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Lee Ryan was a former member of the boy band Blue who, together with bandmembers Duncan James, Antony Costa, and Simon Webbe, enjoyed enormous success in the charts during the first half of the 2000s with eight consecutive Top Ten singles and all three of their studio albums hitting number one. He was born on June 17, 1983, in Chatham, Kent, and spent most of his childhood in the Kent town of Erith after his parents had split up when he was five years old. He attended the Sylvia Young, Bright Lights Academy, and Italia Conti performing arts schools and joined the band Blue, becoming their lead singer and songwriter on many of the successful tracks. Like most boy bands, the members generally toed the record company line, but Ryan was the one who courted controversy with an outspoken remark about the media coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S., causing Virgin Records, the parent company of their Innocent label, to cancel plans to market the band in America for fear of a media backlash. After performing a duet with Elton John on his song "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," on their second album, One Love, it was suggested that the band's popularity was waning, which was highlighted by their third album, Guilty, spending only four weeks in the Top Ten, released in late November but not even holding one of the top positions until Christmas week. Also, their collaboration with Stevie Wonder on his "Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours" on their third album became their first single not to reach the Top Ten, and the band decided to call it a day with all four members launching solo careers. Ryan had already recorded a solo track, "Stand Up as People," featured on the War Child album, and he was the first of the band to launch a solo career, releasing the single "Army of Lovers" in the summer of 2005; it was swiftly followed by his self-titled album. Although both single and album reached their respective Top Tens, they received mixed reviews and sales were low compared to the height of his success with Blue, and his new record company, Sony BMG, dropped him from their roster. Away from his musical career, he was signed by Dolce & Gabbana to be the U.K. face of their new range of clothing and appeared on TV in series three of Hell's Kitchen.