Hayden Desser: Make Believe

The maestro of melancholy’s rich voice does justice to poetic lyrics co-written with a novelist friend.

Hayden Desser: Make Believe

By Kerry Doole

Hayden Desser - Make Believe ( Hardwood Records): After recording simply as Hayden for over 20 years, the Toronto tunesmith is now going by his full name. We're not sure of the significance of this, but we're certainly pleased Desser is back in action. 

He is currently finishing a new record (release date TBA) with producer Aaron Dessner (The National, Taylor Swift, Sharon Van Etten), and has also been co-writing with Matt Berninger for The National frontman's solo debut album Serpentine Prison, due this fall. 

Of new song and video Make Believe, Desser explains in a press release that the song is about "finding the beauty in truth, the bruised melody acknowledging that as much as we need to stay on the ground and be honest, we will always make things up."


Make Believe is based on a novel written by Hayden’s friend, the writer Colin McAdam. Titled Black Dove, the book will appear in fall 2021. The song was produced by Hayden and the lyrics were written by both McAdam and Desser.

The song displays Desser’s signature deep, rich, and melancholy-infused voice to fine effect, while the poetic lyrics are recited as much as sung. They implore us to reach for the truth, however painful – “the true stories that will always be much better than make-believe.” The production is minimal, while a sax solo halfway through (by Liam O’Neill) heightens the mood effectively, as does the Desser-created video.

A critical favourite with a loyal following, Hayden Desser has released eight studio albums and is the co-founder of Dream Serenade, one of Canada's most highly anticipated annual concerts, which raises funds for children with exceptionalities and their caregivers by gathering musical talent from all over the world. 





Management: Dara Kartz, Go Kartz Management Inc


Agent: Rob Zifarelli, Paradigm Agency

Publicity: Stephen McGrath, Nightshop Media

Alex Dozois



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