Absolute (production team)

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Absolute are a music production team responsible for a number of hits in the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century.


Formed in 1988 by University friends Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins, Absolute initially existed under the name ‘Bristol Bassline Productions’. They remixed artists such as Biz Markie and The Chimes.[citation needed] Purportedly, their radical remix of ‘Take Me’ by Everything But The Girl (the 'Clifton Remix') in 1989 inspired Massive Attack to begin working with Tracey Thorn, eventually resulting in the writing of the track Protection.

In 1991 they underwent a name change to Absolute which was initially a band/songwriting project spawning two singles "Don't You Wanna Be Mine" (1991) and "Introduce Me to Love" (1992) on Rhythm King Records, the track featured John Paul Barrett on vocals. Following the singles they ventured into the world of dance remixes and achieved critical acclaim for their work on artists such as Lisa Stansfield, Melanie Williams, the Nightcrawlers, James Taylor Quartet and Al Green.

Pete Evans of Big Life Management approached the pair offering representation. Evans was considering branching out on his own and with the help of Simon Fuller formed Native Management with Absolute as his initial signing. In the 1990s Tracey Ackerman joined the songwriting duo as a regular writing partner.

In order to have the pair focus on songwriting, Simon Fuller offered the band a publishing contract through BMG Music. Around this time Absolute were introduced to a new girl band called ‘Spice’, by BMG Publishings Mark Fox. Informing Fuller of the girls they had found, Absolute asked if he would consider managing them. A period of songwriting commenced and eventually Virgin Records signed the band, now known as Spice Girls.

The first album Spice was released in November 1996 leading to a BRIT nomination Best Producers. Also in 1996, following an approach by Alan Pell of Polydor Records, the duo write the theme tune to the new Mr. Bean movie – a song which would be recoded by Irish pop group Boyzone. The song "Picture of You" went on to win the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song in a Film in 1997.[1]

The subsequent Spice Girls album Spiceworld also had various involvement from the duo who also at the time continued their development of singer/songwriter Shernette May. Their next project (also for Virgin Records was the writing and production of the second studio album by Kavana It was at this time that the pair relocated to Italy. During this period they were contacted by Geri Halliwell, informing them of her decision to leave the Spice Girls and to ask if they would consider writing and producting her solo project. Upon returning to the UK, Watkins and Wilson began working on the project, leading to the May 1999 release of Schizophonic. Their involvement with Halliwell continued across her future albums although to a lesser extent.

In 1999 the pair were asked to contribute songs for Tina Turner's Twenty Four Seven album, working with artists such as Bryan Adams, eventually writing and producing three tracks.

Watkins and Wilson also produced and wrote the second international album of the Polish artist Edyta Gorniak, which was released in 2002 in Poland as "Perła" and in 2003 as "Invisible" in other European countries.

All in all the duo have produced and written no less than 7 UK No. 1 singles, 1 U.S No. 1 singles, 20 UK Top 10 singles and sold in excess of 50m records worldwide.[2]

In recent years they continue to write and produce music for British pop artists including Will Young, Darius, Atomic Kitten, Girls Aloud, Gareth Gates, Jamelia, Gary Barlow, Andy Abraham, S Club 7, Keisha White and Shaznay Lewis.

In 2006 their song "Do I Make You Proud" was performed by Taylor Hicks,[3] winner of American Idol 2006. In 2008 their song "Even If" was chosen to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest.