Darren Hayes: There’s life after Savage Garden
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - May 16, 2002 - 12:00am
Here’s good news for fans who have been grieving over the break-up two years ago of the duo Savage Garden (which produced two albums, the 1997 self-titled one and 1999’s Affirmation which together sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, spawning such hits as Truly Madly Deeply, I Want You and I Knew I Loved You): One half of the duo, Australian-born Darren Hayes, has just come up with a solo album called Spin (released by Sony Music), a 12-track worthy debut item that "offers an antidote to the darker side of humanity, bursting with rhythmic spirit and lyrical heart."

The other half, Daniel Jones, has opted to slip into anonymity.

Recorded in San Francisco where Hayes now lives, Spin is co-produced (by Hayes) with Grammy winner Walter Afanasieff (who was behind the Savage Garden albums and those of Ricky Martin and Mariah Carey). Hayes spent a year co-writing more than 35 songs from which the 12 tracks were selected.

first single, Insatiable (composed by Hayes and Afanasieff), harkens the sweet, full-bodied sound that Hayes is best known for (as lead singer of Savage Garden) and then turns up the heat with its breathy, falsetto take on the bold passion that goes hand-in-hand with blossoming love.

Hayes is currently on a world promo tour for Spin. Last week, Funfare talked to him in Bangkok where, along with sensational new Latin Pop Queen Shakira (more on her in a Conversation next Sunday, May 26), he graced the annual Sony Music regional get-together.


Why Spin as title for your first solo album?

"I don’t know why but I find it such a beautiful word. If you notice, that word keeps coming up in most of the songs on the album; I keep using that word. Spin can talk about many things, such as spinning a record, spinning on things, just about anything."

How does Darren Hayes sound as a solo artist compared to Darren Hayes of the Savage Garden?

"More relaxed, I should say. The great thing about being solo is that you can be more personal. As a solo artist, I really have to find the essence of what it is that I did and what it is that I’m doing. I have to look back at the albums and the songs that I loved as a child to understand what it is that I’m doing now. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder."

Is Spin some kind of a tribute to those artists?

"Not really a tribute, although you could hear in my songs strong influences by those artists. But if people look at it that way, I think that’s a compliment."

When you said in an interview that your break-up with Daniel Jones was a "natural progression," what did you mean?

"I think that Daniel and I found out what we wanted to do with ourselves and our careers. After Savage Garden, I realized that I wanted a career as a performer and as a public person, while Daniel wanted to stay in the sidelines, behind the scenes. He preferred a career out of the spotlight, inside a studio, and I preferred the other way. We needed to get out of Savage Garden for us to grow individually. Savage Garden was such an incredible experience but it wasn’t meant to last forever, not even for long."

What it a case of growing up and away from each other? You know, maturing as artists independent from each other?

"Yeah. I think that we reached a point where we couldn’t grow up together anymore; we were heading in different directions. I wanted to continue; he didn’t. He wanted to have more of an executive role. And it’s impossible for a band to go on if the members are going opposite ways."

You seem to have a fondness for "relationship" themes in your songs. How come?

"You know, it’s because I’m a romantic. That’s it. That’s why I preached love. The interaction among human beings is endlessly fascinating for me, whether it’s love between friends, love between a man and a woman or love between a mother and her child."

Did you have any feelings of uncertainty when you decided to go solo?

"Sure! I was terrified to do this album but I had to do it. That was the challenge. For the longest time, Daniel and I as a Savage Garden were very spoiled. Doing a solo album made me feel like a new artist; I felt as if I was starting all over again. I could have called this album ‘a Savage Garden record’ but I didn’t want to. But I didn’t want the easy way. I wanted to forge ahead on my own name."

You called yourself an old-fashioned entertainer. Why?

"I think my values as an entertainer and as a musician are old-fashioned. I believe, for example, that if you’re a singer you should be able to sing in the real sense of the word. I respect the audience so I make sure that if they pay a ticket to my concert I give them a performance worth their time and money, a performance that pleases not only me but everybody out there."

You’ve done three albums so far (two with Daniel Jones and one as a solo artist). What do you think is your best song so far?

"I’m probably the worst person to judge my music because I’d be biased. My fans are the best judge, I’m sure."

What would you consider the song of your life, the one song that touches you the most?

"It’s probably With or Without You by U2. It’s simple, it’s sincere, it’s straight-to-the-point. I don’t know but it sounds so magical to me. Everytime I hear it, it brings tears to my eyes. When I was a kid, my older sisters used to play all kinds of albums for me and one of my favorites is Task. I call it the soundtrack of my life."

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