Slowly building momentum since 1999, the band MIA (originally "Me in Affairs," but eventually only used in acronym form) formed in 1997 with the meeting of two musical pairs (separately, Mieze Katz/Andy Penn and Robert Schütze/Ingo Puls) and the addition of a stray drummer. After an early single was released without much fanfare, the band replaced the drummer (Hannes Schulze) with Gunnar Spies and moved to a fairly successful full album with Hieb & StichFEST in 2001. Though only barely cracking the German Top 50, the following release, Was Ist Est, gained the band more notoriety than they had bargained for with poetic references that could be taken as overly nationalistic sentiment, looked down upon strongly as vaguely Nazi-related in modern Germany. Cleaning their image up a bit, the band contributed a selection for the Eurovision contest in 2004 that simultaneously built up their chart standings somewhat. With their third album, Zirkus, in 2006, the band finally tasted chart success with a quick peak at number two, though specific singles rarely cracked the Top 20. A brief international appearance with the Live Earth concert series followed in 2007 and the introduction of the single "Mein Freund," which was included on the follow-up 2008 release Wilkommen im Club, which debuted at number four on the German charts and sparked rumors of an English-language release as a side project. ~ Adam Greenberg, Rovi