Savage Garden's Darren Hayes says his music career suffered after coming out as gay
Darren Hayes has admitted that coming out publicly in the early 2000s may have had a negative impact on his music career.
The Australian singer, who scored a string of hits in the late '90s as one half of pop duo Savage Garden, says he believes his professional prospects suffered once the public became aware of his sexuality.
In a wide-ranging interview with Billboard in which he discusses his journey to self-acceptance and experiences of homophobia within the record industry, Hayes stated his belief that being honest about his sexuality resulted him in being pigeon-holed as a 'gay artist' as he attempted to establish a solo career following Savage Garden's split in 2001.
"It’s unpopular to say this now because it sounds like sour grapes, but my career and certainly my radio play was impacted once I was openly out," the 45-year-old said."I don’t regret it for a second. It wasn’t that I was blacklisted, but it was that I became a ‘niche’ artist purely based on my sexuality. There was a kind of unintentionally patronizing view of me. No longer a sexual object, but more of someone you might take home to Mom."Today, that doesn’t matter. But back then, it was like I was suddenly your gay uncle. That was frustrating. My sexuality was used as a descriptor, and if you think about it, that’s nuts. No one says 'Openly heterosexual singer Adele.'"
Hayes, who married his long-term partner Richard Cullen in 2013 having previously entered into a civil partnership together in 2006, also shed some light on the homophobia he encountered from record industry bosses after he decided to come out publicly.
"I’m told some of the higher executives were not thrilled, but never directly to my face," he revealed. "The one crazy thing was when I shot a video for my first solo single, 'Insatiable' and I danced in the video. Apparently the label freaked out because they felt I looked obviously gay in it.
"They made me re-shoot it. They made me straighten my naturally curly hair and they pulled all TV and live performances from the promotion of the album.
"I’m told there was an internal memo... that I should not be allowed to be seen moving my hips because apparently that was the give away. I found this out years after the fact."
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