Deni Hines is without doubt considered one of Australia’s foremost entertainers. From hit singles and albums, to lead roles in musicals & television, Deni has grown up in front of audiences from an enthusiastic young performer to a mature, sophisticated all round entertainer.
Deni’s career began when she was 15. Many performers have quirky or interesting stories of how they were discovered. Deni’s story is simple – she was “discovered” singing to the radio in a friend’s kitchen. Encouraged to pursue singing as a career, she began touring as a backing vocalist for the who’s who of the Australian industry, including the likes of INXS & Kylie Minogue.
It wasn’t until Deni began working with The Rockmelons that her true potential began to emerge. As lead vocalist on a string of hit singles, Deni was touted as “the next big thing”. The hits – “That Word (L.O.V.E), “It’s Not Over” and the hugely successful – “Aint No Sunshine” all became Top 10 smashes, with Deni becoming one of the most well known faces, and voices, in Australia.
Fast forward a few years later and Deni released her debut album “Imagination”. Signed to Mushroom Records, Deni spent 9 months recording for her debut release in the UK with writer/producer Ian Green. The first single from the album, “Its Alright” smashed into the charts at #4, ensuring her first solo hit with a platinum award. Further hit singles including “I Like the Way”& “Joy” solidified Deni as a solo star in her own right, and Deni deservedly received an ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Award for Best Australian Debut Performance. The album went on to sell over 300,000 in Japan alone, while the UK release (re-titled to “Pay Attention”) result in yet more hit singles and saw her tour with Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan and the Lighthouse Family. In France, “Its Alright” topped the charts for 7 weeks, making Deni a massive star and sought after collaborator. All told, Deni’s has clocked in sales over 1.3 million copies worldwide. Not a bad start.
Not content with just singing, Deni also appeared as Mary Magdalene in the hit musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” – making her the second only black woman in history to perform the role. Displaying her versatility and desire to explore live musical theatre further, Deni also appeared in “Big River”, cementing her credibility on stage.
Following her success in France, Deni was asked to work on the soundtrack and 2 songs for director Luc Beeson’s film “Taxi”, which achieved Gold Status in its home country. Her music has also appeared in other films including the David Bowie film “Everyone Loves Sunshine”, and “Australia’s “The Wog Boy”; for which Deni recorded a cover of the classic Grace Jones track “Pull Up To the Bumper”, produced by The Black Eyed Peas.
Turning her hand to television presenting, Deni became the host for Channel V’s urban/R&B show “Soul Kitchen”. As host for 2 years, Deni showed her quick wit and vivacious personality could excel in any medium, with a balance of both humour and unchallenged knowledge in the urban genres.
2001 saw the release of “Delicious Collection” – a best of album featuring new tracks and rarities. Headed by the new single “Frenzy”, the album also included “What Makes You A Man”, one of the tracks written for Beeson’s “Taxi”. The album served as a showcase from her early Rockmelons & debut solo years, ending with hints of her new direction.
For the most of 2004/2005 Deni was traveling to London, New York and LA writing tracks for her new album, the first in over 6 years. Working with the likes of The Family Stand (Heather Leadley, Tamia and their own releases), Jarrad Rogers (Lauryn Hill, Brand New Heavies, Delta Goodrem, Christine Anu), Whole 9 in LA (Babyface’s production team) and the cream of the Australian scene, Deni had grown as a co-writer like none before.
Whilst in London, Deni received a call from well known French artist I:AM with the request to fly to Marseille to write a track for Beyonce who was featuring on his new album. In 48 hours the song “Welcome” was written and recorded, played to Beyonce down the phone and greenlit. “Its was so bizarre and quick” says Deni. “Beyonce is one of the biggest female RNB/Pop artists in the world and I get called up to write a song for her, which is always an honour for any artist” comments Deni. If this wasn’t enough, before leaving London, Deni had the extraordinary opportunity to fulfill a dream of performing at The Royal Albert Hall as well as singing in a private performance for The Royal Family.
In February 2005, Deni was approached to audition for a lead role in the new musical extravaganza on Dusty Springfield, “Dusty The Original Pop Diva”. The audition was a success and Deni accepted the role of Reno, a collective of characters involved in Dusty’s life. The hugely successful musical ran from January to September in 2006 with rumours for a renewed season here in Australia and in London’s West End. “I was thrilled to be able to do another musical, its got to be close on 8 years since I had done one and whilst its really challenging, it’s a great endurance test, in addition to the brilliance of Dusty Springfield. Performing to over 400,000 people in 253 shows, the show grossed in excess of $20M. Deni was also nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.
Titled “Water For Chocolate”, the new album and first single of the same title, was released in 2006 and surprised and delighted both her fans and peers, with a new found confidence, direction and image. With a mixture of oh-so-now grooves, heartfelt ballads and sassy beats, its time to finally introduce the real Deni to the world. And trust us, everyone loves it. As quoted by many a journalist, “Deni, why is it that you seem to make albums that are two years ahead of everyone else” . A nice testament to a true artist. The first single of the same name was quickly added to Nova Network and hundreds of radio stations across the country.
Subsequent singles “Son of a Preacherman” and “5 Days of Rain” from the album Water For Chocolate were released throughout the remainder of 2006 and into 2007 which Deni toured relentlessly and having not formerly been much of a touring artist, relished in the closeness one can get with an audience and the increase in bums on seats each and every show. “There’s nothing better than performing to an audience who are interested in you and your music, I find myself wanting to know about them as much as they want to know about me” says Deni. “the places, the people, the experiences are unforgettable, it’s a big world out there, and who said touring was a task master – I love it” laughs Deni.
