Jon Darling hails from New Plymouth, New Zealand, where the singer-songwriter grew up amidst the sounds of Nirvana, Sound Garden, Radiohead, and local punk band Sticky Filth. However, it was Darling's interest in his father's guitar, amplifier, and pedals that fueled his desire to perform and compose.
Darling first emerged as the frontman of the highly touted Christchurch band Fluxion, which issued its debut for Highpara Records in 1994. Over the next few years, amidst spells in Melbourne and Vancouver, Darling's songwriting started to eschew the Tool and Bad Religion song form that influenced his early work, giving way to the eerie and impressionistic sounds of artists like Elliot Smith, Jeremy Enigk, and Ben Harper.
Darling's 1996 solo debut was a striking departure from the primal furor of Fluxion's emocore, expressing a lush, acoustic pop sound. Shortly thereafter, Darling moved to Brooklyn, NY to perform on his sister, Julia Darling's promotional tour of her Wind-up Records debut EP, 'Figure 8'. They spent the next few years promoting the record across the U.S., opening for groups such as Squeeze, Crash Test Dummies, and 10,000 Maniacs, to name a few. Darling is also an accomplished side man, having played guitar and provided background vocals for artists such as Tracy Bonham, Teddy Thompson, Chris Grace, and John Andrews of Loudboy.
In 2006, Darling founded The Grey Race. With Ethan Eubanks on drums, Jeff Hill on bass, and Darling on vocals and guitar, the trio quickly signed with Unfiltered Records. The band released their debut EP "Give It Love" in 2007, and subsequently performed as an opening act on Rufus Wainwright's European tour.
In his review of The Grey Race's debut album, David Mead of Paste Magazine writes: "Give It Love is a stunning debut, fully formed yet enigmatic enough to warrant suspicion that The Grey Race’s best work is yet to come." Magnet Magazine's Hobard Rowland adds: "A New Zealander living in New York, Darling displays a near-perfect mastery of the endless contradictions posed by mood and melody, playing the languid off the lustrous with the skill of an artist who’s been doing this sort of thing far longer."
Darling notes that one of the highlights of his career was performing with Tracy Bonham live on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. After playing the credit closing song, legendary guest comedian Don Rickles shook his hand and whispered……"Great show kid! You look like Sting without his money."
Jon Darling is currently recording his new EP with Ken Rich at Grand Street Recording, and is set for release in late 2014.