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Aqualung, Building on a Commercial Success

Aqualung, a nearly one-man band driven by frontman Matt Hales' songwriting, piano playing and vocals, has already had what can only be called a "commercial" success.

The breakthrough was "Strange & Beautiful," a song first heard as a car commercial in Britain. It's also the title of Aqualung's latest CD.

Hales had hoped for discovery by a record label or radio station, but now says his non-traditional route was "even better... because it was kind of democratic." People who heard the car ad pestered radio stations to play the whole song.

Now Hales is turning his sights on America, where his work already graces rock radio and TV series with younger audiences, such as The O.C. and Smallville. The song "Brighter than Sunshine" is featured in the new movie A Lot Like Love.

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Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.