Benjamin & Mia Hackett are the Australian/Canadian husband & wife musical collaborative known as Azalea. The way their voices blend together in song conjures an imagined romance, much like their own. Before they met, Benjamin and Mia worked hard at their craft but each felt separately, something was missing. Their first songwriting session together, in 2004, led to the discovery that what they were missing was each other.
Fast forward to today, they have now released five studio albums, two studio singles, one live album, were named semi-finalists at the 2018 International Songwriting Competition, and were nominated at the 2018 International Acoustic Music Awards. They have also spent the better part of the last two years performing aboard various cruise ships, all around the world.
This past March 2020, Benjamin and Mia were aboard the Norwegian Sun, having completed the first 5 day cruise of that contract when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Everything shut down in matter of hours and within two weeks, they were safely back home. Since then, they have been hard at work navigating the new music business landscape.
With live venues being shut down all over the world, the cruise industry on hiatus, and lockdown or social distancing measures affecting everyone, Azalea focused their time and energy into some new projects. They have successfully hosted several live stream concerts online since May, and plan to continue hosting them on a regular basis.
As of July 31, 2020, Azalea’s new single “Without You” is available everywhere music is sold or streamed online.
Sometimes your biggest fans are your biggest inspiration.
“Without You” was written for two very special fans. Once Azalea started recording this little gem, they knew it was destined for more than a personal gift, thus their summer single was born.
Azalea continues to work on more music this summer and plans to release a number of singles, as well as host more livestream events in the coming months. Stay tuned!
“Live at Home”, released on October 11, 2019, was recorded in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, at a house concert in Azalea’s living room. The recording captures the acoustic heart & soul of six songs from their 2017 studio release, “Gypsy’s Moonlight Motel”, two new original songs, and a cover of “Falling Slowly”, from the motion picture “Once”. Tickets were sold as a crowdfunding perk to help raise funds to record the aforementioned studio release.
“Gypsy’s Moonlight Motel”, was released on October 13, 2017 and was supported by a multi-province 2 week tour. Written and recorded in their home studio, this project features love songs, beautiful vocal harmony and showcases Benjamin & Mia’s musical abilities. The album sits comfortably in the “Contemporary Roots” genre featuring songs that borrow from North American and Eastern European folk traditions, as well as conventional pop sensibilities.
“I See The Church” from the album “Gypsy’s Moonlight Motel”, was nominated at the 2018 IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) in the “Best Group/Duo” category .
Hamilton Blues Lovers Blog has this to say about the album,
“Hamilton musical duo, Azalea keeps growing with every recording and their latest, “Gypsy’s Moonlight Motel” proves it. The production is amazing and they’ve created a fabulous melding of pop and roots music. Their lush vocal harmonies flow through the entire album as the sometimes infectious and always beautiful melodies bolster the sound. It’s a perfect mix of vocals and music that can’t help but effect you emotionally...”
In May 2015 Azalea was hand picked by GigSalad & CD Baby to play their junket for Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Ontario. In honour of this occasion, Azalea recorded and released a limited edition EP called “Canadian Music Week 2015”. As a salute to GigSalad & CD Baby’s DIY methodology, “Canadian Music Week 2015” was made completely in house with fabric-bound hand packaging.
In 2013, Azalea released the EP "Inside Out". An album which streamlined their folk- tinged pop sound and showcased songs to tug at the heart strings with haunting melodic and harmonic lines. Reminiscent of The Civil Wars, and Fleetwood Mac “Inside Out” shed light on Azalea’s Alt-Country side. The pitch for its successful crowd- funding campaign gave some insight into their work:
". . . it has always been our goal to release quality music that is culturally relevant and speaks to the heart. . . . However, we wanted to take listeners on a journey beyond the routine of everyday life to the place that connects them with their emotions, beliefs, and values in a real way.”
In late 2012 Azalea released “At the End of This Year...”, their seasonal single which has received the nod of approval from CBC radio.
Azalea’s 2010 release, “Coffee & Kisses EP", was among the top three finalists for Recording of the Year, Rock Recording of the Year, Instrumentalist of the Year, and Producer of the Year at the 2010 Durham Region Music Awards. The album was featured in prominent music magazines and generated good response from college radio across Ontario.
Years before anyone knew Benjamin & Mia Hackett as Azalea, they performed, toured, and recorded an album as Benjamin & Mia. “The Carousel of Life” (2007) is the root of their love for each other and for their musical life together. That first album thrust them into the life they know, love, and hope to express in song, to every listener.
Azalea’s chemistry is undeniable - their stage presence magnetic! To experience Azalea in concert is to be invited into their love story. They will will draw you in and pull on your hearts strings. Azalea will take you on an emotional roller-coaster as they move through their repertoire of sweet love songs, then take you south with swampy tunes full of rich vocal harmony and live looping.
Two complementary voices supported by guitar, piano, "suitcase-kick-drum”, and foot tambourine create a breathtaking concert experience.
A must see for fans of “Fleetwood Mac”, ”The Civil Wars”, and the film “A Star Is Born”.
Azalea’s music is available everywhere online.