By Robbie Daw

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He’s got all the charm you’d expect from a handsome English gentleman. And the good news is that Darren’s debut album of emotional pop tunes, Anything Is Possible, scores high on the blue-eyed soul category.

“I was trying to purge my soul of all my experiences and my relationships,” explains the openly gay singer. “It was also a mixture of some experiences of other people – relating that back through song just as an observer.”

The fact that he wrote, composed and produced the entire set himself brings to mind another soulful white boy from Old Blight: George Michael. “He was a control freak, too.” Darren laughs, noting the comparison. “ I would say I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. I find it hard to know when to stop on a song.”

Darren was born in the small British town of Lincoln, but dreamt of escaping to London. “They filmed quite a lot of The Da Vinci Code [in Lincoln],” he says, “so the whole town was in an uproar when Tom Hanks was there. They thought it was the biggest thing that’s happened to them since the Romans invaded!”

After attending university in London, Darren began producing theater – a gig that eventually led him to his new home of New York. “I had a show come to Broadway,” he explains, “so I came over and just absolutely fell in love with the city. It was a matter of, how can I stay here? Luckily enough I won a production award for that show, so I was able to come here with a ‘person of extraordinary ability’ Visa.”

During an introspective period, he began to put together the tracks for Anything Is Possible. “The best time to be creative is when I’m walking around the city,” he notes. “I used to carry a Dictaphone around with me, or sometimes I’d be out without my notepad or my voice recorded, and something would come to my head. I’d have to phone in a leave it on my answering machine.”

The album is nominated for Outstanding New Recording at this month’s Out Music Awards (held June 11 at the Knitting Factory in New York), and it’s reminiscent of the sounds of Darren’s early musical influences. “I suppose I’ve always been a huge fan of Madonna and the producers she’s used,” he points out. “Growing up in the 80’s, I was also influenced a lot by Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Heaven 17.”

Starting this month, Darren will be heading out on a two month tour across the U.S. He’s also producer another artist for Shark Meat Records, the label he and a business partner formed to distribute his own music. As if this guy weren’t busy enough, he’s looking at a 2007 release for his second album. Needless to say, Darren’s schedule isn’t all that conducive to having a boyfriend. “I don’t have time to be dating,” he signs, “ There’s not an hour in the day!”[gn_quote]

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