Darren Hayes Biography
Review The Artist (19)
There are a few basic facts that you probably ought to know about Darren Hayes.
Darren was the singer in Australian pop duo Savage Garden. He was the writer and singer of the kind of evergreen worldwide smash hits that will be played as long as AC has a spot on the radio’s dial. They were neither fashionable nor critically feted, but Savage Garden was an enormously popular operation. From the four albums that he has crafted so far – two with Savage Garden, two solo – Darren Hayes has sold more than 25 million records. He broke the record he himself set with Truly, Madly Deeply as most played record on adult contemporary US radio with the further release of 1999’s ‘I knew I loved you’. There is not a country in the world that enjoys English speaking pop music that he has not had a hit in. Darren Hayes has dined with Madonna and duetted with Pavarotti. He is the third most popular Australian musical export of all time. Only INXS and Kylie trump the pop Midas touch that few give him proper credit for.
These are just a few of the basic facts you probably ought to know about Darren Hayes. The basic fact that may surprise you in all this is the motivational key that unlocks his astronomical, globe-straddling success. Before his last set, 2004’s The Tension and The Spark, Darren had a major life realisation.
“My whole career as a big commercial pop artist was fed through self-hatred, basically. It was all about escapism in a fraudulent way. I became a pop star because I knew I had to become something extraordinary to escape”.
If you trace a line through the work of both Savage Garden and Darren Hayes solo, there is a recurring theme of being unloved and unlovable. It is part of what connects him at his most popular to a mass audience. If Darren is a master at articulating the simple sentiment of what it feels like to be rejected, it does not come without its own poignant back-story.
Darren grew up in the working class suburbs of Australia’s Brisbane. In the early 80s, on the run from his Father’s violence and alcoholism he was just 10 when his Mother took him and his siblings to live in a caravan to escape regular scenes of violence. His relationship with his father has been both the making and undoing of Darren Hayes. His father having long since recovered and redeemed himself (sober for 25 years) – the childhood clearly left an indelible mark on Hayes. It was his need to please that propelled him to invent a life as a pop star. The fame came but could not fill an emotional hole
This particular pop cloud has a silver lining, though. It arrives neatly at a point when he is ready for success on his own terms and in his own time. He is also, handily, at full creative throttle. Darren has just completed his third solo record, This Delicate Thing We’ve Made. This daring, theatrical, wise, wounded and wonderful epiphany represents his true maturation as an artist. At 35 years old, Darren Hayes has turned into just the pop star he always wanted to be. Himself. Who knew that that would sound like the lost younger brother of Kate Bush, the one who eschewed his sister’s whimsical folksiness in favour of a chrome-plated, 80s driven pop edge? Who further knew he’d start to look like the hottest gay in the village?
A little pop cultural context prior to the making of This Delicate Thing We’ve Made.
Every proper pop artist has a period that you might like to now call ‘doing a Rudebox’. It is the moment a pop star sheds their generic skin and develops some idiosyncratic corners of their own. Kylie did it on her Impossible Princess years back in the mid 90s. U2 did it with Pop. Robbie is the new president of it. Generally, ‘doing a Rudebox’ will go down like a commercial lead balloon.
Darren’s Rudebox was The Tension and The Spark. In the advent of it being his first record not to reap multiple commercial rewards, it was suggested at record company boardroom level that he should be farmed out to hit-makers to collaborate on the follow-up. He worked with The ‘Complicated’ Matrix and Rob ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ Davis. “All the usual suspects,” he says now, wryly, “and they were great!”
The sessions were swiftly abandoned. Darren’s own inner journey was taking him in a less corporate direction. This was all part of another big life decision. “I’m not Justin Timberlake. I think there was a part of me that thought three years ago that I was a contender for that role, whatever it is. Maybe Enrique is about to become it again. Whatever that machine is that conspires to make a big, mainstream, male superstar, I thought I wanted it. Letting go of that was essential to this record. What I realised with this record was that I didn’t really want it at all.”
As an alternative course of action, Darren went through a sanguine split from his record label, Sony. “This record was born from a stand off with my record company. They didn’t understand me? That’s OK.” He began hatching plans for This Delicate Thing We’ve Made by himself, with the aid only of a programmer, in Phoenix, Arizona. It will be released on Darren’s own record label, Powdered Sugar, and will come as a double set, defying all pop logic and reason. The funny thing is? It’s worth it.
