Matt Hanes grew up above his parent's record shop and was playing piano and writing songs by the age of four. Not surprisingly, he was awarded a scholarship to study music composition when he was 16; by the next year, he was conducting a 60-piece orchestra. When Hanes finished up his studies, he formed a band with his brother Ben. Dubbed Ruth, the band signed to a major label and released the album, Harrison to favorable reviews and airplay support from the omnipresent BBC Radio 1. However, the band was wracked by continuous in-fighting, and imploded. A mere 18 months later, in 2000, Matt and Ben are signed once again, this time under the moniker The 45's. The brothers released two well-received singles and toured with the likes of Cooper Temple Clause and the Electric Soft Parade. Once again, they failed to ignite and it wasn't long before Hanes decided to try his luck as a solo artist. Embracing his classical past, Hanes kept busy writing songs, submitting tunes to an ad agency who were looking for music for a forthcoming Volkswagon commercial. That television commercial reached millions, and drove patrons into music stores all over the U.K. trying to buy "that song" in the Volkswagon commercial. The BBC's Radio 1 jumped on the bandwagon, creating even more of demand for more of Hale's music, and in 2002, Aqualung was born. For his part, Hanes was happy to turn that 30-seconds of pop perfection into his debut album, Strange and Beautiful. Aqualung's second effort, Still Life, was released in the U.K. in early 2004. By the following year, Hales had an America deal and released an album (also called Strange and Beautiful) which combined songs from their two U.K. releases for the United States.