Hedley’s on straight

Getting signed to a major American record label just might be every Canadian band’s dream — but Hedley is keeping the news “off our marque,” said lead singer Jacob Hoggard.

Getting signed to a major American record label just might be every Canadian band’s dream — but Hedley is keeping the news “off our marque,” said lead singer Jacob Hoggard.

It isn’t that Hoggard doesn’t care that officials from Island Def Jam Records like his song Perfect so much they signed his Vancouver-based group, which is performing Thursday, Sept. 16 at Red Deer’s Centrium.

It’s that he doesn’t want to care too much.

“I have to take care of myself mentally and put a couple of bodies of space between me and that news. I’ll see how it ends up,” said Hoggard, who realizes “it could go either way” after Hedley’s last album, The Show Must Go On, is released in the U.S. in October by Island Def Jam, an affiliate of Hedley’s Universal Music Canada label.

American listeners already like the torchy ballad Perfect, which is climbing U.S. charts. But will they take equally to Cha-Ching, a satirical tune inspired by reality show contestants and their quest for instant fame?

There’s no guarantee, said Hoggard, who admitted to having a “Plan G, H, I, J. and K” in case it doesn’t work out.

The singer/songwriter, who was once a reality show contestant himself, placing third on the second season of Canadian Idol, has a fickle relationship with fame.

He admits that chasing the limelight is the nature of the beast for any singer in a pop/rock band. But he admitted that hearing “10,000 people screaming your name” can really screw with your mental health. “You have to take it the right way, or your ego will be inflated to the point where you feel you can pull down the sky.”

To keep his equilibrium, Hoggard said he goes camping whenever possible to remote regions of northern or eastern B.C.

There’s something about being out in the great Canadian wilderness that reinforces your perspective and sense of scale, said the 25-year-old, with a chuckle. “I realize how tiny I am in this great, big space and it helps keep my head on right.”

Sometimes song lyrics come to him during those quiet moments. Hoggard said he wrote Hedley’s newest single, Hands Up, while standing at the edge of a cliff.

While the lyrics sound like a love song, the singer claims they were inspired by close bear encounters he’s had. “You’ve got to keep your hands in the air to scare them away.”

The song Perfect was written about an actual romantic breakup Hoggard went through in 2008. “It came from a really serious place in my life,” said the singer, who has since rebounded, and has another girlfriend who shares his enthusiasm for camping.

Don’t Talk to Strangers, on the other hand, takes more artistic license.

The humorous tune takes a poke at the sexy older women who stalk young performers, such as Hoggard or his Hedley cohorts, bassist Tom MacDonald, guitarist Dave Rosin, and drummer Chris Crippin.

“Yes, it actually happens,” said Hoggard, with a laugh. “But it’s a lot more fun to write storytelling songs that embellish a bit on your life situations.”


WHO: Pop/rock group Hedley with These Kids Wear Crowns and San Sebastian

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 16

WHERE: Centrium, Red Deer

TICKETS: $45 (GST included) Ticketmaster

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