This Delicate Thing We’ve Made sits at the very precipices of a pop culture that has taught itself to embrace genre over any sense of personal artistry. Yet while its brace of potential hit singles will sit perfectly happily next to Natasha Beddingfield and Maroon 5 on the radio, they come replete with their own dangerous factor for a genre-led pop field. They are built from truthful sentiment and a sense of their own individuality.
Darren Hayes got married last year, for the second time in his life. The only difference this time round was the gender of his partner. It is no coincidence that This Delicate Thing We’ve Made is the first record that Darren has made as an openly gay man, enjoying his first stabilising partnership. He came out to a quiet fanfare on his website last year, again coinciding with no commercial decisions. It is furthermore no accident that the record is his first to embrace the redemptive power of love and comes with such a real upbeat edge. He has never sounded as on fighting form as he does on the I Feel Love indebted Step Into The Light, the brilliant, cerebral white funk strut Me Myself and I and particularly first single, On The Verge Of Something Wonderful (it should come as no surprise that all three double up as accidental yet potential ecstasy anthems).
Elsewhere the kaleidoscopic pop triumph ventures into more abstract arenas, whilst still retaining the pure, joyous release of what a great pop hook can and should do. The central crux of the record – How To Build a Time Machine, A Hundred Challenging Things A Boy Could Do, The Future Holds A Lion’s Heart and Waking The Monster – were first fashioned at the Phoenix sessions. Darren didn’t know that what he was going was lunacy or bravery.
“I phoned [his partner] Richard up and said ‘I’ve either completely lost my mind or I’ve made possibly the most exciting thing that I’ve ever been involved in.’”
The rest was completed at his new home in Notting Hill, West London. It was made using a temperamental Fairlight synthesiser that the singer had acquired off eBay. Unsurprisingly, the standout tracks, Time Machine, Verge, Casey, Me, Myself and I, The Only One, have a warmth and beauty to their pre-digital age sonic construction. There is meaning to the loosely conceptual time travel theme at the heart of the record, as the hero travels back to the 80s with respectful, modern sincerity.
“My attachment to the 80s and its music has got a lot to do with my life and childhood at that time being quite horrific and so my imagination was automatically vibrant. Music and fashion all chimed together for me to become this release. Sociologically, 80s pop stars were so ideas driven. The 90s was cold and beige and white and minimalist. It was the last time that pop music was synonymous with escape. The truth is that until Richard, and it makes me sad to admit this, honestly the 80s were the last time I was really happy.”
If you can listen to this audacious and brilliant, epic and widescreen album without feeling a wealth of pathos towards its protagonist, you’re made of sterner stuff than I.
Written by Paul Flynn
"This Delicate Thing We've Made"
Darren Hayes could never be accused of doing anything by convention. In a music industry terrified by ever decreasing sales, where budgets are being slashed and the dumbing down of artistry is commonplace - Hayes has pulled out all the stops and recorded an epic and theatrical double album.
He has defiantly said no to the seductive invitation of the majors and is instead gearing up to release his latest album on his very own independent label 'Powdered Sugar'. Darren Hayes is doing things his own way. And he wants everyone to know about it.
His upcoming album 'This Delicate Thing We've Made' is an ambitious and cinematic opus. Featuring 25 bold and wildly extravagant pop songs that are already being compared in scope to the work of heroes Kate Bush and David Bowie. And perhaps most fascinatingly, was recorded with a strict commitment to a particular piece of technology as muse and inspiration ñ a vintage 1983 Fairlight CMI Synthesizer, a clunky synth relic that he scored off EBay. The same model that was at the heart of Kate Bush's pivotal recording 'The Hounds of Love'
It's been 5 years of changes for Australian born and London based Hayes. His independent streak has been ramping up for some years now ñ but reached the pinnacle last year when he simultaneously announced the parting of ways with Columbia records and his marriage to British boyfriend Richard Cullen in a Civil Partnership ceremony at their home in London.
Out. Personally, professionally and creatively.
And for the first time in 10 years, in control of his publishing and recording future.
Most know the bullet points of Hayes' pop career. They begin with two words: Savage Garden. As the voice and co-songwriter of those two massive Billboard Number One singles 'Truly Madly Deeply' and 'I Knew I Loved You' he enjoyed global sales of over 25 million records.
