HARTS & SOUL
BE SERENADED BY PRINCE’S PROTEGE AT BLUES ON BROADBEACH
There’s only one place you can see Darren “Harts” Hart sling his Stratocaster before he heads to the US for his first solo headlining tour – and it’s in the middle of the road on the Gold Coast.
The Melbourne musical all-rounder joins Bonnie Tyler, Ian Moss, the Slim Jim Phantom Trio and Kevin Borich on the bill for this year’s Blues on Broadbeach festival from today to Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to this one,” Harts says.
“Any blues festival is where I am. This is a one-off and not attached to anything. I wouldn’t have accepted it at any other time.
“I’m always excited every time I play up there (the Coast) but it’s an amazing opportunity to play a free show.”
A singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who turns 26 at the end of the month, Harts has released two acclaimed albums and an EP. He lands in Broadbeach fresh from a near sold-out Australian run to show off his current longplayer, Smoke Fire Hope Desire (Dew Process) before he flies out to spend July touring the US.
“I’m playing Friday night with my band and staying Saturday as well so I can come down and check out (and join) the little Jimmy Hendrix Experience show on Saturday night,” he says.
Led by Phil Ceberano, the all-star Hendrix one-off will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s classic album Are You Experienced, with performances by blues greats Kevin Borich, Ray Beadle, The Screaming Jets’ Jimi Hocking, Hammond maestro Lachlan Doley – and Harts.
The son of elite Indian track and field athletes who moved to Melbourne when he was two, Harts dreamt of representing Australia as an Olympic sprinter until he discovered drums and electric guitar at age 15.
Sport’s loss soon became music’s gain as Harts funkedup, psychedelic blues rock sound snapped, crackled and popped. Signed to Universal at age 18 and dropped a few years later in 2013, Harts has become adept at navigating the swings and roundabouts associated with life as a professional muso.
He admits he’d considered calling time on music in 2014 before a phone call from Prince changed his mind – and his life.
The superstar quietly flew Harts to his Minneapolis studios, Paisley Park, to jam and hang out after he discovered Harts’ clips on YouTube.
“He reminds me of how I was at that age,” Prince declared when news of the visit broke.
Harts still finds it hard to explain just how much he learned from his musical idol.
“He inspired me so much about my own music and influenced me forever,” he says.
“He helped me out and gave me that quote and helped me out behind the scenes. He taught me a lot about how to play with other musos and not just make it all about you. He taught me about producing and writing music; lots of lessons in the studio.
“He taught me lots about the business side of things and deals, what not to do, what he learnt from his experiences.
“The whole time I was there, every single time he spoke to me he was trying to give some kind of crash course at that moment. He wanted to inspire me.”
Which he did – and still does.
Melbourne’s Darren “Harts” Hart is just one of many talented performers appearing at the Blues on Broadbeach festival.