More recently, Harts has become known for his Hendrix-like guitar playing and blend of Funk, Pop, Rock and Soul music, which has earned praise from wide range of musicians such as Prince, Nick Littlemore, André Cymone, Ross Wilson, Lars Stalfors and music industry such as Paul Lester, Tom Robinson, Matt O'Connor and Richard Kingsmill. His voice and music also bears resemblance to that of Lenny Kravitz.
Born to track and field athlete parents in Chennai, India, the family moved to Australia when he was around two years old. He grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Point Cook and went to Heathdale Christian College.
Harts' first release, a teaser track and demo titled "Back to the Shore," was released on iTunes on 19 August 2010 through Australian independent A&R company, The A&R Department, headed by former Warner Music A&R Manager, Matt O'Connor. The original demo along with a few other tracks attracted attention on the internet, leading to an offer from Lars Stalfors of The Mars Volta to mix the tracks. The newer versions of the tracks mixed by Stalfors formed Harts' debut EP, Offtime.
On 20 July 2012, Harts released the first official single, titled "All Too Real". "All Too Real," was released to positive reviews, which included many online blog features, national airplay on Australian radio station Triple J, in the UK on BBC Radio 6 Music, as well as being the second most added to Australian alternative radio the week of its release. The music video for the song also enjoyed airplay on Australian late night music video program Rage four weeks in a row. "All Too Real" was also released on a limited run of special edition double A-side vinyl, along with the track 'Back to the Shore', on 9 August 2012.
Harts released his debut EP, "Offtime" on 1 March 2013 through Island Records Australia under Universal Music Australia. All songs on the EP were composed, produced, arranged, written and performed by Harts. It was mixed in Los Angeles by Lars Stalfors and mastered in New York by Heba Kadry. Stalfors said of working with Harts "He has such a great ear for melody and his production is so unique, which is what I love".
Although the EP was released in 2013, Hart revealed that the songs were written and recorded between 2009 and 2010, when he was 18/19 years old.
The EP received positive reviews which included many online blog features and music publications. Concert Blogger described Harts' EP as "...nothing short of revolutionary to the indie/pop world" stating "Offtime, features five tracks of audacious, breakout feel-good pop rock that is as addictive as it is intricate; a carefully planned and pleasingly well-written masterwork of a debut..."
Indie music blog 'Indie Shuffle' wrote of the single "The Music" saying "A great indication of the multi-instrumentalist’s musical prowess, everything about this track is spot on. From Hart’s brazen vocals, to the dazzling guitar riffs and carefully assembled synth lines, this is the work of a genius. As much as I don’t like comparing people to artists of the magnitude of Prince, the similarities are undeniable."
The Guardian music writer Paul Lester, said in his "New Band of the Day" feature on Harts that "one of Harts' EP cuts is as good as Prince jamming with Chic."
Music director of Australian radio station Triple J, Richard Kingsmill quoted Harts as "A one man music making machine."
On 20 August 2013, Harts announced that he had now parted ways with Island Records and Universal Music Australia, planning to "move on to the next phase independently."
All tracks written by Darren Hart.
On 4 October 2013, Hart revealed a new track via his Facebook page and blog, titled "Leavn It All Behind". The song quickly gained much attention on music blogs and social media which led to the track being released independently as a single on 11 November 2013. The release featured two versions of the song, the Extended 12" mix and a Radio Edit.
'Leavn It All Behind' was released to positive reviews and marked a clear shift in momentum for Hart. Along with many online blog features, It received radio play on BBC Radio 6 Music, as well as being featured in Tom Robinson's BBC Introducing Mixtape, and was also added to rotation on UK radio station Amazing Radio, where it won the "Audition" spot in addition to being featured as presenter Scott McGerty's Record of the Week (16 Dec).
Paul Lester, of The Guardian featured Harts as "New Band of the Day" on 20 December 2013, in an article which referred to Hart as a "Super-talented Aussie pop funkateer who does everything – write, perform, produce, arrange – in his PJs", referring to Hart's bedroom home studio ethic. Astonished by Hart, Lester wrote "…he's able to reference said genres so skilfully and assimilate their influence with such a mastery and attention to detail.", later going on to make the remark that "In a world where someone like Bastille can become a breakout star, Harts should be No 1 everywhere, including other planets."
The single was also released with an accompanying live video of Harts performing the song in a studio rehearsal room. Hart reported on his blog that the video went on to catch the attention and praise of one of his musical idols, Prince.
French nightly news and television talk show, Le Grand Journal featured 'Leavn It All Behind' during the show's "Coming Next" segments, which aired weeknights on Canal+ from 6–10 January 2014.
On 24 February 2014, Harts released the single "Lovers in Bloom" from his upcoming debut album. The single charted at No. 30 on The Hype Machine, gained independent radio play worldwide as well as many blog features. Harts gained further exposure when the video for the single was tweeted by Questlove of The Roots and Prince's 3RDEYEGIRL Twitter account.
"Red & Blue", the fourth single from the album was released on 15 August. It quickly landed a spot on Triple J's 'Hit List' as well as being added to high rotation. It was confirmed by Harts that the single was Prince's favourite song off the album.
On 5 September 2014, Harts released his debut album "Daydreamer" in Australia and New Zealand. The album features the singles "Leavn It All Behind", "Lovers In Bloom", "Angels Walk Below" & "Red & Blue". 'Daydreamer' was released to positive reviews, which included many online and print music publications and articles globally. Rolling Stone Australia described Harts as "A supernaturally talented young buck who's mastered Hendrix's blistering guitar shredding and the electro-funk pop perfection of Prince in his Eighties prime."
Prince was quoted as saying "He reminds me of how I was at that age", after it was revealed that Harts had spent time jamming with Prince at his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis.
On 7 November 2014, Harts announced and released a new single, titled "When A Man's A Fool". The single was added to high rotation on Triple J radio as well as landing another spot on the Triple J 'Hit List'. Harts announced Australian tour dates to promote the release throughout December 2014 - January 2015.
All tracks written by Darren Hart.Offtime (EP) (2013), Island Records Australia/Universal Music
Daydreamer (2014), Offtime Music/A&R/Pavement Records
Smoke Fire Hope Desire (2016), Dew Process/Universal Music – AUS No. 21
"Back to the Shore" (2010)
"All Too Real" (2012)
"The Music" (2013)
"Leavn It All Behind" (2013)
"Lovers in Bloom" (2014)
"Angels Walk Below" (2014)
"Red & Blue" (2014)
"When A Man's A Fool" (2014)
"All Rise" (2015)