After just two multi platinum hit albums, his band Savage Garden parted ways and Darren decided to do his own thing. This included two solo albums, the first being 2002's poptastic 2 million selling UK and Australian top 5 album 'Spin'. His 2nd solo album, a deep, dark and broodingly electronic confessional 'The Tension and the Spark' featured collaborations with experimental programmers Robert Conley, the renowned Marius De Vries (Rufus Wainwright, Bjork) and mixes by Mark 'Spike' Stent (Madonna, Mirwais, Massive Attack). This record seemed to signal a turning point in Hayes' artistry. It brought forth stunning reviews from the likes of the UK's prestigious NME (describing Hayes as a 'genius'). The irony of releasing the best reviewed album of his career was that in the US it was in the hands of a record company who, in Hayes' words, "Just didn't get it". Rather than lose sleep over it, Hayes decided to focus on what he does best: performance.
He spent 2 years touring the U.K, Australia and Asia with variations of a stage show created with long time U2 show designer Willie Williams (U2, Rolling Stones, We Will Rock You). In fact last summer he played to over 30 thousand Brits and triumphantly filmed two sold out and stunningly reviewed shows at Australia's prestigious Sydney Opera House.
Building up an arsenal of songs over what Hayes now describes as his 'gap years' he entered London's Mayfair Studios in October 2006 with producer Justin Shave to record his double album 'This Delicate Thing We've Made'. Like his mentors Peter Gabriel and Annie Lennox, Hayes had been driven by his demons as much as his ambitions. The effect of those teenage years of burying the shameful secrets of both his violent upbringing and emerging homosexuality would fuel a sadness and a sense of longing that would continue to inform his songwriting.
Some of the songs on the record would not sound out of place in a musical about Jules Verne or H.G Wells' 'The Time Machine'. But they're just a metaphor says Hayes of his 'Victorian Science Fiction' dress code. "With this record I was fascinated with the idea of Time Travel as storytelling device to address regret and the possibility for change. I kept obsessing over the notion that if I could travel back in time to the source of my sadness as a child, I would not choose to bring back the violence or the tears. Instead I'd drag some joy back". In doing so Hayes has managed to craft an album of complex narratives and personal confessions that simultaneously document his arrival at peace within himself and the question that we could all ask ourselves. What would you change, if you could?
"It's not a concept record, but there is definitely the idea that it begins with a loss of consciousness and a giving over to the notion that we are going to go deep into the psyche," he explains. Songs like 'Neverland' are as dark as any Tim Burton fairytale or Del Toro's 'Pan's Labyrinth'. In stark contrast 'Who Would Have Thought' is a gorgeous soaring and moody pop vehicle for tenor Hayes to exclaim "Who would have thought the tiny courageous? Who would have thought that love so belated could save me?" As if to say that all the pain and suffering was worth it in the end.
And according to Hayes, it has been.
"This Delicate Thing We've Made" out August. Co Produced by Darren with Justin Shave and Robert Conley. Mixed by Ash Howes (Nelly Furtado, Dido, Kylie)
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My love for you insatiable | Reviewer: Medina | 5/21/13
I completely felt in love with this angel,i adore his sweet voice,his truly,beautiful eyes like an ocean.I wish you all the best,never forget that there has a girl who loves you truly madly deeply!You'll always live in my heart in my soul!
Love Him!!!!!! | Reviewer: Susan Giudice | 10/27/11
I have been a fan since Savage Garden hit the US and have continued to follow him through the years. I fell in love with his voice the first time I heard "Truly, Madly, Deeply", which was my husband and my wedding song...it was magical!!!! I'm so glad to hear that he has finally found personal happiness!!! Will always love him and support his work!!! Keep it up!! Thanks!!!
I miss you | Reviewer: Sue Squire | 2/14/11
I lost my son Darren who was 11 years old in a car accident some years ago. The other day I was feeling very low and i just typed I miss you Darren on Google and hit the enter button on my laptop. The next thing happened was like a gift from heaven. I listened to the most beautiful song I have ever heard. I miss you, by Darren Hayes. Someone who I have never heard of, but now listen to everyday. Darren Hayes you have put a spark back in to my life and for that I thank you with all my heart.
and once again, i fell for him.. | Reviewer: speechless | 4/19/10
Darren's voice is amazing. I've been a fan since he's in Savage Garden. But when they 'broke apart', I kinda lost him. I still hear Savage Garden songs every now and then, but that's it. It's only recently that I re-introduced to Darren Hayes' music. I fell for his music, and boy I fell down hard.
