Savage Garden's Darren Hayes has begun work on a solo album in a San Francisco studio. He says that he and his bandmate, Daniel Jones, are not broken up, despite rumors to the contrary. "We're on a hi

Savage Garden's Darren Hayes has begun work on a solo album in a San Francisco studio. He says that he and his bandmate, Daniel Jones, are not broken up, despite rumors to the contrary. "We're on a hiatus," he tells Billboard. "Daniel and I finished an 87-city tour and have sold 20 million albums in three or four years. It was a big run for us."

Hayes says his solo album, which is slated to come out on Columbia during the first quarter of 2002, affords him a chance "to grow, to learn ... I've written 40 songs for the record. I've written with Rick Nowels and Walter Afanasieff, as well as a new writer called Greg Beick," he reports. "It's just an amazing team of people that's pushed me and challenged me. And I've been able to take [songs] to places that I've never really been before in terms of Savage Garden. This music has a slightly more R&B slant."

As previously reported, Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You" was named song of the year at ASCAP's annual Pop Awards ceremony, held last week in Los Angeles. "It healed my broken heart. It still makes me smile when I sing it," Hayes admits.

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