Probably best known as one of the founding members of Take That -- alongside Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Robbie Williams, and Howard Donald -- Mark Owen successfully carved a solo career after the group's initial break-up in 1996. Born in Oldham, England, in 1972, Owen's original boyhood dream was to become a professional soccer player, and subsequent trials for Manchester United, Rochdale, and Huddersfield Town proved fruitless after an injury put a stop to any chance of a sporting career. Joining Take That in 1989, the five-piece went on to become one of the U.K.'s biggest-selling boy bands until their split in 1996. Becoming the first member of Take That to release a solo album, Owen drafted in producer John Leckie -- who had become known for his work with the Stone Roses and Radiohead and had been linked to the explosion of the Brit-pop scene -- to give the album an alternative edge. Green Man was released at the end of 1996 and debuted at number 33 on the U.K. album charts, while spawning three singles, Clementine, Child, and I Am What I Am. While moderately successful, the album failed to reach the lofty heights that fellow Take That members Barlow, and in particular, Williams, eventually reached and in 1999 Owen was dropped by BMG.
After spending time away from the spotlight, Owen appeared in the second U.K. series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2002, going on to be crowned the winner by taking 77-percent of the public vote. With his newfound fame, he inked a recording deal with Island Records and a year later released his sophomore album, 2003's In Your Own Time. After slightly disappointing sales, Owen set up his own label, Sedna Records, in 2004 and went on to self-release his third album, 2005's How the Mighty Fall. That same year, Take That announced they had re-formed for a sell-out stadium tour and Owen's solo career was put on hold. It wasn't until 2012 that Owen would return to the studio alone -- after the massive success of Take That's second coming -- to re-launch his solo career. Recording most of the album by himself, Owen recruited Charlie Russell, Bradley Spence, and Starsmith to mix and produce what would become 2013's The Art of Doing Nothing. ~ Rich Wilson