The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SUZANNE SIMONOT

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.

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