Not resting on her laurels, it was almost like – what’s next? Having spent most of her childhood listening to classics by Ella and Billie from her grandmother, and re-acquainting herself with this heritage of music which was inspired by her time on Dusty, Deni was yearning to let another part of her musicality and personality out. A Jazz duets album was suggested and there was only one person on that list as a partner – the maestro himself, James Morrison.
One phone call, a meeting two days later at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney airport and the album was underway. Deni had already selected the tracks she really wanted to record and discussed them with James, he went through them one by one and said, “we’ve got a stellar album”. Although James, ever the jazz and music virtuoso commented, “to sing jazz you have to had experience life’s pains”, Deni’s response was “well I’ve been married twice, engaged a few times, I think I’ve had my fair share”, with a glint in her eye.
In two days “The Other Woman” (album title) was recorded at Trackdown Studios, Sydney, one of Australia’s leading sound-stage recording facilities and with the best musicians Australia has to offer. “It was amazing, I’ve never done an album live in the studio with musicians, its always been over a period of months and different locations, often different musicians and producers, this was mind-blowing, James is such a freak, he’d scored every instrument, the arrangements, the works, I feel so privileged to be in the company of these people” says Deni almost jumping out of her skin.
“The Other Woman” released in August 2007 hit the top of the Jazz Charts in Australia and Top 30 on the digital charts. Deni has brought her soul inflection into the mix and preview shows were near sell-outs. A near sell out National Tour concluded late February with additional Festival performances throughout the year such as the ChristChurch Jazz Festival (April 08), Melbourne Jazz Festival (May 08), Darling Harbour Jazz Festival (Jun 08) and no doubt more will continue to be added to their schedules.
In May 2008, Deni Hines and Christine Anu undertook an East Coast tour with huge success. So much so that they decided to do it all over again for their 2nd national tour commencing on the 27th December 2008 through to the end of February 2009. As part of this tour, Deni and Christine have released a version of the Doobie Bros hit “Takin It To the Streets” with 50% of net profits going to the Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Network to assist in fundraising and awareness for the 100,000 Australia’s that sleep on the streets every night.
In February 2009, a 2 hour Live DVD also titled “Takin It To the Streets” of Deni and Christine’s tour was released including bonus interview footage.
Deni is a mad film, dvd viewer and collector and has always secretly wanted to do a film, “a scary horror or suspense film would be fantastic”, Deni has often be overheard saying. Well not quite that scary but definitely an amazing film, Deni has scored a role with the legendary renown Director Bruce Beresford’s new feature film “Mao’s Last Dancer”. Shooting in China, USA and Australia, Deni has squeezed in her shoot dates amongst the tour with Christine.
In October 09 Deni became the ambassador for the humanitarian charity Oasis Africa Australia where she visited the village and school in Kibera, Kenya in January ’10. Her work with Oasis Africa Australia has continued to this day.
In July 2010, Deni reunited with Tamsin Carroll from the HIT Musical Dusty: the Original Pop Diva, to perform a series of shows in NSW in celebration of the iconic singer of black & white soul, “Dusty the Concert”. With over 20 hits, 16 shows in full costume and staging, Deni performed at hundreds of locations in front of thousands of people all across Australia.
In 2011, Deni teamed up with other like-minded celebrities, and raised tens of thousands of dollars for Oasis Africa Australia by appearing in the inaugural season of Celebrity Apprentice. The money raised was used to build schools and infrastructure in Africa.
In 2012, Deni appeared as Nerine Rogers in the ABC drama series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. As a jazz singer in a 1920s Melbourne nightclub, the role provided Deni with the opportunity to show of her wares as both an accomplished singer and actor to Australian and overseas audiences.
After getting married, Deni took some downtime to set up a home and continued to write songs along with commence working on what was to become "The Soul Sessions" album.
The forthcoming lead single "What About Love" is a modern Motown homage written by Deni and Sydney based producer/writer Eddie Said of Kings X Music. The film clip was directed by Award winning film maker Dean Francis, whose recent film "Drown" has been a huge festival success worldwide. Deni and Dean also worked together on the 2016 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Queer Film Festival season trailer.
"The Soul Sessions" is a glimpse into some of the artists who have influenced and shaped Deni's musical pallet. The album features her interpretations of songs from luminaries including King Curtis, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston among others. The album also includes 3 original songs co-written by Deni, including a brand new acoustic version of her 2001 song "Runnin'", written with Dennis & Darren Dowlut. This version serves as a tribute to Darren who passed away in 2005.
The digital single release of "What About Love" will be released on December 2nd, and will include remixes by UK producers The Good Girls [Azealia Banks, Akon, Philip George] and Sydney DJ/producer Alex Taylor, in addition to an unplugged version.
"The Soul Sessions" features cover art from celebrated artist Gabrielle Pool - who created the painting which was sold at the Oasis Africa Australia Charity Auction night to raise funds for the children of Kibera - Africa's largest slum. Deni & Gabrielle flew to Kibera, with Deni teaching the children singing, while Gabrelle taught them how to paint.
"The Soul Sessions" is released worldwide on November 18, and November 16 in Japan via PVine Records. Check out the music page on this website to listen.