It is one of those songs that haunts it’s artist for the rest of their career. It became so big, that the name, Maria Nayler is now eternally fused with the song, “One and One”, and it’s producer, Robert Miles, just as the single, “Children” is for Miles, himself. Wherever she performs, Maria is still expected to give yet another rendition of the classic, although she refuses to include it in all her live sets, preferring to let fans experience her latest repertoire, and rightfully so. With a career as long and vast as hers, Maria Nayler is much more than “One and One”, but without a doubt it was and still is a masterpiece, that is now 22 years old.
The song was penned by hit makers Billy Steinberg, Rick Nowels and Marie-Claire D'Ubaldo and although it was originally recorded by Polish singer, Edyta Gorinak in 1996, it was the Robert Miles and Maria Nayler version that got the first release as a single and worldwide acclaim. It was another three years before the Gorinak version had it’s worldwide distribution. Assumably, her record label’s attempt to cash in on the fame that had been garnered by Robert Miles and his version of the track. Maria herself, was not even aware of the existence of another version, as she recalls today; “I Only heard that last year. Had no idea that even existed.”
“One and One” stayed true to Miles previous style, a vocal homage to the dream-house hit “Children”, complete with the uplifting piano riffs that you’d expect from his Dreamland album. Maria was brought in to ad a haunting but angelic mood to the track, which contrasted perfectly with Mile’s musical soundscapes.
The single was released on 4 November 1996, and first appeared on the charts on 16th of the same month, where it went straight to #6 in the UK. Over the course of the next few weeks it sold by the thousands in England alone. Around the same time, the tragic Dunblane massacre was fresh in the nation’s hearts, and a cover of Bob Dylan’s, “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” (credited to Dunblane) was at the top spot, in tribute to the children and teacher’s that lost their lives. The enormity of this event, perhaps cast a shadow over the Miles and Nayler collaboration, but “One and One” managed to hit #3 where it peaked. Overseas, it became #1 on the music charts in several European countries, including Belgium, Israel, Italy, Romania, Scotland, The Eurocharts Hot 100 and the US Dance Chart; and certified gold in Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden and in Maria’s home country, the UK, it went platinum, where it sold over a million units here alone.
“One and One” had not been recorded when Miles’, Dreamland album was released in the summer of 96. However, for the US version of the album, and to break Miles into the market stateside, “One and One” was inserted into the final track list, and became so hugely popular, that the album was reissued in Europe as the Winter Edition, and “One and One” was given rightful inclusion, as the opening track.
Originally, the track was handed to Miles and Maria with a rock vibe, which they weren’t initially impressed with. She recalls “Robert asked me to sing his next single. (He loved my past music). It was to break Robert in America. Written by 2 LA songwriters; Billy Steinburg and Rick Knowels. We Was given the track as a demo. A rock singer version. Hideous. I Said “I’m not doing that!”
Finally, they gave in when I told them Robert and I will do it our way.
I was put in the studio one day to meet him and we recorded the track. All with sign language as he could not speak any English. The power of music eh. We knew what we had to do without discussion!!”
“One and One” frolicked slowly back down the UK charts before departing, having spent a total of 19 weeks in the top 100. It touched the heart’s of many listeners, worldwide, garnering further attention for an already established Maria Nayler. “It’s like no other feeling. That’s why we make music, to be heard and to touch people and take them on a journey.” Maria states.
All the success of “One and One” did not go to Maria’s head however, as she modestly recalls that she doesn’t hold the largest amount of adoration for the finished single version. “I love the track acoustic. I Was never a massive fan of it’s dream house production, but knew that’s what we had to do to sell millions. And we were right. There was a moment towards the end of the recording when we looked at each other, and we just knew this could be huge. I’m amazed at it’s ongoing success.”
As the years went by, and Maria furthered her career, recording and selling trance, house and dance classics by the thousands, there were always some whom wished she would revisit the classic 1996 hit single. She had always refused, wanting to leave the work alone, preferring fans to embrace her new material. However, in 2012, her resistance broke and Maria Nayler was tempted back into the studio to work on a new version of “One and One” with Mark Schneider and Roland Faber, better known as Loverush UK!
A firm friendship was formed in the recording studios back in 1996. The pair kept in touch systematically, as you’d expect of Miles, and many have often wondered if Miles and Nayler had ever considered returning to the studio one day, themselves. “Robert and I would have a chat every 3 years. It just happened that way. We did discuss working together again but life moved on and we never did. We were due our chat just before he passed away.”
“One and One” means so much to people because it is essentially a love song, with an uplifting message and providing a glimmer of hope to those who may be estranged from one another. At a depressing moment in the UK, we certainly all needed some hope and perhaps that made the song that little more special.
And did Robert himself make of the song…
...Sometimes, you don't even have the time to realize