Sunrise Avenue began playing the Finnish clubs in 2002, playing melodic rock music with influences ranging from Pearl Jam to Bon Jovi. The band´s talent - which then consisted of Samu Haber (vocals and guitar), Janne Karkkainen (lead guitar), Raul Ruutu (bass) and Sami Osala (drum) - was soon recognised by producer Jukka Backlund. Backlund was so convinced the band would succeed, he agreed to produce their record even before they had a record deal. A friend of the band ended up paying for these recordings, even though he had to sell his house to raise the money.
After Sunrise Avenue recorded their first few tracks - with Backlund producing and playing keyboard - a record deal was soon found. In the summer of 2005 they not only signed a deal for the Finnish market with Bonnier Amigo Music Group, but also an international deal with EMI. After signing these record deals, their first single - All Because of You - was soon released. They had to wait for their third single to score international success; Fairytale Gone Bad became an European hit, peaking at number one in Slovakia, Russia, and Romania and reaching the top ten in nine other countries. In 2006 their debut album On The Way To Wonderland was released, and this too was a great success. The album reached number one in the Greek album charts, number two in Finland and the top twenty of 4 other European countries. They also received many awards for this album, including the NRJ Radio Awards - the Nordic equivalent of the Grammy's - for best Finnish Newcomer, best Finnish Song, best Finnish album and best Nordic artist. On The Way To Wonderland still is the best-selling Finnish international debut today. In 2009, they released their second album Popgasm.