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Australia's Savage Garden: Internet savvy, internationally celebrated

Savage Garden
Savage Garden: An international band that is a hit at home too  

July 11, 2000
Web posted at: 4:32 p.m. EDT (2032 GMT)

(CNN) -- What do you call a band whose main musician is a British-born Australian, and whose singer-songwriter is an Australian living in the United States?

Tri-national?

Try Savage Garden.

When Darren Hayes answered a Brisbane, Australia, advertisement for a singer, little did he know that he would go on to front the band that has found more international success than any other Australian musical export -- ever.

He hardly expected to find an audience in his hometown. "I was a fan of pop music growing up--the Jacksons or Madonna, Prince," he told WorldBeat host Brooke Alexander. "I had this love of melody and commerciality, which didn't really fit in in Brisbane."

But Hayes and musical partner Daniel Jones looked past Brisbane, searching for a larger audience for their sound.

"When we first began, I didn't even think about being Australian or being contained by nationality," he said. "I was proud of my nationality but I looked on the world scene as my benchmark. I wanted to make music that could be played in Germany or Italy or the U.K. or America."

As record sales show, Hayes has succeeded in that goal. Savage Garden's self-titled 1997 debut album won an unprecedented 10 Aria awards -- the Australian equivalent of the Grammys -- and has sold more than 11 million copies worldwide.

The duo's 1999 follow-up album, "Affirmation," has broken more records. When its single "I Knew I Loved You" topped the charts, Savage Garden became the first Australian band to have two No. 1 hits in the U. S.

Darren Hayes
Hayes says Savage Garden's success is also good for Aussie music in general  

Topping the charts wasn't his goal, said Hayes, who used the Internet and digital audio tapes to record the album with Jones. Hayes worked from his home in New York, collaborating with his partner, who lives in Brisbane.

"If we had thought about recording a second record, it would have really colored the project, tainted it. It would have been an album about fear -- fear of success and trying to match something. Ultimately we just went back and made another collection of songs that we wanted to hear."

The rest of the world must want to hear those songs, too, as indicated by their album and concert sales.

And what is good for these boys from Brisbane, also may be good for the rest Australia, Hayes thinks.

"Australians used to be afraid of success," he said. "We used to limit ourselves in some ways, and we don't do that anymore. Australian film, Australian fashion, -- certainly, Australian music -- is in a really healthy period. "



RELATED STORIES:
Checking in with Australia's music icons
July 7, 2000
Savage Garden's flowering love songs take root
November 15, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Official Site: Savage Garden
Official Australian Site: Savage Garden Village
The World of Savage Garden Fan Site

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