Sean Hayden - "As a composer, it’s my job to help give the audience an invitation to feel something." - Stereo Stickman

Sean Hayden “As a composer, it’s my job to help give the audience an invitation to feel something.”

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Sean Hayden is a producer and composer whose music you’re likely to have stumbled upon at some time or other – his work has been featured across various television shows, movies and advertising, seeing him build an increasingly impressive name for himself and kick off a growing fan base at the same time. Tim Ferris, Nissan and Mitsubishi are just a few of the big names he’s connected with so far – check out his full catalogue here

We caught an interview with Sean to find out more about his journey so far, his hopes for the future, and his advice to young composers and songwriters looking to get started within the industry. Here’s the conversation in full. 

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Hi Sean – thanks for the interview! For those who don’t know, how would you describe your sound or style as an artist?

Thank you for having me!

My sound can take on a lot of different forms since it greatly depends on the project of which it’s serving, but I like to think of my music as a plate of Beef Wellington with a side of creamy Mashed Potatoes. There’s a lot textures, layers, and an interwoven balance of heavy and light. The ingredients list doesn’t really make sense on paper, but when you put it all together and cook it correctly it works.

Your music has already made numerous appearances on TV – how did you first get featured on a show, and do you write with visuals or collaborations in mind?

I first got started by working with another composer who was busy and needed assistance. We started by co-writing on music together, but pretty quickly I was just writing my own pieces for projects and companies he had contracts with.

I do write with visuals in mind, but mostly I focus on the storytelling aspects. As a composer, it’s my job to help fill in the bits that the show can’t tell through words and pictures, and to help give the audience member an invitation to feel something.

What would you say has been the single most influential or proud achievement of yours so far?

It’s hard for me to point to one thing or one piece and say ‘I’m most proud of this’ or ‘that’. I view my music career as a very organic process that’s ever changing and evolving. I’m at a stage in my career where whenever and whatever the next big thing for me is, will probably be my proudest achievement to date. So maybe the answer is, whatever’s next!

What’s the music scene like in Toronto right now?

Overall, Toronto is thriving musically but we’re also facing some challenges here. For example, there’s been a lot of live music venue closures over the past few years. Even though there’s a few opening up soon, it’s not enough to accommodate the local acts or replace what once was. On the more positive side, it appears there’s more communities and collectives forming for producers, artists, composers, managers, etc., which I think is great! I also think these collectives could do things to help solve problems in the scene, including the live venue problem we’re having.

What are your hopes going forwards as a creative – is composition and production the main aim, or are you also drawn to live performance?

Composition and production is my main aim. That said, a crossover point would be to write music for something where the audience would demand to hear it performed live, such as Game Of Thrones, or Harry Potter. There’s definitely a larger demand happening; more and more composers are doing this now.

If people only have time to listen to one song, which would you recommend, and why?

First Circle by the Pat Metheny Group. The sonic and rhythmic journey this song takes you on blew my mind as a teen. If someone out there reading this who has never heard this song, do yourself a favour and go listen to it right now. For me, this song opened up a world of possibilities musically that I didn’t know was possible at the time. It still holds up today.

How long have you been writing for, and what advice could you give to new starters who are looking to get a foot in the door?

I’ve been composing professionally for about nine years now. The simplest but greatest advice I can give new comers is just to write a lot of music and to keep doing it as often as possible. The more you write the better you get, and the better you get the more people start paying attention. Marketing and networking is great, but if your music isn’t grabbing attention yet it’s not going to go anywhere.

What can audiences look forward to from you over the coming months?

There is definitely some more music coming on some exciting projects, but unfortunately I can say much about those yet. Hopefully soon!

What’s something about you that most people don’t know?

I’m a bit of a documentary & informational program junkie. Non-fiction books as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks you to your readers for reading this article! I hope they found something useful or at least found it entertaining.

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Find & follow Sean Hayden on Twitter & Instagram or visit his Website

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Musician & writer with an MA in Songwriting.