Fun Factory is a German eurodance / hip hop group formed in 1992, originally consisting of founding members Balca Tözün, Rodney Hardison, Toni Cottura and Stephan Browarczyk. They have been nicknamed simply Balja, Rod D., Smooth T. and Steve. The group enjoyed success throughout the 90s.
The group was founded in 1992 along with four founding members Balca Tözün from Turkey, Rodney Hardison from America, Toni Cottura and Stephan Browarczyk from Germany. They released their first singles “Fun Factory’s Theme” and “Groove Me” in 1992 and 1993. They shot a music video for “Groove me”. Fun Factory released their debut album Nonstop! The Album in 1994. Before their third single release “Close to You” in the late of 1993, lead singer Balca Tözün had been replaced with Marie-Anett Mey, an entertainer from Paris, France. “Close to You” became their first chart success peaking no. 1 on the Canadian Dance chart. Follow up singles were “Take Your Chance” and “Pain”, which peaked at nos. 18 and 24 respectively on the German Singles Chart.
In 1995, the band released their Singles “I Wanna B with U”, “Celebration” and the Manfred Mann cover version retitled and shortened “Doh Wah Diddy”, all chart hits, peaking at nos. 11, 12 and 6 on the German Singles Charts. The same Year, Fun Factory released their second Studio Album Fun-Tastic. By this time they began to become more popular throughout Europe and even saw some of their songs to Chart in the United States and Canada. The follow up single release was “Don’t Go Away”, becoming their last chart success. “Don’t Go Away” was also the last single to be promoted by the band as a quartet, when Cottura left the band. As a trio, the group released two more further singles, the ballad “I Love You” and “Oh Yeah Yeah (I Like It)”. The first of these was dedicated to the leaving member Cottura at the end of the music video, while no video was made for the latter, due to their sudden disbandment in 1997. This is why on the “I Love You” single version, the first rap verse by Cottura was re-recorded by Browarczyk, which became his first and yet only solo Rap verse in a Fun Factory single. In 1996, Cottura started releasing some solo singles and founded the hip-hop and R&B collective and record label, Booya Family, where he produced tracks for a variety of artists including NANA, Pappa Bear, Ray Horton, Jonestown, A.K. Swift and Alex Prince. He also produced Tracks for the Boy Bands *N Sync and Backstreet Boys. With these Artists Cottura was most of the time featured as a guest artist. Cottura also collaborated with P. Diddy. In 1997, a Fun Factory Greatest Hits album has been released to end up the chapter. In 1997, Cottura has been featured on Daisy Dee’s single “Hey you (Open Up Your Mind)”. When Hardison left Fun Factory to join Garcia in 1997, with whom he released three singles, the remaining two members Mey and Browarczyk were joined by the new member Ray Horton and planned to continue with a rebranded band name “Fun Affairs”, but had no success with it and Fun Factory split up.
In 1998, a Fun Factory spin-off came around with an all-new line-up, with rotating members, first comprising singer Lian Ross (Josephine Hiebel), rappers T-Roc/Tiger One (Terrance Lamont Croom), Alfonso Losa-Eser and Alexander Walser from Liechtenstein. In particular, for some of their releases they have been credited as The New Fun Factory though they have also been credited as Fun Factory for better sales for the Asian market and shared the same logo design. The first studio album Next Generation, published on Marlboro Records, was released in 1999 and sold over 100,000 copies, along with the singles “Party With Fun Factory”, “Sha-La-La-La-La” and “Wish” in 1998 and 1999. In 2000, Cottura produced for The Underdog Project and for Bro’Sis, while Mey released her first and only solo single, “Be the One”. In 2002, New Fun Factory’s studio album ABC of Music, published on Victor Entertainment, came up with the moderate success and the group was soon dissolved. In 2003, Cottura released his solo single “Fly”. He also wrote “Bounce” for Sarah Connor’s 2002 album Unbelievable. In 2006, Cottura was featured on the single “Quieres una Aventura”, a song by Romanian singer Corina and on Asja’s single “Party Song”. In 2008, a group with all new members, credited under the Fun Factory brand released their very first single titled “Be Good To Me”. They performed at ZDF Fernsehgarten, where they also performed their unreleased song “Fiesta de Samba”, at ‘We Love The 90’s’ and toured around Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Romania. Two more singles, “I Wanna B With U 2010”, a cover version of the original Fun Factory, and “On Top Of The World”, were released in 2009 and 2013 respectively. The Fun Factory spin-offs have been produced by Rekardo Heilig, since Cottura’s departure of the group as a member.
In 2009, Cottura produced and has been featured on the single “Horoz” by Sedat, for his album Yeni Hayatimin Ilk Günü. Meanwhile, in December 2009, a promotional single titled “Shut Up” was released. The song marks the first song since 1995, where founding members Cottura, who co-wrote the song, and Tözün, who provided lead vocals, were involved, though they aren’t featured on the cover art. In 2013, three of four founding members, Tözün, Cottura and Browarczyk, reunited to perform their Fun Factory songs again. They were joined by new rapper Ski (Anthony Freeman) from New York City. They gave their first full concert, credited as ‘The Originalz FF Members of Fun Factory’ due to lawsuit reasons, in Poland in October 26, 2013, where they also presented the new song “Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)” at the end of the concert, a cover version of the pop duo Ottawan. In 2014, producer and owner of the brand Rekardo Heilig confirmed on the relaunched official website, that the group is performing as Fun Factory again.
In August 7, 2015, the lead single of their upcoming album, titled “Let’s Get Crunk” was released. In July 15, 2016, the second single “Turn It Up” was released, followed by the groups third studio album, Back To The Factory, in August.
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