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Richard Marx
Ever since he arrived on the music scene, first as one half of Australian duo Savage Garden, and then as an equally successful solo artist, Darren Hayes has been a force to reckon with. In an exclusive conversation with The Record Darren talks about the personal nature of his new album, his thoughts on fame, and meeting the wax figure of a celebrity just days before actually meeting the real thing!

The Record: Tell us about your first single Pop!ular from your new album.
Darren: Pop!ular is the first single from my new record and itís a complete departure I think musically, lyrically, in many ways. That song is quite ironic to me. Itís meant to be tongue in cheek, itís mean to be funny because itís a song talking about my perspective I guess as someone who considers himself to be quite a serious and sincere songwriter, in the middle of a very corporate world, a very competitive pop world in many ways. So itís kind of my take on the frustration I guess that I sometimes feel, with our fascination with fame and the machine and my own place within that.

TR: Youíre living in America and itís completely celebrity crazy out there. Did that play a part in this song?
Darren: Not really, I think if you know anything about me, you know Iím a terrible celebrity. Iíve managed to sell a lot of records without selling my soul. Because the truth is I really just love to sing. I love to sing and write songs and the rest of it I can leave. I honestly donít need to go to parties or red carpet events unless Iím told I have to promote something. I think in many ways the song was my reaction to radio and music television and a lot of the reality TV shows that are in the West, the way itís become a kind of global obsession with just being on the TV and being famous. And for me in some ways, being a songwriter I felt almost overwhelmed and swallowed up by that process. I was making this album The Tension And The Spark which is extremely personal and autobiographical and I thought ĎHow am I going to get attention for this album?í Thatís why I wrote the song Pop!ular and made the video the way I did, just to say, ĎLook if everybody else is doing it, so am I!í

TR: The video for Pop!ular is very interesting. Tell us about it.
Darren: Originally I wrote the idea for the video and we did an experiment in New York, in Manhattan, and it was a lot of fun. It was just a friend of mine who had a video camera, and I took a ghetto blaster into the subways and onto 5th avenue and just sang the song to terrified Americans! And it was just funny to show how someone in my position could have to stoop so low actually. [Laughs] So we did it in London over three days with a film crew. Most of what you see in the video is real footage of people reacting to me bombarding places like Madame Tussauds, or a local convenience store or a bus, a train station with a troupe of dancers. We did everything we could to get attention for myself and for the song and it was the most fun I think Iíve had in a video.

TR: Have you had any celebrity reactions to the song?
Darren: You know whatís funny, we shot the video and thereís this one scene where Naomi Campbellís waxworks dummy and I have a conversation. And two days later I went to a Lenny Kravitz concert in London and I sat next to Naomi and was introduced to her. And I thought ĎShould I tell youÖí [Laughs] So I met her waxworks figure before I met her!

TR: Are you back home right now to promote the album?
Darren: Yes Iím in Melbourne, Australia. I just got here yesterday, Iím suffering a terrible jet lag. Itís such a long flight from London. Iím here for 10 days which Iím very excited about. To see my family and friends. Then we head of to Los Angeles to shoot a video, then Mexico, Canada, and then back to London.

TR: Great! Does India feature on your list of places to come to with this album?
Darren: Always! Iím obsessed with India. In fact at various times on my calendar over the last couple of months Indiaís been popping on and off various schedules. Nothingís confirmed as yet but I can tell you honestly that I am trying to come there. I just have wonderful memories from coming to India with Savage Garden. I still do, to this day, when people ask me about some of the most profound memories Iíve had in my career, my visit to India was one of them.
I think that the people are so beautiful. And Iím a huge yoga fan. Iíve been practising yoga for five years and I know that it probably has nothing to do with what the locals consider yoga to be about but there is definitely a sense of spirit and calm and spirituality that I felt when I first came to India that I get from yoga. And I canít wait to come back and feel that again.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Darren Hayes in the September 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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