Even though Carmen Gray’s professional career began in the fall 2006 when they signed with Sony/BMG and released their debut album, The Portrait of Carmen Gray, the group itself had been around much longer than that. Three of its members, Lappe, JJ and Pete, had played and performed together ever since high school. Although it’s next to impossible to pinpoint when things really started taking off for Carmen Gray, it’s fair to say that the year 2000 proved to be a watershed for the group. Up until then, the idea had been just to have fun with music and hang out together. However, with the inclusion of Nicklas Nyman as the lead vocalist, they were now finally ready to embark on a joint voyage towards becoming a professional act. It was also round about this time that Lappe joined forces with his brother, Tom Tikka, in the song-writing front. This song-writing team went on to pen the group's entire catalog.
The Portrait of Carmen Gray spawned three singles: "Lost In My Mind Again," "Color Blind," and "Unbeloved (Me & Suzy)," all of which did well on FM radio. "Lost In My Mind Again" and "Color Blind" even gave the group their first bona fide hits, peeking at #3 and #14 on the Finnish single charts.
Such minor hits as "At The End Of The Rainbow" and "Sacrifice" followed in 2008 (both of which were featured on the group’s second album Welcome To Grayland) but Carmen Gray's first huge success came in the form of "Gates Of Loneliness," the titular track of their third abum. This tune became one of the most played tracks on the Finnish radio in the spring and summer of 2010. In fact, "Gates of Loneliness" reached #8 on the Finnish National Airplay Chart and held that position for 11 consecutive weeks. Quite a feat indeed!
Two more successful singles, "Heroes And Losers" & "Two Wannabes," became big hits for the group in the fall of 2010. "Life Can Be Beautiful" and "Fall In Love" followed in their footsteps in 2012 and 2013. Regardless of finding success, constant writing, promoting and living out of a suitcase began to take its toll and the group disbanded in 2013 at the height of their popularity.