In the 1990s Darren Hayes was a member of the pop duo Savage Garden alongside Daniel Jones. The group was an MTV TRL mainstay and the pair of musicians gave us iconic and memorable love songs like “Truly Madly Deeply”. However, contrary to what people might have thought, Hayes was not singing about women.
“I never lied,” Hayes tells GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos. “What some people may not like to hear is that songs like ‘I Want You,’ that’s a dream about a boy. I was singing in code. I had a way to be myself, even back then.”
The 1990s was a different time for LGBTQ folks in the public spotlight. Hayes remembers that the queer community was the brunt of the joke and the only representation that was Will and Grace. “ There was Jack, or a straight actor playing the only ‘acceptable’ version of a gay which was Will,” Hayes points out.
For Hayes, his coming out journey wasn’t about whether or not he wanted to come out to the world. “It was whether or not I loved myself,” Hayes said.
Since coming out, the world has definitely changed and when young people listen to his stories as gay man in the 1990s, they are shocked.
“We live in a world with Lil Nas X, Sam Smith, Troye Sivan — all these wonderful, fully-formed queer artists who just arrive” he said. “We’re so nuanced now and I think the expression of queerness is just so multifaceted and it’s wonderful and so inspiring, but for me, I’m 50. When I was a teenage boy, I had no idea that this world would exist. It was impossible to me.”
Now, Hayes is “free” and is open to be his real, authentic self – and it reflects in his music.
His first solo record in 10 years, Homosexual is set to be released October 7, but his dance floor anthem “All You Pretty Things” is available now. The song has extra meaning because it is dedicated to the victims of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting.
“I was so silent for so long,” admitted Hayes. “I didn’t have a voice when the Pulse tragedy occurred, but it affected me so much. Mostly because I think of gay spaces as safe spaces. I always thought of going to a gay bar as the one place where I didn’t have to worry about my safety.”
He continues, “To create this record has been incredibly emancipating and it’s healed a lot of wounds I didn’t even know I was carrying around.”
Hayes has had quite a journey and it has been life-changing for him. “I’m not the same pop star that was on Carson Daly’s Total Request Live, but I am free.”
“Homosexual” is available now and tickets for his “DO YOU REMEMBER” tour go on sale on October 14.