The pair spent three months writing scripts and two months shooting and editing, the Ontario College Strike allowing extra time for them to record. The album was released to the public via Spotify, iTunes, YouTube and Instagram at the very start of the year. Their Facebook page has over 20,000 likes and the announcement of their album release drew more than 16,000 in just a few days.
Hayles and Olara have done motivational speaking on GiG Life before. Their inspiration to release an album comes from a time of confusion in Hayles’ life, uncertainty while Olara was in Alberta and he was in British Columbia. “I decided to really dissect myself and write about things I’ve faced in my life and things I’m going through, so it was like, I was writing myself to understand, but also through a sad time of confusion. I wasn’t sad or depressed as a person, but confusion, writing myself into a good mindset. So for this album, my mind, my soul’s on it.”
Motivational speaking is not the duo’s only expertise. It isn’t even part of their current education. Hayles got a Business diploma from DC while Olara went into Policing at Fleming College. They then got a call from Alberta. They had firefighting jobs offered for them, and they had forty hours to get there from Oshawa, so they packed up and drove endlessly, even going through a snowstorm, but made it. However, it wasn’t long before there was a recession on oil.
“It was about a month between getting hired and the oil prices tanking,” said Olara. “That affected our job and then we got laid off the same day we signed the lease. We had a new place but now we had no income to pay for it.” After some thought, they decided to go back to school for a while, and are both currently enrolled in Durham’s Fire Life and Safety Technician course.
Hayles is also at the moment thinking about pursuing another entirely different field after firefighting. “I’m moving more towards politics now, because I see myself as a leader. I see myself as a guy for students. I see myself as a social advocate for people everywhere and I feel everybody should be loved and cared for and should be a key aspect.” Hayles has stated on Facebook he hopes to be the Prime Minister of Canada one day.
“Life is very interesting,” said Olara. “A lot of the times, we don’t really see the timeline and we don’t really see how short it is and we allow fear and unnecessary things to get in the way of our dreams or even idea. The best thing to do is just jump in, do it and find out. If you fail, you know one way not to do it.”
Giving this advice in a situation even made Hayles a hero. Once during a walk in British Columbia during his forest firefighting, he came across a stranger, a boy in his adolescence, who was crying by himself in the park. Hayles walked up and asked what was wrong. The boy yelled at him in tears to go away, and Hayles refused until he knew what it was. Turns out the boy was going to commit suicide by hanging himself because he felt no one cared about him, yet Hayles walked up, sat down with him and said he cared about him despite just meeting him. This kid reminded him of one of his worst memories.
On January 7th, 2016, Andre Hamilton, 25, who Hayles will always have a brother in, killed himself by jumping in front of a VIA rail train. That day, Hayles was on a flight to Alberta for career matters, having no idea of the tragedy, except for an article about an unidentified victim. Four days earlier, Hamilton was with him. Hamilton said he was proud of Hayles and he would see him soon, now knowing taking his own life was on his mind. Three days later, he received the horrible phone call.
“Andre was a pure person who really just wanted to help a lot of people. Andre was the type of guy where he loved making jokes, and I started to grow closer to him I realized that he helped me get tough-skinned,” said Hayles. “When I first met Andre in track and field, he really pushed me to get to my goals. But at the same time, it wasn’t just about us doing good and going to the United States…It was about, “We’re a team, we make jokes, we laugh, we fight, we come back together”, and it was always about this love. Andre was love.”
Shortly after the album was released, the pair decided they were going to release three more albums in the future. Where To Now? has Hayles narrating most of the footage, where Olara’s main job was editing and making sure ideas stayed concise and proper. The next album is going to have Geoffrey as the narrator. The third one is planned to include Jaylan breaking down stereotypes while discussing races, homosexuality, believing or not believing in God, segregation and other topics that will come to mind. They also plan to make a hip hop album.
This album includes the stories of their troubled times, aimed toward people struggling against similar setbacks; uncertainty and fear of life, the feeling that your dreams will never be met when they can be, and how loving your friends, loving yourself and loving the world is a real irreplaceable gift.
Links to listen to their album: