I Still Believe in Haydain Neale

“I still believe in love…Yes I do…”

I can’t tell you how terribly sad I am today at the news that Haydain Neale, the singer for Jacksoul, died in hospital on Sunday.

I had never heard of him till a few years after I moved to Toronto in 2000. But he was beloved of CBC Radio personalities, so it wasn’t long before I began to hear the music of Jacksoul featured as I listened to the CBC every day. And I absolutely fell in love with his gentle, almost haunting voice.

I’m really not a hip hop fan, much as I try. I loved the music of Jacksoul because it hearkened back to the sweet, smooth music of people like George Benson, which I had always loved.

When Haydain had his car accident in August of 2007, his recovery seemed to be taking so long that I worried that the injuries had been so severe that he might not be capable of making music any more. We in the public really never knew what the injuries were, and the long silence didn’t bode well. I thought, the longer it drew out, that the chances were increasing that we would never hear Haydain Neale make new music again.

How stunning that I was correct, but for the completely wrong reason. As I heard on the news this morning that he had died, I also heard that he had been battling lung cancer for seven months. As though he had needed that big struggle after his long recovery from the car accident!

It feels like we barely knew him before he was gone. My condolences go out to his family and friends. Their loss is much greater than ours, but ours is terribly sad. Farewell, sweet singer.

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