LocalEyes: Hayden McHugh's new single, Alone

Hayden McHugh and a very Calgary vista

Hayden McHugh and a very Calgary vista

Hayden McHugh grew up like a fair number of the younger generation of Calgary creatives. As an artistically motivated individual in a town known for common sense, can-do, pioneering, hard working attitudes, there is a tendency to feel a bit outcast and alone. Hayden harnessed that reality and used some motivational alchemy to turn that less-than-positive feeling into artistic gold, and now in the year 2019 he is releasing music and gigging as both a musician and circus performer on the regular.
As he explained to SubText, “A big part of my life that has inspired my music is actually the fact that there wasn't a lot of other people doing what I wanted to do. I struggled a lot with finding other artists who were interested in doing pop music and dance music like I was, and I actually learned how to produce music out of the lack of people who were making the type of music that I was into and who wanted to collaborate. It made it really hard for me growing up, but now it feels good to know that I pushed through and have the ability to make my own songs now.”

The passion he refers to is powerfully vocal-oriented pop, with dance music sensibilities. His greatest asset is without a doubt his voice, which speaks loudly and clearly both on record and on stage. That said, he’s a strong pianist and dabbles enough with physical art forms like circus aerials to take an adventurous stab at dance choreography on the video for what may be his best tune, Take You.

Album art for  Take You , Hayden’s 2018 single

Album art for Take You, Hayden’s 2018 single


His varied approach to creativity has landed him on stage with one of Calgary’s most notable variety acts, Le Cirque De La Nuit and at homegrown venues and events like Cafe Koi, The Rec Room, VegFest, Pride In The Park, evolve: pride amplified, and opening for Scenic Route To Alaska. That hard work even landed him a nomination for Male Artist of the Year at the YYC Music Awards in 2018. Luckily, he’s fought through the working artist’s battle of staying afloat while making cool stuff enough to keep releasing music, and his newest single Alone hit Spotify last month.


In that song, he strays a bit from his nouveau Billy Joel feel on Take You and enters a milieu that feels straight off the radio. Alone is vulnerably emotive in the verses (Will you show me that I’m good inside?\That I can be redeemed?\Sometimes I wish we could forget the whole ordeal\Cause I’m a mess and I’m all out of self esteem) but its synths and snappy poppy percussion lifts the piece from any mopiness and ensures its chorus hook feels cathartic rather than sappy.

Check out http://www.haydenmchugh.com/ for links to buy music, keep up with his latest, and track down shows he’s performing at next.

Written by James Nason