Love, Music and a Rebel Heart

by | Jul 19, 2019 | Spotlight

 Love and music are two of the most powerful forces on Earth. They influence the way we think, speak, and ultimately live our lives. So, when a couple like Darren and Millena Hicks collide to create a band based on their love for music and each other, magic ensues. And in this case, a bit of rebellion, too.
Rebel Heart is a local cover band specializing in modern country music. When the band isn’t touring different venues, Darren works as a lighting technician and Millena works for the county. The Hicks’s have been married for 24 years, and initially bonded over their love of music. Millena started singing young in the church, and Darren had a few classic rock garage bands ‘back in the day.’ Rebel Heart came to be in 2012; prior to then Millena would sing in other bands, hitting the road and leaving Darren at home. To this day, they both agree that the best part of being in the same band is getting to travel the country, singing, making music, and preforming together.
There are eight pieces total that complete the puzzle of Rebel Heart: Millena as band leader and main lead vocals, Darren as male lead vocals, Lauren Simpson as backup vocals, Marty Piter on lead guitar, Bob Vitti on keyboards, Randy Jones on the drums, Peter Violas on the bass, and Tamara Rhoads on the fiddle. According to Darren and Millena, each member in the band is like family.
The name ‘Rebel Heart’ was inspired by the dynamic couple themselves: Darren is the heart, and Millena is the rebel (AND the boss).  The road gets bumpy when trying to accommodate the schedules of eight people; this balance and the Hicks’s special bond helps keep the band running and performing smoothly.
The band originated in SCV but has travelled out-of-city and out-of-state for venues, one of their favorites to play being Gilley’s Saloon in Las Vegas. Locally, the band enjoys playing at both The Cowboy Palace in Chatsworth, and Route 66 Classic Grill in Canyon Country, and is booked to perform at their 9/11 Memorial event later in the fall.
Their specialty is modern country, but the band also dabbles in southern/classic rock and acoustic sets. Their acoustic shows include four of the band members, calling themselves “Acoustic Kinship” performing a variety of genres, and will often feature a special guest. According to the Hicks’s, the best part of being in a cover band is challenging themselves with new music. The feeling after conquering the sound of a complex song is a reward in itself.
One word of advice to those wishing to start their own band: Patience. Especially when it becomes less of a hobby and more of a full-time job, a level of fortitude is needed to stay afloat. But with a passion for performance and a family of bandmates, what was once a wild dream can become a person’s reality. Millena notes that she really is living her dream, with Darren and my mom as her biggest fans! “My mom never misses a show.”
Visit for future performance dates, booking details, and more information on the band.