Longtime music supervisor David Hayman, whose credits include Schitt’s Creek, Letterkenny and the Robbie Robertson/The Band documentary Once Were Brothers, died on May 19 at the age of 42, of heart failure.
As founder and creative director of Supergroup Sonic Branding, and Vice President of the Guild of Music Supervisors Canada (GMSC), he worked closely with music creators, music publishers, artists, managers, and film, television, and advertising directors, producers, and more. A SOCAN member himself, Hayman placed music created by his fellow members in such films as The Whistleblower, The Bang Bang Club, and Born To Be Blue, and TV shows like Kim’s Convenience, Saving Hope, Rookie Blue, and Less Than Kind, among countless others.
Supergroup Sonic Branding issued a statement last week about Hayman’s passing, and GMSC President Michael Perlmutter (of Instinct Entertainment) commented in Billboard magazine. Many SOCAN members have acknowledged his passing on social media, among them the rapper Shad (who wrote on Twitter that Hayman “always supported my work with passion and real opportunities over the years”); singer-songwriter Rose Cousins (who wrote on Twitter, “David Hayman’s sparkling heart was his super power. He got it ‘cause he felt it. The ultimate artist advocate, he gave me many an opportunity to make something special.”); as well as veteran rocker Raine Maida, rapper Sean Leon, and roots singer-songwriter Jerry Leger.
SOCAN contacted various members for comment.
Among them, R&B/soul singer Tanika Charles said, “David recognized and supported me before I could see this as a possibility for myself. Congratulated me on all my accolades. Kept an eye (and ear) out for me. I will forever be indebted to him… He will be deeply missed.”
Said songwriter/producer Jayli Wolf, “When David would get into creative mode it was one of the most entertaining things to watch. He was such a light, always thinking outside the box. Whenever I was going through hard times, I knew David would be there – like a big brother. He taught me so many life lessons, and I’ll never forget how he listened.”
Said beat-maker/producer/songwriter Junia-T, “Dave is forever a cornerstone in our city’s music industry; a sincere leader when it came to unity and championing the best art. He connected with the artist’s humanity, and provided opportunities as often as he could. Dave was the first to place my music in a TV show, and also introduced my mind to bigger possibilities. He always was a bigger brother to me, and checked in frequently to make sure I was good In all parts of my life… We were blessed to have such a radiant example of how to live.”
Folk/pop singer-songwriter Jon Bryant said, “David was one of the very first music industry people to show any real interest in me… I couldn’t believe someone so well-respected in the industry would give me the time. He was the first to get my music into TV and film and he always gave honest feedback and advice. He was my guardian angel in the early days… David’s work has had such a massive impact on my career, introducing me to thousands of new listeners, and I’m forever grateful to him for the way he made me and so many others feel. He was such a brilliant, passionate, funny, and genuine guy.”
Said Dr. Andrew Scott, Associate Dean of the School of Music & Fine Arts within the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts at Humber College in Toronto, “David’s passing has extinguished a vibrant and effervescent light that shone brightly and enthusiastically upon the nexus of film, television, and music in Canada. It’s difficult to imagine who professionally will fill this void and bring to our industry the level of artistic support, personal and professional authenticity, musical focus, “big love,” and the championing advocacy that David possessed, and fostered in others… I personally and professionally owe him a great deal of gratitude.”
Many at SOCAN were also mourning the loss.
Said Rodney Murphy, SOCAN’s Vice President, A&R and Membership, “David Hayman was a very good friend to SOCAN and our songwriter and publisher members. He was a relentless advocate for his clients, finding placements for their music in the screen world. He was a true A&R, and when it came to networking, he had the innate ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room. He’ll be missed very much by all of us.”
Said SOCAN Digital Business Lead Holly Fagan-Lacoste, “David embodied everything positive associated with music supervision in Canada… His ultimate goal was to educate up-and-coming, aspiring music supervisors, and empower them with industry knowledge, and access to the incredible network of music creators and users, both here in Canada, and abroad, that he created over the years. I worked with him many times and he had a huge impact on me.”
Said SOCAN A&R Representative Melissa Cameron-Passley, “David Hayman was such a great human. He was always there for me, since my early days in the music industry. He was the first to champion and land synchs [music synchronization placements in screen productions] for my band’s music, and he always had time to chat and offer advice if I asked. I once reached out for a letter of recommendation before he was about to catch a flight, and he turned around a beautiful, sincere letter by the time his plane landed. I sent so many artists his way because I trusted him and his passion for music and supporting young talent.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support his immediate family – wife Ali and daughter Ruby – and has quickly reached more than 80 percent of its $100,000 goal.
As have all of the people quoted in this article, SOCAN sends our deepest sympathies and condolences to Ali, Ruby, and all of Hayman’s extended family, friends, and colleagues.