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TNT Web exclusive: Darren Hayes on being Aussie

As the lead singer of Savage Garden, Darren Hayes sold more than 23 million records. Now performing solo, Darren is set to play London's Hammersmith Apollo on Wednesday April 26 as part of his A Big Night In Tour.

What does it mean to you to be Australian?
To me to be Australian is to, first and foremost, be lucky. To think that the random act of being born in a continent so rich and full of natural resources is in itself like winning the lottery. I forget until I travel home just how stunning our backyards are and how easy it is to take for granted things like the weather, the beaches and the incredible fresh food. Being Australian is also, I would hope, to have a curious quality about the rest world, and want to go out and explore it so that we might come home and share the stories. Being Australian is about being comfortable flying for 27 hours to Europe and not batting an eyelid.

Apart from loved ones, what do you miss most about home?
I think most travellers will tell you they miss home because they miss what is familiar. Iíve never understood people who travel to another country and then constantly complain that it isn't like theirs. I enjoy difference, I enjoy new experiences. But, of course, being a stranger in a strange land can sometimes grind you down if you're missing, say, a hamburger with beetroot on it from a fish and chip shop. Or tiny comedic nuances that are culturally ingrained. More than anything, I think I miss sentimental attachments. The shop I bought my first record in. The street I used to live on. Those physical places where memories are rooted. Looking at a photo or a ticket stub is not the same as walking the paths that you used to. You can buy a Tim Tam anywhere these days. So the things I miss are not tangible.

Why are you in Britain?
I came to Britain for work, to promote my album The Tension And The Spark and simply fell in love with it. London has since become a part of my happiness.

How long do you plan to stay?
Eventually I'd like to apply for residency. I feel very lucky that I can spend my time between here and Brisbane, where my family live in Australia.

Do you think your nationality has made a difference to your career?
I think Australians naturally have a chip on their shoulder and that arrogance probably propelled me further than if I were a rich kid growing up in LA, that's for sure. But these days, I think it doesn't matter where you come from. The world has opened up so much. Tsubi jeans are a worldwide phenomenon and rarely do people know they're Australian. If something is good, it shouldn't matter where it's from.

Have you ever suffered from or experienced cultural cringe?
Hmmm. Have I ever cringed when I see a group of loudmouth Aussie backpackers slagging off London while appearing more drunk than is perhaps medically possible? Sure, it does make me sad that beer drinking and loutish behaviour seem to be qualities people associate with being Australian. But you could say the same thing about any group of young people in another country. And, as we all know, that is the exception to the rule. In general, I'm very proud to be Australian and there are so many qualities we have that other nationalities really love. Iím forever being told that my band and crew are some of the nicest people my record companies have ever worked with. We just think we're being normal, but there is something to say about how our friendliness and work ethic seems to leave a good impression when we visit other countries. I'm proud of that.

ē Darren Hayes performs at the Hammersmith Apollo, Queen Caroline Street, W6 (020-8563 3800). Wednesday, April 26.

Source: TNT Magazine
Darren Hayes Articles 2006