Iconic global pop artist and award-winning songwriter Darren Hayes today releases his first new album in a decade ‘Homosexual’. It’s a celebration of love and music that have influenced his illustrious career over the past 25 years. The new album was produced, arranged, composed and performed entirely by Darren Hayes. ‘Homosexual’ was recorded in his home studio in Los Angeles and features the singles ‘Let’s Try Being In Love’, Do You Remember?, ‘All You Pretty Things’ and the tender new single ‘Feels Like It’s Over’.
This new album illustrates Darren’s power to survive and ultimately thrive in the music industry. It’s a record that highlights Darren’s versatility as a songwriter and producer; musically the album is deeply rooted in electronic energy, with pulsating beats that he listened to as a child from George Michael to
Madonna. There are also classic Darren Hayes ballads that soar with precision pop melodies and sensibilities.
The record follows in the tradition of true break-away solo projects, as Hayes explains, “This feels like my first solo record in some ways because it’s the first time I’ve been able to sit down in the studio with drum machines and synthesizers and create a body of work completely on my own.
That process brought me back to my teen experience of listening to albums like ‘Faith’ by George Michael or ’Sign O The Times’ by Prince. I wanted to convey that same feeling of real intimacy and complete artistic control and artistic freedom. Having been away from the world for 10 years, doing this seemed like the only thing I hadn’t done yet in my career and the feeling of rebellious emancipation was something that I was desperate to experience in both my personal and public life”.
“Not because I think I’m better than anyone, but because I knew exactly how I wanted this one to sound. I wanted there to be no ambiguity about what was me. I wanted to reclaim my libido, my prowess, my songwriting ability, my production ability. I wanted to reclaim my power and my pride in my sexuality. I wanted there to be no apologies.” Darren Hayes
Darren recently released ‘All You Pretty Things’, a joyful synth pop track which he dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Pulse Nightclub tragedy in 2016. It is a tribute to the LGBTQI+ music pioneers who have influenced his life and music.
“The music video is a tribute to underground club culture and centers around a solo performance of me dancing for 8 and a half minutes until I couldn’t move anymore. In the song lyrics, as a promise to those we lost at the Pulse shooting tragedy, I made a vow that we should ‘dance to remember them’ and in this music video, that’s what I did. I got together with a group of friends, Matthew Rowbottom and Anthony Armentano, used my friend Josh Roush’s camera, some lights and had Matt film me free styling with some lasers and fog. We then took that footage and gave it to some very talented visual effects artists: my husband Richard Cullen, the legendary Billy Brooks, the cinematographer Andrew Huebscher and the editor and post production wonder kid Danny Simonzad.
The result is a trippy, nightlife tribute to my own memories of gay clubs in the mid-90’s with a deeper message of how vibrant and eternal light and life is.
Keen observers will note the rotating roman bust is actually ‘Antinous as Dionysus’. In ancient Greek history, Antinous was the lover of Emperor Hadrian, who was killed before he was 20, almost certainly murdered by people who objected to the relationship. In the wake of his death Emperor Hadrian deified him, had statues commissioned, temples built, and even founded a city in his name. Dionysus, who he’s merged with here, is the Roman god of wine, festivity, and ecstasy. This was my husband’s contribution to the piece and one we felt was fitting for a song about an attack on the LGBTQI community and from an album named, ‘Homosexual.” Darren Hayes
A driving force behind Hayes’ new record is this renewed strength and confidence Hayes has embraced as part of the queer community. Hayes is at his most honest with ‘Homosexual’ and ultimately, his most peaceful and authentic.
“I named my album ‘Homosexual’ for a variety of reasons. The most obvious, is that I’m a gay man who grew up in an era when that word was used to shame and vilify people like me, so I wanted to reclaim it. But perhaps the most important reason I chose this title is that in 2022 I’m living in a time and in a country where the freedoms of LGBTQI+ people are more at risk than they’ve ever been. Moments like the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in Florida, or the constant attacks on trans people, have made it clear to me that now is the time to be as loud as possible about who I am.”
“So on the front cover of my album, I’m proudly lounging upon my version of a stairway to heaven. Blazoned across me, in the brightest hot pink neon, is a word the 11 year old me used to be terrified of. I lounge proudly underneath the electric buzz of this symbol, this term that used to be used to denigrate people like me. Now it’s my word. Now it means whatever I want it to mean. If you haven’t worked it out yet, I think it means something magical, amazing, unique and essential.
My name is Darren Hayes. And I’m a proud Homosexual.”
After touring and promoting 2011’s ARIA Top 10 album Secret Codes and Battleships Darren borrowed the advice of another hero – Bono – and slipped away to dream it all up again. It involved basing himself in LA, but managing to go off the grid. For a man who sold over 23 million copies of the two Savage Garden albums, then reinvented himself as a solo artist making joyful pop songs, Darren Hayes put music on hold. He started a podcast reviewing films and took improvisation and sketch comedy classes in LA with at the famous Groundlings Theatre, which launched the careers of Conan O’Brien, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Coolidge, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.
Thankfully, Darren will be returning to a global stage again in 2023 performing for the first time in a decade throughout the UK, US and Australia on his ‘Do You Remember?’ Tour – 25 Years Of Savage Garden, Solo Hits And More”.
“You never know how much you love something until it’s taken away from you,” Darren Hayes said. “After almost a decade out of the spotlight and all this time in lockdown I found myself really missing the electric feeling that only a live audience can bring. After 25 years in the music industry, I feel like we’ve grown up together. To sing these songs again after all we’ve been through is going to feel like a family reunion. I’m beyond excited to return.”
DARREN HAYES AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
‘Do You Remember?’ Tour – 25 Years Of Savage Garden, Solo Hits And More.
Tickets available through www.darrenhayes.com
January 31st 2023 RAC Arena Perth
February 4th 2023 Sidney Myer Music Bowl Melbourne
February 7th 2023 Aware Super Theatre Sydney
February 8th 2023 Entertainment Centre Newcastle
February 11th 2023 Entertainment Centre Brisbane
February 12th 2023 Convention & Exhibition Centre Gold Coast
Album: ‘Homosexual’ is released via Powdered Sugar Productions is out now
Photo credit: James Reese