|Birth name||Angela Ruth Hart|
8 March 1972 |
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
|Origin||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
Angela Ruth Hart (born 8 March 1972) billed as Angie Hart is an Australian pop singer best known for her role as lead vocalist in the alternative pop rock band Frente! and the Indie pop duo Splendid with her then husband Jesse Tobias. Hart was a founding member of Frente! in 1989. She is renowned for her delicate songcraft, lyrics, and breathy vocals.
Born in Adelaide, South Australia, she has an older sister, Rebecca, also a musician. Her parents were Christians from a missionary background. The family moved to Tasmania while Hart was still a baby where they lived in a Christian commune until she was 10 years old. They then moved to Melbourne to join another commune where they remained until Hart was 15 when, with the separation of her parents, the family left the church altogether.
It was this family disruption which led Hart to the Punters Club, a live music venue on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, one of Melbourne's eclectic and bohemian inner suburbs. She frequented the venue to play pool and drink, though she was still under the legal drinking age. It often fell to bartender Simon Austin to eject her from the premises. Hart's older sister was also bartending at the Punters Club in 1989 and when Austin, a guitarist and songwriter, mentioned he was starting a band and looking for a singer, Becky Hart suggested her little sister Angie. Austin and Hart began writing songs together almost immediately, and with the already-recruited bass player Tim O'Connor and drummer Mark Picton, Frente! was born.
In 1990, she co-wrote the song "Marshall" with the Melbourne post-punk band Man in the Wood's bassist and drummer, Owen Bolwell and Stanley Paulzen. Hart had been a fan of Man in the Wood since their formation in 1986. In 1991, they recorded it with Hart on vocals.
Austin and Hart embarked on a romance, the subsequent disintegration of which caused considerable tension within the band, especially as the end of their relationship came just as Frente! was achieving success. The band's 1991 self-funded EP, Whirled, spawned this success with the song "Labour of Love". The song achieved national airplay on Australia's youth radio station Triple J and ranked highly in the Hottest 100 for 1991, a listener's poll. This led to Frente! being signed to Mushroom Records' White label. With great pressure on Austin and Hart to produce a hit, the tension led to an argument between the pair, which in turn resulted in the song "Ordinary Angels". This was the first track on their May 1992 EP Clunk and it launched them into mainstream success in the Australian music scene, with the song reaching number 3 in the ARIA Charts.
With the success of "Ordinary Angels", Frente! was given the opportunity to make their debut album and Prince's producer Michael Koppelman was drafted in for the project. The resulting Marvin the Album was released on 23 November 1992, with its lead single, "Accidently Kelly Street", quickly rising to number 4 in the ARIA Charts where it remained for much of the Australian summer. An environment of saturation media, with the song being aired very frequently on television and radio in Australia, led to Frente! experiencing a public backlash similar to that experienced by Jodi Phillis's band Clouds.
In 1993 Hart gained brief fame and notoriety by posing near nude for Juice, a now-defunct Australian music magazine . Following an appearance on Home and Away in 1993, Hart, with the rest of Frente!, went overseas to pursue success in Europe and America, turning their backs on the hostilities offered by their own country.
Frente! achieved unexpected US chart success with Austin's pared-down cover version of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle". Originally intended as a B-side, the overwhelming interest in the song led to it being the first single from the 1994 US release of Marvin the Album.
Mark Picton was sacked from the band in 1993 and Tim O'Connor left in 1995 due to the pressures of touring. They were replaced by Alastair Barden and Bill McDonald respectively. McDonald left Rebecca's Empire to join Frente!.
In between the first and second Frente! albums, Hart lent her vocal to a single by an Australian studio outfit, Pop! featuring Angie Hart. The song was titled "Tingly" (#92) and was released in late 1995.
After three years of touring, Frente! were led back to the studio in 1995 by Mushroom to produce their second album. The extended touring had largely extinguished Hart and Austin's desire for songwriting, and they arrived in Spain with only a handful of songs for producer Cameron McVey, husband of Hart's idol, the iconic Swedish pop singer Neneh Cherry. At the time, Hart stated that being on tour constantly had left them with no lives to write about. This is evidenced in Hart's lyrics of the 1994 songs "Lonely" and "Explode". McVey immediately broke up the Hart/Austin songwriting partnership, leaving Austin in the studio while he worked with Hart to write a number of the songs featured on the final product, Shape, which was released in July 1996.
In June 1996, Frente! embarked on their world tour to promote Shape, beginning in Australia. By January 1997 when they appeared at the Melbourne Big Day Out, the band members gave in to their exhaustion and went their separate ways. Hart left Australia for the US almost immediately, and lived there for the next eight years.
From 1998 to 2004, Hart performed as part of the pop duo Splendid with her then-husband, Jesse Tobias, whom she met August 1996 when Frente! was supporting Alanis Morissette in Canada. Tobias was Morrissette's touring guitarist. Hart and Tobias married on 22 March 1997 in Austin, Texas and settled in Los Angeles where Hart collaborated with local musicians and made jewellery while Tobias took various jobs as a touring guitarist for Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch among others as well as music direction and production work. As Splendid, the couple released their debut album, Have You Got A Name For It, on 11 October 1999 in Australia. Due to the collapse of their US record company, Mammoth Records, immediately prior to the album's US release date, Have You Got A Name For It was never released outside of Australia. Hart and Tobias separated in September 2004 and have since divorced. Splendid's second album was largely completed prior to Hart and Tobias separating, and a 2006 release was expected, although it was put on hiatus while Hart worked on her solo album Grounded Bird in 2007. In December 2004 they released a six-track EP, States Of Awake, in Australia and through several independent distributors worldwide.
Collaborations with Joss Whedon
In 2002, Hart recorded and performed the song "Blue" for the episode "Conversations with Dead People" of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The song was co-written by Hart with the show's creator, Joss Whedon. As part of Splendid, Hart twice appeared on the show, performing Splendid's songs "Charge" and "You and Me". Splendid's song "Tomorrow We'll Wake" was also aired on Buffy as background music to a scene featuring characters Xander and Anya. She also sang backing vocals on Tara's song, "Under Your Spell" in the musical episode "Once More, with Feeling", of which Tobias was co-music director.
In March 2004, Hart and Austin played two Frente! shows as an acoustic duo in Los Angeles and New York. The shows were welcomed by fans and were consequently repeated in September 2004. Hart and Austin met again in Melbourne in December 2004 to release a three-track EP, Try To Think Less. Frente!'s line-up was completed by Bill McDonald and drummer Peter Luscombe for a highly successful Australian reunion tour throughout January 2005. Though the band is once again on hiatus, Hart and Austin had plans to begin writing for a new Frente! album in 2006.
Hart has since expressed ambivalence towards Frente!'s fans, on the basis of the audiences at the band's 2005 Australian reunion tour, calling them "scary" and "ungrounded" in a 2006 interview with FasterLouder.
Hart is currently a member of the band Holidays on Ice, a project by Dean Manning, formerly of Leonardo's Bride. In December 2005 Hart relocated to Melbourne where she is focusing on the further development of her pop career. Her debut solo album Grounded Bird was released through ABC Music in September 2007; some of the songs on this album were co-written with Ben Lee.
Her second solo album release Eat My Shadow was released on 23 October 2009.