Jacksoul’s late frontman Haydain Neale was known for his beautiful voice, his charisma on stage, and his funky hair. He excelled at love songs and twists on new covers. There was a Motown influence on everything he sang, and he was able to get even the most uptight crowd up and dancing.
There is a different side of him that I knew: a side that would play hide and seek, a side that went over math homework and made the best Belgian waffles and berries in the mornings.
I knew him as dad.
Many people have asked me how his music has helped me over the years. I can’t even begin to describe the type of therapy it brings me.
Just hours after he passed away I was pressing play, listening to every album, not wanting to forget any detail of his voice, his laugh, or him.
What the upcoming greatest hits album represents to me are the stories of our lives. What I think is forgotten in the story sometimes is the strength of my mother. The hardest part of losing my dad at age 19 is having to watch my mom rebuild her life without her soulmate. She is the glue that held us together during the time my dad was injured in a Vespa accident. After he was diagnosed with cancer she remained strong, by his side every day, doing everything and anything she could to make his final months enjoyable. I learned more in that time by watching their unconditional love than I have been taught anywhere else in this journey of life.
My mom recently did a bike trip through Kenya in honour of my dad and to raise money for a charity close to her called AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation). Her will to travel the world and continue exploring while taking breathtaking photos is inspiring. I know he watches over both of us and we carry him everywhere in our hearts, but it doesn’t mean we don’t miss him.
What some people don’t know about my dad is he was extremely intelligent. He read a lot and used intellectual phrases that even in his last moments had doctors grabbing dictionaries. I miss late night talks about politics and I miss playing Xbox until 6 a.m. I miss writing songs together and getting advice about boys from him.
There are many things I know my mom misses about him as a husband, including evening strolls around the Beach. I always tell myself how lucky I am to have a dad that was great to me for so many years, rather than have 60 years of an absent father. However, it doesn’t make it any easier to know the world is missing such a beautiful soul. I stay strong for myself, for my mom and for my family but at times it still overwhelms me that he is gone. Times like those I put on his music and it helps me to cry and feel like he is there in the room holding me with his sweet melodies.
The Jacksoul Greatest Hits album is special to me because it is sort of like listening to the best of our lives together. So many of the romantic love songs were written about my mom and dad’s relationship. There are even a few that he wrote for me, one during my teenage years when I was mad at him. He wrote a song called ‘Without You’ which is about me not talking to him, though it sounds like a breakup song to anyone that doesn’t know.
Fans still reach out and tell me all the reasons Jacksoul has helped them through hard times and the music is still therapy for me too. There are so many beautiful gems in his collection and to know that the world will have all of these treasures on one album brings me a lot of closure on the music side of things.
Jacksoul Greatest Hits hits music stores and online distribution channels on Nov. 25, and features three new songs.
Yasmin Soul is a Beach resident and Humber College journalism student, and the daughter of Jacksoul singer Haydain Neale.