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Feature: THE FRAY

By pitching their music somewhere between the arena-friendly style of U2 and the mature pop/rock of bands like Maroon 5 and Counting Crows, the Fray rose to commercial prominence with their 2005 debut, How to Save a Life. The Denver-based band had formed three years prior, when former schoolmates Isaac Slade (vocals, piano) and Joe King (guitar, vocals) unexpectedly bumped into each other at a local music store. The pair began a series of two-man jam sessions and soon expanded their lineup with two of Slade's former bandmates, drummer Ben Wysocki and guitarist David Welsh. Slade's younger brother, Caleb, also joined the band for a stint but was ultimately asked to leave; the resulting rift between the two siblings would later inspire the band's first hit single, "Over My Head (Cable Car)." After issuing the Movement EP in 2002, the quartet gained the support of Denver's KTCL radio station with a follow-up release, 2003's Reason EP. As the Fray's airplay increased alongside their local profile (Westworld, a Denver alt. weekly publication, deemed them "Best New Band" in 2004), they began attracting attention from Epic Records. The label ultimately signed the band in December 2004, and the Fray toured alongside Weezer and Ben Folds the following summer.

How to Save a Life was released in September 2005, and "Over My Head (Cable Car)" found a quick home on modern rock radio. By early 2006, it had crossed over to Top 40 chart status, peaking at number eight and whetting the public's appetite for another hit. The Fray responded by releasing the album's title track, which was heavily used in a promotional campaign for the TV series Grey's Anatomy and quickly became one of 2006's biggest singles. "How to Save a Life" was a world-wide smash, reaching the Top Ten in the U.S. (where it continued to chart for 58 consecutive weeks) and peaking at number one in Bulgaria, Ireland, Canada, and Spain. By the time the smoke had cleared, the Fray's debut had been certified double-platinum in the U.S. and was declared the best-selling digital album of all time.

As How to Save a Life continued to enjoy world-wide chart success, the live album Live at the Electric Factory was released in selected independent stores in July 2006. The Fray re-released their Reason EP the following year while continuing to tour, occasionally playing new material at their high-profile shows. The band also found time to return to the recording studio, and 2009 saw the release of their self-titled sophomore effort, The Fray.

The Fray (2009)

The band finished recording their self-titled second album (The Fray) at the end of July 2008 for a February 3, 2009 release. The album was produced by Aaron Johnson and Mike Flynn, the same production duo from the band's debut album. The Fray filmed a music video in Chicago, for their first single, "You Found Me", directed by Josh Forbes, which debuted on VH1.com on December 9, 2008. The Fray debuted their new single "You Found Me" on November 20, during a commercial break of the show Grey's Anatomy. It was a one-minute promo with scenes from the upcoming season of ABC's Lost, and was also made available on iTunes. The band performed the song live at the 2008 American Music Awards on November 23, and have already shot acoustic video performances of the songs from the second album. The album became available for preorder on November 21. The Fray also performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live on December 17, 2008, Good Morning America on February 3, 2009, as well as a small-venue tour to preview the new album starting around the middle of December. You Found Me was the number one of the Australian ARIA charts for three consecutive weeks.

Indicative of the growing practice of musicians using the Internet to spur music sales, several videos from The Fray's new album, directed by Rod Blackhurst, were given to Comcast.net's Music page before they became available to television. Among them were acoustic versions of "You Found Me," "Say When," and "Enough for Now," and live versions of "You Found Me," "Never Say Never" and "Absolute."

The Fray have reached the number one spot on the Billboard charts selling 179,000 copies with the debut of their LP record, The Fray.

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In February, The Fray wrote a new song called "Be the One," which was written in one day and may be a future B-side. They have also recently covered Kanye West's song Heartless. The cover managed to chart at number seventy-nine on the Billboard Hot 100.

On March 14, The Fray confirmed on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown that their next single will be "Never Say Never". They have filmed a video for this single, and has since been released on the internet only via their Myspace on April 24. It premiered everywhere else on May 5, 2009. On May 30, 2009, the music video itself premiered on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown at the number 20 position.

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Sources: www.AllMusic.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fray_(band)