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The Countrytown & KIX Country Centre Stage Artist is Darlinghurst

15 May 2023 | 12:03 pm | Ellie Robinson

Countrytown in partnership with KIX Country is proud to announce Darlinghurst as our ‘Centre Stage’ artist.

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Countrytown in partnership with KIX Country is proud to announce Darlinghurst as the latest ‘Centre Stage’ artist. Every fortnight, we'll be shining a light on a single artist across all platforms including online features, airplay, and social support.

The seeds of Darlinghurst were sewn in 2015, when Jason Resch – one of the band’s two guitarists alongside Matt Darvidis – returned to Melbourne following a stint he spent songwriting in the UK (where he worked with the likes of the Pet Shop Boys, Girls Aloud and Kylie Minogue). With his county skills bolstered by two-year writing sessions in LA and Nashville, Resch dreamt of starting a new band. After two years of searching for the perfect collaborators, Resch discovered singers Pagan Newman and Cassie Leopold, both of whom were immediately onboard.

Leopold’s to thank for the name Darlinghurst – not so much a tribute to inner-city Sydney hotspot, but rather a film script she’d written in 2019, “about a group of misfits who come from all around Australia to audition for a musical, which is being staged to save a music theatre from being taken away from its owner” (as she explained in an interview with The Music Network). As for why it fit so well for this fledging country-pop project? “[The film] had a country music feel to it,” Leopold said, “the 'darling' aspect had strong connotations to country music, and besides, it was the only name the three of us would agree on.”

Darvidis also joined the band in 2019, and with all four members sharing lead vocals, an ironclad creative ethos and a passion for crafting tight, energetic country songs, Darlinghurst were ready to put their boots to the pavement. That August, the band released their debut single, Sorry Won’t Get You Back – an immediate hit, followed by So Long So Long just shy of three months later. 

Over the next two years, Darlinghurst shared a string of wildly successful singles – Picture Frame, Gotta Go Rodeo, Where Do We Go, Unfaithful and You Stopped Making Sense (featuring Shannon Noll) – before dropping their self-titled debut album in September 2021. That catapulted Darlinghurst into the mainstream, leading to the band being awarded ‘New Talent of the Year’ at the 2022 Golden Guitar Awards. Not content with sitting idle, though, they forged on into a bright new era, already teased with the standalone single Unforgettable.

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2022 also saw Darlinghurst collaborate with Amber Lawrence on her song Living For The Highlights, then drop their own single Hangman. And 2023 has already been a huge year for the band, starting with their live team-up with Daryl Braithwaite at this year’s Twilight At Taronga festival, then their collaborative single with Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows, A Little Love.

Later this week, Darlinghurst will continue their reign over our hearts with a sprightly new single called Pretty Doesn’t Make You Good. Crafted in tandem with acclaimed Melbourne duo MSquared (Michael Paynter and Michael DeLorenzis), the song features Newman on lead vocals and tells a powerfully pertinent message. So she said of its basis in a press release: “Mindsets can be powerful creatures. Music, we believe, also has the power to evoke change. This song, albeit, lyrically, has an important message, audibly, it’s subtle and an easy listen. Pretty Doesn’t Make You Good is our way to help break the chain. Once this happens, we no longer will be living in our history, we will be creating a future.”

Leopold echoed the sentiment, adding in her own words, “Trying to escape what the world sells: ‘what success should look like’ is a narrative that continues and one that has a much further reach than ever before. Our personal internal dialogue, self-deprecating, body loathing struggle is real, and this system is deeply unconscious, yet faithfully repeated.”


Keep an eye out on Countrytown for the official premiere of Pretty Doesn’t Make You Good, and keep up to date with Darlinghurst on their Facebook page here.