eve and Adam; teen fashion model Faye Hamlin (born 1987); legendary actress Greta Garbo's relative Anna Sundstrand (born 1989); and pop singer Amanda's sister Anais Lameche (born 1987). The girls were chosen after a casting call conducted by Laila Bagge, wife of writer/producer Anders Bagge (aka Bag), who brought the young group to Sony Music. After performing live as part of the 2001 TeeNick Presents: Aaron's Party Tour, Play debuted in the U.S. with the release of a single called "Us Against the World," followed by their self-titled debut album in June 2002. Play hit number 74 on the Billboard Top 200 shortly after its release, and the group made numerous performances throughout North America on the strength of a partnership with the clothing store Limited Too.
Play's second album, 2003's Replay, climbed even higher on the charts, debuting at number 67 and remaining in the Billboard Top 200 for several months. Boasting an R&B-soaked sound and featuring Hamlin as the lead singer, the album made an even bigger splash when the video for "I Must Not Chase the Boys" made its way onto MTV's TRL countdown. A flurry of live performances and television appearances, many of them sponsored by Limited Too and Clickits, followed over the course of the next few months. In spite of the group's growing success in the States, Hamlin, who was 16 years old at the time, decided to leave the group in October of that year to attend college. She officially parted ways with Play in December, having recorded one final single with the group (a revised, urban version of "Hard Knock Life").
A new lead singer, 13-year-old Janet Leon, was introduced to Play's lineup after Hamlin's exit, and plans were made to record a new studio album. The result, 2003's Don't Stop the Music (not to be confused with an album of the same name recorded by Swedish pop veteran Robyn), proved to be a commercial failure. The group's Christmas album, Play Around the Christmas Tree, also failed to chart, and Play released a hits compilation (2005's Girl's Mind, comprised entirely of songs from the Hamlin days) before going on hiatus in September 2005.
Janet Leon mounted a solo career during the break, releasing the hit album Janet in 2009 and nearly topping the Swedish charts with "Let Go," her lead-off single. When Play reconvened in late 2009, though, Leon wasn't part of the slimmed-down lineup, which now featured Lameche, Hamlin, and newcomer Sanne Karlsson. The trio appeared on the television show Made in Sweden and released a new album, Under My Skin, in April 2010. Although "Famous" topped the charts in Sweden, giving Play their first number one single in any country, Hamlin decided to leave the group once again, prompting Emelie Norenberg to hastily replace her in 2011. This fourth (and final) version of Play proved to be extremely short-lived, though, and the group announced its official breakup in May 2011. ~ Drago Bonacich & Margaret Reges
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