UTN1 or Unknown to No One is an POP/ROCK arabic/international band from Iraq formed in 1999 by founding members Shant Garabedian and Artin Haroutiounian who are of Iraqi Armenian descent. They were joined by Hassan Ali Al-Falluji and Akhlad Raof. The group is notable for being Iraq’s pioneering pop/Rock group and because they formed during the hard times of Iraq.
The brainchild of Art (Artin) and Shant, the group was originally formed in 1999, during the last years of Saddam Hussein’s presidency. The duo dared to form a pop band where few had the courage to do so. They found the resources to produce their first demo song, with limited sound engineering devices. They eventually advertised for vocalists and recruited the other three members into the band – Hassan who answered the advertisement running on the local radio “Voice of Youth”. Then Hassan’s cousin Akhlad and a third friend Nadeem joined and formed UTN1or Unknown to No One .
They used to compose music on a keyboard, which they left in the trunk of their Volkswagen Passat. The vehicle was also their rehearsal stage beside band members houses. During that time they also wrote and composed some songs, one of them was a song for Saddam,s Birthday.It had a great melody and the song aired on the VOY FM more than twice every hour.
The band released its first single entitled Fancy Girl, a love song. Alan Enwia, a music record store owner, offered to produce an album for them. Lacking any professional support, they independently managed to have eight songs recorded within a limited budget. The album found appeal with youth that started buying their debut album in display at the music record store. They managed to sell more than 2000 copies in 2002.
After the Iraqi war, Iraq’s first ever western boy band created big media interest and its members were interviewed with by the BBC, CNN and Associated Press ran a story on them. British producers offered to produce a demo album which they finished in 2002 entitled FROM NOW ON.
After the war broke out, the boys lost momentum at home but soon were featured in Western news programs achieving some stardom. A British talent searcher, Peter Whitehead, promised to promote their music, but he failed to secure a visa for the group to travel to England. The boys experienced bitter disappointment. But with the old regime gone, new hope emerged for the pop group as people became more and more interested with Iraq’s only boy band.
In 2004 they signed a contract with a production company that moved them to Jordan and then London where they recorded While We Can their first international song, which talks about the situation in Iraq.
In 2006 they went to Lebanon to start a career in the Middle East. They prepared and recorded their new English album in 2007 and they recorded the first Arabic hit Jamila and it was releaesd on the 19th of December 2007, which was one of the most popular songs in the Lebanese charts in late 2007. It had airplay throughout the Arab World.
In May 2008, the band released their third single (the 2nd one in Arabic) under the title Lughat Al-Ayn which also reached number 1 on the Lebanese charts, and it was the door to get a sponsorship to record and finish their album that they worked on since 2006, the sponsor is an Arabic Channel called Alaan TV. They were interested on them because their target it is the Iraqi Audience and they saw that the UTN1 is a good example for an Iraqi youth group that can represent the Iraqi youth in the outside (Arabic and Western world)
Music videos have been prepared for all 3 singles that they released. The band also sang a popular support song for the Iraqi National Team in soccer and was featured on “Iraq Star 3″ on Al Sumaria TV.