ASM Interview: Singer Darren Hayes - page 2

By Jeff Ferrantino on August 31, 2007

Darren Hayes, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, music, albums, lyrics, albumsASM: Was there any musical history in your family?

Hayes: None whatsoever. I'm just the freak of nature gene that responded to music and could not be contained!

ASM: Who were some of your musical influences growing up?

Hayes: Michael Jackson and Motown. Some Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, but mostly R&B and soul. Later, I got into Prince and pop music in the '80s, like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, but it was always underlined by the 'Purple one' and the 'Gloved one.'

ASM: In 1993, you were studying at a university in Brisbane when you read an ad that Daniel Jones posted seeking a vocalist for his five-piece band Red Edge. What do you recall of that first meeting?

Hayes: I almost convinced them not to audition me. I was very inexperienced and quite shy. But I remember Daniel saw something in me — some potential — and convinced the other band members to give me the job. The band eventually ended, but he and I had clicked and dreamed up a whole new future together as a duo.

ASM: A year later, the two of you left the band to form Savage Garden together. Your debut single, "I Want You," caught the interest of the labels in the U.S. and eventually Columbia Records/Sony BMG won the bidding war. Were you surprised by how quickly everything happened?

Hayes: I still am. I went from living in Brisbane, Australia and never having traveled overseas to living in New York, traveling the world and hitting the top of the Billboard Charts twice. Major life changes.

ASM: The end of Savage Garden came about after seven years together. Why did you and Daniel decide to go your separate ways?

Hayes: It was his decision. He was not happy being on the promotional trail and giving up control of his day-to-day life to a press schedule. It was disappointing that he chose to give up what I thought was a golden opportunity, but in the end I'm so glad he did, because it forced me to reinvent myself and fight to stick around.

ASM: Your debut solo album, "Spin," was released in 2002 and spawned several UK Top-40 singles. While well-received by critics, your follow up album in 2004, "The Tension and the Spark," did not achieve as much success. You've said that your label in the U.S. "just didn't get it." What happened?

Hayes: Well, the short story is that I changed my style and they wished I hadn't. The longer story is that Sony and BMG merged as a company and Columbia (the label I'd signed to) essentially got swallowed. All of the people who had previously worked on my career were either fired or lost their rank and my fragile, little, strange record got ignored. I didn't take it too personally. The way I feel now is like a libertine. No one tells me what I can or can not do. It's bliss!

ASM: So after 10 years with Columbia/Sony BMG, you parted ways and created your own label, Powdered Sugar. What was your biggest fear of going at it alone?

Hayes: That people would think I couldn't get a record deal. I didn't even try to. EMI in the UK approached me about a deal and I politely said, 'No thanks.' It was really important for me to do things on my own terms and not put myself in the position of weakness again.

ASM: What's your take on the music industry today as compared to when you first started?

Hayes: It's all gone downhill! The record deal, as I knew it, is over. Everyone is afraid to take risks and the result is the pushing and marketing of very safe and average music that all sounds the same. I'm not interested in being in that antiquated system.