First Column first encountered Matt Hales in 2000 when he approached Phil Nelson and asked him to manage his indie band RUTH, who then became The 45s, but major success still evaded them.

Aqualung was born after a VW Beetle advertising campaign featured Matt’s haunting song ‘Strange And Beautiful’ – suddenly there were record and publishing deals to sign and the song reached Number 7 in the UK singles chart in 2002, and featured on the self-titled debut album.

As early as 2004, Matt had begun collaborating with other artists as a songwriter and producer, including with DJ Tiësto and Leona Lewis. 

He moved with his family to Los Angeles in 2011, where he continued this career, working with artists Jason Mraz, Paloma Faith, Diane Birch, Sara Bareilles, Lianne La Havas and many others.

In 2020, he was proud to win a Grammy for his work on the album ‘Burn The Ships’ by For King & Country and in 2021, he picked up an Ivor Novello Award for Best Album with Lianne La Havas’s for his work on her self-titled third album.

Matt is now back in the UK and continues to work with other artists, but also released a brand new Aqualung album, ‘Dead Letters’ at the end of 2022 to much critical acclaim and in 2023, he played a series of UK shows with his brother Ben.

He also recently embarked on a new musical venture called Søren Lorensen with Italian violinist, string arranger and composer Davide Rossi (Goldfrapp, Coldplay). They released their debut album ‘Lake Constance’ in 2020.

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