Hedley is a Vancouver-based pop-punk band that launched to stardom in 2005 after lead singer Jacob Hoggard’s successful run on Canadian Idol.
Hedley is a Vancouver-based pop-punk band that launched to stardom in 2005 after lead singer Jacob Hoggard’s successful run on Canadian Idol. They have sold nearly one million albums and are known for their frenetic energy, ribald humour and sold-out Canadian concert tours. Several of their albums and singles have been certified platinum in Canada, and their carefree radio-friendly sound has helped them dominate the airwaves. The band was deemed the “king of all-format airplay” in Canada by Billboard magazine in 2014, and 14 of their videos have hit No. 1 on the MuchMusic Countdown chart. Hedley has received more than two dozen Juno Award nominations and won two Juno Awards, numerous MuchMusic Video Awards and other music industry awards.
The original incarnation of Hedley, formed in 2003, consisted of Jacob Hoggard, Ryan Federau, Kevin Giesbrecht, Kevin Heeres and Brandon McKay. They named themselves after the BC mining town of Hedley, which made news by offering itself for sale. After being challenged by his bandmates, Hoggard auditioned for the reality TV show Canadian Idol in June 2004. He went on to establish himself as a fan favourite with his energetic vocals and class clown persona, and ultimately placed third in the competition. The experience also spurred his interest in songwriting.
Shortly after Hoggard’s Canadian Idol experience, the original Hedley disbanded. Hoggard then met with guitarist Dave Rosin, bassist Thomas “Tommy Mac” MacDonald and drummer Chris Crippin, who were playing in the Vancouver metal band Everything After, and were looking for a lead singer. The four men merged into the present-day Hedley and performed at the 2005 Canadian Music Week in Toronto, where they generated valuable exposure.
Debut Album and Tour
After signing with Universal Music Canada, the band recorded a demo with producer Brian Howes and then the debut album Hedley (2005). Certified double-platinum in Canada for sales over 200,000 copies, it was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award and helped earn Howes the Juno Award for Producer of the Year in 2007. The band’s first Canadian single, “On My Own,” was put into heavy rotation on MuchMusic and reached No. 1 on the Canadian singles chart.
Hedley’s pop-punk sound, which drew comparisons to Social Code and Simple Plan, features an exuberant youthfulness backing Hoggard’s strident vocals. The band toured with Canadian bands Faber Drive and The Weekend (not to be confused with The Weeknd), then with Simple Plan in late 2005. These tours — Hedley’s first experience playing arena concerts — introduced audiences to the band’s lewd pranks and frontman Hoggard’s frenetic, hyperactive stage presence.
In 2006, Hedley headlined their own club tour in Canada and appeared in the US with Yellowcard, Reliant K and Matchbook Romance. They also toured in Canada as the opening act for US rockers Bon Jovi, and gained further exposure performing with Nickelback, including at a 2007 Canada Day concert in Halifax.
Famous Last Words (2007)
Hedley’s second album, Famous Last Words, was released in October 2007 and was certified platinum in Canada. “For The Nights I Can’t Remember,” “Old School” and “Never Too Late” were all Top 10 hits in Canada. The band’s success to this point was largely driven by the tattooed Hoggard’s onstage energy and snarling vocal delivery, by the band’s approachable image and by their videos, which won four MuchMusic Video Awards in 2008.
At the end of 2008, Hedley ranked No. 2 on Nielsen’s year-end radio air-play chart. “For The Nights I Can’t Remember” earned three 2009 Canadian Radio Music Awards, and a 2009 SOCAN Pop Music Award for the band and co-writers David Genn (Matthew Good Band, 54-40) and Greig Nori (Treble Charger). The album was also their first US release.
The Show Must Go (2009) and Go With the Show (2010)
The band’s third album, The Show Must Go, was released in Canada in November 2009. Hoggard and Rosin took on more of the songwriting duties, and the album’s mix of electro-pop, piano ballads, reggae and rap sounds reflected the band’s new musical diversity. Another double-platinum hit, the album was ranked No. 17 on iTunes Canadian charts for 2010 and earned Hedley three more MuchMusic Video Awards. “Perfect” and the satirical “Cha-Ching” (the latter written by Howes) were both Top 10 singles in Canada, while the video for “Perfect” earned the band its first Juno Award.
Following their second national arena concert tour, which ventured into several major American centres including Chicago and San Francisco, the band followed up with the live album and DVD Go With the Show (2010). Other 2010 highlights included performing “Cha-Ching” at the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, and receiving a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award the next day for “Don’t Talk to Strangers.”
