Michael Learns To Rock (also known as MLTR) is a Danish soft rock band that performs songs in English. It was formed in 1988 and has sold over 9 million records, mainly in Asia. It has produced six studio albums as well as live and "greatest hits" albums. In 1987, the singer-keyboardist Jascha Richter and drummer Kåre Wanscher were high school students in Aarhus, Denmark, when they saw guitarist Mikkel Lentz with his group the Rocking Studs and asked him to form a band. A year later Søren Madsen joined, playing bass.
A member of the contest jury, J.P. Anderson, became the band's manager. MLTR played live but did not release its eponymous debut album, "Michael Learns to Rock," until September 1991. A single from the album, "The Actor," topped the Danish chart and also did well in Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.
The group debuted in Aarhus in May 1988 and later entered the city's annual talent show. The band won and hurriedly had to come up with a name. In an interview Richter admitted that it was named after Michael Jackson: "Yeah, it was like Johnny Hates Jazz and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Sure, I've regretted calling ourselves this many times since, but we were successful so quickly we had to stick with it and over time I got used to it." (Taipei Times, 06 07 2007).
In 1993, MLTR released Colours which sold over 1 million records. The album included the singles "Sleeping Child," "25 Minutes" and "Out of the Blue." It also toured Asia for the first time. Two years later MLTR's third album, Played On Pepper came out, selling 1.2 million units, and the group played 25 shows in 10 countries. Hits from this album included "That's Why (You Go Away)" and "Someday."
The album "Paint My Love" was released in 1996 and sold 3.4 million copies. The band was also chosen as the headliner for the "Celebrate Hong Kong" concert on July 6, 1997, marking the transfer of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China. Its fourth studio album, "Nothing To Lose," was released in September 1997.
Soon after, MLTR's members took a break to spend time with their families and develop projects on their own or in collaboration with other artists. Even so, Richter wrote some new songs and the band's anthem "Strange Foreign Beauty" was added to a 1998 greatest hits album. [wikipedia]
In 2000, Søren Madsen decided to leave the group to embark on a solo career, and the three remaining members carried on and produced the album "Blue Night," which went platinum in Denmark. The band attributed its success in Asia to a clean-living image and singing in English as a second language, and the fact that their lyrics are relatively easy to learn and sing (Taipei Times, 06 07 2007).