With five multi-platinum albums, over 3.5 million singles sold and over 54 million views on Veevo, Hedley is firmly cemented as one of Canada’s most successful and adored touring acts. But the four-piece pop rockers still find time to savour the little things – kicking off their tour in Newfoundland chiefly among them.
‘A Second Home for Us’
“Newfoundland’s our favourite, man,” frontman Jacob Hoggard shared with The Herald. “I don’t know if we could kick off a tour in a more ruckus kind of a spot. It’s one of our favourite places to go – we talk about it all the time, and it feels like a second home for us. People there are so incredibly warm and welcoming and that’s a very polite way to say other things I’m thinking.”
Hoggard gained international recognition for his powerhouse run through the second season of Canadian Idol. Post series, Hoggard revamped his old band with an all-new lineup, keeping the Hedley name. One of Canada’s most promising bands came out swinging with their self-titled debut in September of 2005. It was all systems go from there.
“It’s freaky in a way to just look back and be like ‘Man time flies so fast,’ but it’s also just so exciting to know that there’s just as much of a future ahead of us as well,” Hoggard shared.
“We’ve built this band over the last 10 years on a really strong foundation, and because of that I feel really confident knowing what we’re doing to be able to push into these next 10 years with just as much ambition, jut as much passion and just as much excitement. For us, we know how lucky we are, and we know that if we’re not having fun doing this then there’s no point in doing it. Music, at this point, is my life. There might have been a point in the first couple of years when I was starting out where I was like, ‘Well if it works out great and if it doesn’t I’ll figure something else out,’ but now at this point I’m devoted to it. It’s part of who I am now. For me it’s every single day. I go back to that place where I’m grateful and excited to push forward.”
‘A Real Evolution’
The band has gone through many transformations since 2005. Though the lineup remains intact, the group’s sound has varied from alternative, to punk rock, to synth pop and now a more definitive radio-ready pop rock. It’s that artistic freedom and creativity that keeps the band fresh, and audiences lap it up.
“It’s such a cool feeling you get looking back over the years and seeing such a real evolution in the band’s complexion, diversity and even the surroundings and the artists we’re showing up with,” Hoggard said. “I think that speaks how hard the band really works on our devotion to growing and our devotion to evolving and continue to push ourselves. I think as artists, as musicians and as music fans ourselves, it’s just such an important element of the process. No one wants to remain the same and keep playing the same kind of music. It’s probably just a result of my undiagnosed ADHD, but it seems to be working.
‘The Greater the Risk’
“I think a lot of it has to do with honesty, and by that I mean honesty with ourselves and being honest with where we’re at as individuals,” Hoggard adds. “Honestly any music fans know your tastes are going to change as you grow. To be honest with yourself about that music evolution I think is important. Some people can be stuck in a little bit of denial where they only want to be one thing and they only want to have this one element of their identity, musically or otherwise … I think it’s that honesty that has brought our fans on this life journey with us. It’s our ability to be really transparent and open with our fans about who we are. Even on a personal level that gives them the confidence to go down life’s road, wherever it takes us creatively or musically. It’s that same sense of honesty and transparency that gives you that pure sense of creativity and that drive to continue to push yourself and to be open to experimenting. The more honest you are with yourself the more confident you are to take those chances and to take those risks. Obviously the greater the risk, the greater the reward, but also the greater the risk the greater the failure. There’s always a downside that can be really terrifying. Facing your own self doubt and criticisms is something I’ve always battled with, because I’ve always been willing to put myself in the face of danger and put myself at risk as a creative individual. I think that’s why that struggle is so important, to maintain control of that self doubt and to be able to bet on yourself. I think it’s how we can continue to persevere.”
Hoggard shared that the band will be heading to St. John’s a week early in preparation for the kick off of their Hello Tour, which opens with a pair of billings at Mile One Centre with Carly Rae Jepsen and Francesco Yates. The guys plan to work out the bumps off the set well in advance of showtime, and surely grab a pint or two on George Street along the way.
“I have a secret for you. We’re going to be there about a week ahead of time. We’re starting the tour there but we’re also going to be doing a lot of prep,” Hoggard shared. “I don’t know if I should have given that away, but we’ll be in Newfoundland about a week getting ready for tour and rehearsing at Mile One. It’s one of our favourite places, it’s a real community there. People are always so welcoming and loving and we have such a f***ing hell of a time there.”
‘Our Lucky Stars’
Hoggard and his bandmates in Hedley know how truly blessed they are to have such a loyal fan base, many of which have been with the group since day one. That fact is never lost on the chart-topping hit makers, and they pride themselves on continuing to be as accessible to their loyal fans as possible.
“There’s not a day goes by that we don’t count our lucky stars because we know that as much as we work at this, as much as we push ourselves and pride ourselves on being creative, we couldn’t do f**k all if it wasn’t for our fans, man,” Hoggard shared. “We wouldn’t be able to be where we were, not miles close, if it wasn’t for our fans. I think that’s just so important to recognize on a daily basis. It’s why we give back as much as we can to our fans. It’s why we put on the VIP section, so we can get a little bit closer and give a little bit more of ourselves, because it’s something we’ve always done from the days that we were playing on George Street in small bars. We’d stay after the show and say hi to ever single person in the room until the bar was empty, because we wanted to say thanks for coming …we’re so lucky to see fans coming back. We recognize them and we’d stand on stage and shout them out by name. That’s a really great feeling.”
Hedley’s Hello Tour hits Mile One Centre April 7-8.