Hedley’s fourth studio album, Storms, released in November 2011, was built around the theme of persevering through adversity. It also saw the band leave its punk edge behind and move more solidly in a pop direction. Like the band’s previous efforts, it proved a best-seller, achieving platinum status and yielding several hit singles. “One Life” was certified a platinum digital download, while “Invincible” went double-platinum and earned a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award. “Kiss You Inside Out,” written by producer Adrian Newman, peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Canadian Hot 100 singles chart and was a certified triple-platinum digital download.
Storms reached won the Juno Award for Pop Album of the Year and its videos earned several MuchMusic Video Award nominations. Some reviewers felt the band was developing sophistication by moving away from pop-punk, while others characterized the change as mere commercialization. Hedley’s music seems to polarize opinion; while their fans are loyal and their Canadian concerts sell out, their act has been dismissed by some as sappy, grating, annoying and, in the words of London Free Press critic James Reaney, as “buffoonery.”
In 2012, Hedley performed at a Canada Day event in Trafalgar Square in London, England, and at the London club Camden Barfly. Their touring also included several American cities. A tragic event occurred at the band’s 2012 Valentine’s Day concert in Dawson Creek, BC, when a 28-year-old man died after being assaulted.
Wild Life (2013)
On 27 August 2013, the lead single “Anything” was released in advance of Hedley’s fifth studio album, Wild Life. The song became a platinum digital download and the video went on to earn three 2014 MuchMusic Video awards. With its childishly stubborn refrain (“I can, I can, I can, so”), “Anything” was aimed unapologetically at youth, like many of the band’s songs. “Anything” and “Crazy for You” were both Top 10 singles, while other successful songs on the album included “Heaven in Our Headlights” and “Pocket Full of Dreams.”
Promotion for the album was further boosted by the band’s performance in front of 4.2 million television viewers during the halftime show at the 101st Grey Cup in Regina. The band also held an innovative, speaker-less “quietest concert ever” in front of 850 fans in Banff National Park, where audience members were given headphones to which the concert was broadcast wirelessly.
In 2014, the band played large urban venues and small towns in nine provinces as part of its 35-city Wild Live Canadian tour. They also made further attempts to break into foreign markets, releasing “Anything” and Wild Life in the UK, and playing at London, England’s 100 Club, as well as one date each in France and Germany in May 2014. They also played New York City’s The Studio at Webster Hall and Los Angeles’ Sayers Club in January 2014.
Although Hedley did not achieve the popularity in foreign countries that they have enjoyed in Canada, they continued to dominate the pop landscape at home. “Anything,” and “Crazy for You” both reached the top spot on the MuchMusic Countdown chart, and the band performed for the fourth time at the 2014 MuchMusic Video Awards. Wild Life was certified platinum in Canada and reached No. 5 on Billboard’s Top Canadian Albums charts for 2014. Hedley was the only Canadian band to make Billboard’s list of the Top 25 artists of 2014 based on the chart performance of Hot 100 singles in Canada, ranking No. 4 overall. In March 2015, Hoggard hosted the Juno Awards ceremony, where Hedley performed for the fifth time in 10 years.
Hedley have been actively involved the Free the Children movement since 2009, building schools in Kenya (2010), India (2011) and Ecuador (2014), and raising money for the charity. They have performed often at the organization’s annual We Day, including in Seattle, Washington, in 2013 and at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre in September 2014. Hoggard also sang with Young Artists for Haiti on K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti in 2010.
Video of the Year (“Perfect”) (2011)
Pop Album of the Year (Storms) (2012)
MuchMusic Video Awards
Best Video (“For the Nights I Can’t Remember”) (2008)
Best Director (“For the Nights I Can’t Remember”) (2008)
Best Cinematography (“She’s So Sorry”) (2008)
Best Rock Video (“She’s So Sorry”) (2008)
Video of the Year (“Perfect”) (2010)
Pop Video of the Year (“Cha-Ching”) (2010)
Post-Production of the Year (“Perfect”) (2010)
Pop Video of the Year (“Anything”) (2014)
Your Fave Video (“Anything”) (2014)
Video of the Year (“Anything”) (2014)
Pop Music Award (“For the Nights I Can’t Remember”) (2009)
No. 1 Song Award (“Don’t Talk to Strangers”) (2010)
No. 1 Song Award (“Invincible”) (2011)
Most Played Song Award (“Perfect”) (2011)
Pop/Rock Award (“Perfect”) (2011)
No. 1 Song Award (“Anything”) (2014)
No. 1 Song Award (“Crazy for You”) (2014)
Canadian Radio Music Awards
Song of the Year (“For the Nights I Can’t Remember”) (2009)
Chart Topper (“For the Nights I Can’t Remember”) (2009)
Fan’s Choice Award (“For the Nights I Can’t Remember”) (2009)
Chart Topper Award (2011)