James Hay Biography & Facts
Colin James Hay (born 29 June 1953) is a Scottish-Australian musician, singer, songwriter, and actor. He came to prominence as the lead vocalist and the sole continuous member of the band Men at Work, and later as a solo artist. Hay's music has been used frequently by actor and director Zach Braff in his work, which helped a career rebirth in the mid-2000s. Hay has also been a member of Ringo Starr's Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.
Hay has made appearances in movies such as Cosi and in television shows such as The Larry Sanders Show, JAG, The Mick Molloy Show, A Million Little Things, and Scrubs. In Scrubs he performs an acoustic version of the Men at Work hit "Overkill". His music also appeared in TV series What About Brian, The Black Donnellys, Cane, and the BBC hospital drama Casualty.
Hay was born in Saltcoats to James and Isabela Hay. In 1967, when he was 14, the Hays emigrated to Melbourne in Australia. His parents owned a small music shop; his father, a piano tuner, had been a stage singer and dancer in Glasgow.
1978–1986: Men at Work
In 1978, Hay met Ron Strykert and they formed an acoustic duo. In 1979, Hay and Strykert added Jerry Speiser and Greg Ham started composing songs for what would become Men at Work.The group released their debut album, Business as Usual, in 1981, which was followed by Cargo and Two Hearts before breaking up in January 1986.
In 1986, Hay joined as guest vocalist with the Incredible Penguins in for a cover of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", a charity project for research on little penguins, which peaked at No. 10 on the Australian Kent Music Report in December 1985.
1987–1993: solo career beginnings
Following the breakup of Men at Work in 1986, Hay released his debut single "Hold Me" in January 1987. The song peaked at number 40 on the Kent Music Report. His debut studio album, Looking for Jack was released in March 1987 and peaked at number 58.
Hay relocated to Los Angeles in 1989. He settled in the Topanga region of the city and has resided in the United States since. In January 2016 he became a US citizen.In March 1990, Hay released "Into My Life", the lead single from his second studio album, Wayfaring Sons, which was released in April 1990. Neither single nor album reached the ARIA top 100. The album was credited to The Colin Hay Band which consisted of Gerry Hale, Paul Gadsby and Robert Dillon.In 1992, Hay released the acoustic album Peaks & Valleys. The album featured Hay's sister, Carol on vocals.
1994–2004: ARIA Hall of Fame and Lazy Eye Records
At the ARIA Music Awards of 1994, Hay was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame as part of Men at Work.In 1994, Hay established his own recording label, Lazy Eye Records, and released his fourth studio album, Topanga.
In 1996, Hay reunited with Men at Work and toured South America, which led to the live Men at Work album, Brazil.In October 1998, Hay released his fifth studio album, Transcendental Highway and in 1999 recorded and released the song "Misty Bay" with his girlfriend, Cecilia Noël.In 2000, Hay released his sixth studio album, Going Somewhere. On 1 October 2000, Hay performed with Men at Work at the 2000 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.In 2002, Hay released his seventh studio album Company of Strangers and the video album Live at the Continental recorded in 2000.In July 2003, Hay released his eighth studio album, Man @ Work, re-recording some Men at Work hits and his solo songs. Hay toured North America with former Beatles Ringo Starr, as a member of his Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.In 2004 Hay launched his one-man show named Man at Work, a mixture of songs and stories.
2005–2020: Continued success
In 2006 Hay provided his voice for one of the characters in the animated movie The Wild.In April 2007, Hay released his ninth studio album, Are You Lookin' at Me?. In 2008, Hay plays the role of Nick at the horror movie The Uninvited.In May 2009, Hay performed at the Artist for the Arts Foundation benefit at Barnum Hall, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, California. Performing alongside Curt Smith of Tears for Fears, Fee Waybill of the Tubes, Venice, and over 70 members of the Santa Monica High School Orchestra and Girls Choir, the benefit helped to provide funds for the continuation of music education in public schools.In August 2009, Hay released his tenth studio album, American Sunshine.In 2010, Hay released the live album, Live at the Corner, filmed in 2007 at The Corner hotel in Melbourne, Australia.In August 2010, Hay performed in Missoula, Montana with a Los Angeles Roots rock band named Patrolled By Radar.In May 2011, Hay released his eleventh studio album Gathering Mercury. In 2011, Hay commented on his early solo career, stating, "After Men at Work, for the better part of a decade, I was stumbling around being unfocused. It was pre-internet; I really had to try to find my audiences by going out on tour. Men at Work really didn't build a foundational audience. We came in as a pop band with enormous radio success; once that goes away and the band breaks up the audience tends to go away with it. You're left with what you want to make of it. When you start out doing those tours, you start again [and] you tend not to attract a very big number of people. I'd play to a hundred people or sometimes less."In December 2013, Hay announced on his website that he was done touring "for the time being" and would spend 2014 writing and recording.In February 2015, Hay released his twelfth studio album, Next Year People. The album was preceded by the single "Trying To Get To You".On 4 August 2015, Colin Hay: Waiting for my Real Life, a documentary film about the singer, debuted at the Melbourne International Film Festival.On 27 January 2017, he released the first single, "A Thousand Million Reasons", from his thirteenth studio album Fierce Mercy, released in March 2017. Fierce Mercy debuted at number 44 on the ARIA chart, becoming his second solo chart entry in Australia. The album was promoted with his segments on Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery and Sunday Night.
Also in 2017, Hay released his first audio book, Aesop's Fables with Colin Hay, published by Devault-Graves Digital Editions, for which he narrated 24 of Aesop's Fables written by author Tom Graves.
2021–present: "Down Under" remix success
In August 2021, Hay released his fourteenth studio album, I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself. The album features 10 versions of some of Hay's favourite songs from The Beatles (Norwegian Wood, Across the Universe) Blind Faith, Del Amitri, Dusty Springfield, Faces, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Glen Campbell (Wichita Lineman), Jimmy Cliff (Many Rivers to Cross) and The Kinks (Waterloo Sunset).In late 2021, Australian producer Christian "Luude" Benson (from the Tasmanian tech house dance duo Choomba) remixed Men at Work's "Down Under" as a drum and bass track, with Hay re-recording the vocal for the track's release on the Sweat It Out re.... Discover the James Hay popular books. Find the top 100 most popular James Hay books.