Hayden is Paul Hayden Desser (born February 12, 1971), a Canadian singer-songwriter from Thornhill, Ontario. His early works are a largely eclectic mix of genres from grunge to alternative country, as demonstrated by his first full album, Everything I Long For, released in 1995. Since then his work has become progressively more refined.
Combining elements of both rock and folk music, along with disturbingly personal sentiments, dark humor, and a voice able to channel both the falsetto highs of Neil Young and the wavering raspy low tones of Leonard Cohen, Toronto's Hayden Desser has spent his career creating uniquely affecting music.
The critically-acclaimed musician first appeared in the early '90s armed with only his four-track tape recorder, his unexpectedly low vocal range, and an extremely detuned guitar. Going simply by the name Hayden, he recorded his self-released cassette, In September, in 1994, and much of the material included evolved into his first proper LP, 1995's Everything I Long For. Initially self-released on his own Hardwood Records, the debut disc toed the line between beautiful and horrifying, touching on simple details of human interaction as well as delving into macabre tales that still retained an oddly personal edge. After a year of touring Canada, E.T.I.L.F. was picked up by Outpost Recordings (Geffen) and was released worldwide in early 1996. Tours of the U.S., Europe and Japan took up most of 1996, as well as writing and recording the title track to the Steve Buscemi-directed Tree’s Lounge. Hayden’s second full-length record. The Closer I Get (1998) was recorded in Toronto, Bearsville, N.Y., Seattle and Los Angeles. After another year of touring, Hayden closed the book on chapter one of his musical endeavors.
The next couple of years went by without any performances, but during 2000, Hayden began writing and recording in his Toronto home. The self-produced collection of songs was titled Skyscraper National Park and was released in 2001 to world–wide critical acclaim.
The following year, a live concert double CD was released, Live at Convocation Hall, a glimpse, for the listener, into what makes Hayden’s appearances such a favourite among his ever devoted fan base. His natural rapport with the crowd, along with an honest demeanour, has continued Hayden’s reputation as a unique and charming performer.
In 2004, Hayden released his 4th studio album. Elk-Lake Serenade continued in the direction of Skyscraper with it’s collection of warm and memorable recordings. 2004 also heralded Hayden’s return to the road with several tours that took him as far as Australia and New Zealand.
After a long period of writing and recording, Hayden returned in early 2008 with his 5th full-length studio record. In Field & Town is his most musically diverse and textured record to date. It captures his penchant for self-referential fiction and emotionally heavy songs and laces them with sharp hooks and smart lyrics. After supporting The National in Europe in November of ‘07, Hayden completed a sold-out theatre tour of Canada as well as spring and fall North American tours supporting Feist. In Field & Town was released on Fat Possum in the U.S.A. and November saw the release in Europe via the Affairs of the Heart label, combined with Nov./Dec. dates in the UK, France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and Germany.
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