"Unlovable", "Ego", "Dublin Sky", "Feel", and even "So Beautiful". His music and his voice, they've perfectly brought me to feel the feelings he's trying to convey.
ooohh, how I'm craving for more of his music.
Thank you | Reviewer: Discover | 5/18/09
With your new albums you have opened my eyes (If not ears) to new music and I thank you for that. You have a gentle and calm voice that makes you want to listen to what you're saying and when I do I find true and profound honesty. I thank you for all the times I've found myself really down and you've kept me company on my stereo. You put a light in my life
I love you Darren Stanley Hayes | Reviewer: Sian Tame | 2/13/09
OMG!!! I absoloutly love Darren!! I have been his no.1 fan ever since he started singing in Savage Garden!! Darren thank you for your amazing voice!I am truly madley completeley in love with you & your voice!!
Please come to do a tour in london!!!!
I love you so so much Darren and i will always support you and Richard forever!!! xxxx
LOVE HIM!!!!!!!!!!=) | Reviewer: Dani Mickelsen | 12/16/08
OMG!!! Darren is like SOOOOOO hot. I hope that Savage Garden will get back together. I miss them. Not to mention, that Daniel Jones is my freakn' cousin. OMG!!!!! My great-grandma Edna Jones. Dang. Darren, I love you and lets just say that I know more about you than a 13 year old should.
an amazing singer!!!! | Reviewer: Ferdinand | 4/15/08
I think D.Hayes has great voice& lovely songs.Anyone who has heard his songs is going to be fan!I adored his music when i saw him & Daniel Jones (savage garden)in their smash hit song :"to the moon and back".Since then i became huge fan.All of his songs exprese my feelings and that mean so much to me.Great love songs such as:"truly madly deeply, i knew i loved you,insaitable are diamonds&pearls for the music generaly.Me& my girlfiend would like to thank you& wish u to keep going on & travell us with your beautiful songs...
An amazing singer!!! | Reviewer: frederick | 4/15/08
I would like to thank you Darren Hayes for your great songs and music you are doing.I enjoyed your songs since i've listened your smash hit song "to the moon and back".I adrored your songs 'cause they expressed my feelings.I suggest to anyone to listen to D.Hayes song's.They will make him or her to fell in love avery day!Darren keep going your beautiful trip i will support you mo matter what...
An amazing singer!!! | Reviewer: frederick | 4/15/08
I would like to thank you Darren Hayes for your great songs and music you are doing.I enjoyed your songs since i've listened your smash hit song "to the moon and back".I adrored your songs 'cause they expressed my feelings.I suggest to anyone to listen to D.Hayes song's.They will make him or herto fell in love avery day!Darren keep going your beautiful trip i will support you mo matter what...
u r truly amazing... | Reviewer: veronica | 3/12/08
this guy.my frenz,is a magician...
his songs,his voice,the person he is...all reflect a soul-touching goodness...some fill u up with joy n hope...some are gut-wrenching n agonisingly real....
he's the closest thing 2 an angel ive known...n he is blessed...cuz no other can make such beautiful music
n i sometimes feel so sad abt him being very underrated n him not gettin his due...
but Darren as long as u sing,im goin 2 stick by u....
uve been my inspiration n my saviour 4 a long long time....u speak 2 my heart...
hope u know how special u r 2 me evryone who loves ur music....
u r truly amazing!!!
Amazing Darren | Reviewer: annie brettell | 9/26/07
Saw his concert last night in Newcastle upon Tyne and he was truly awsome, amazing and so sexy!!!
He was a great performer and even when he had problems with his scheduled performance (electrics) it didnt phase him at all and did a couple of songs off the belt so to speak. It was out of this world.......luv it,luv it, luv it.
Bashayer | Reviewer: Bashayer | 9/3/07
HEy, wassap?? I Love Darren Hayes, He's so cool!! please is there any way that i can meet him or call him, send me a letter! PLease... VirgoGirl.firstname.lastname@example.org
about darren hayes | Reviewer: antigoni | 9/2/07
i truly liked savage garden but i really think that this change was for the best.his new songs are just amazing.whatever they decide to get back together,i admire him so much.he is so talented
i want to see him personally | Reviewer: kelli | 8/28/07
please let me if there's any New York concerts
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