Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for December, 2009

These are my Twisted Words

My sister loves her cell phone. All her friends hang out and connect virtually  and my mother can’t stand it! In fact she tried hiding the phone and every tactic in the book so that my sister would just stop texting. “Why can’t she just talk to real people more?” my mother pleaded. Being the diplomat and UN in my family I tried explaining it all. My sister, like so many others out there, is socially challenged. Yes, she is hot and very smart but in a room with real people she tends to freak out and says even less! So she retracts into the digital world instead where she can say what she wants to say and be understood.

I have heard this complaint a lot. “People are spending too much time on social networking sites instead of…well, socialising!” My mother socialises all the time – at work and at church. She is old school that way. This is one lady who struggles to stay at home! One would think that she would be more lenient after teaching overseas for a while. She forgets how we skyped each other for hours and then would move the conversation to Facebook. And honestly I loved the access I had to her back then. I think I need to remind her….

I could go on and on about the evils of social networking and the potential for dangers. Still, people are weirdos whether in the virtual or real world. I most certainly am. And we are all bound to run into a few of then at some time. The one lessons that we all have to get is Discretion.

My sister found her first few boyfriends through her cell phone and they were all assholes. And let’s just be straight here…for some the real world is just too much to deal with. I often feel like that every now and then. On Facebook it’s as simple as  blocking a person or deleting them on your cell phone. Idiot – dealt with! If only real life were that easy.

Now she is fusing the virtual and the real, like most of us are these days. And I have to say that it is working out well for her. If only my mother could see it that way…

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Food Glorious Food!

So Christmas has come and gone and I feel terribly guilty for overindulging. I remember sitting at the table as a kid refusing to finish my food. “Think about the children in Ethiopia,” my mother would say, trying to blackmail me. What my mother didn’t get is that I really didn’t give a hoot about people in Ethiopia or any of the starved nations out there. I was just a kid who really didn’t like the food I had to eat. And, if you knew my mother (and I love her most) and tasted her cooking you would understand my great reluctance.

Yes, the post Christmas guilt really got me thinking about food. There were only two times in my life I stopped eating chocolate – during my pregnancy and now. I was so happy when I was barefoot and pregnant. I would talk to my daughter in my belly about everything, make up stupid songs, listen to crazy Tango music and was just silly happy 24/7. Now, I have my music so the need for something to sweeten up my life is gone.

That does sound like progress doesn’t it? Now I have another little bitty problem it seems – coffee. I would start off my day with one cup in the morning to get me going and next thing you know five or 6 cups have gone through my system and its only 3pm! There are places I need to be at, things I need to do and sitting around and wasting time is something I cannot afford to do! So when I feel anxious I reach for one more cup of coffee. I want everyone to know, for the record, that I am taking a serious look at this coffee addiction.

I reckon my food choices are directly linked to what’s happening in my life. A few months ago I fell madly in love with Sushi and here’s why. I associate Sushi with my husband. After an all out argument when the terms of peace have been negotiated and the needed documents notated we would find a suitable restaurant where we would celebrate our truce.

There is a great sushi joint around the corner from our home but the lights are too bright, the decor garish and the sushi overpriced. This is a quick fix-me-upper place; our Switzerland. Our daughter tags along for those. But when we need a bit more time to talk and relax certain things are required. Dimmed lights, chilled music, great cocktails, oysters and even more chilled out people. Our sushi outings become intimate…and I always feel slightly high afterward…lol!

Hang on a second here…it just hit me. I do not feel guilty about Christmas at all. Hell, I had a great time! The food was fantastic, the people even better and I felt deeply satisfied when everyone left. I didn’t have to cook a damn thing and we have a dish washing machine! My mother –in-law’s cooking skills are legendary. I can’t wait for next year to come around and then it will be more Food Glorious Food! Seriously who could ask for a better way to end off a year?

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Meeting people is easy

We all know that we shouldn’t talk crap about other people. Whether it’s a celebrity or our neighbours we can’t seem to stop blabbering about what others are up to. There’s poor old Tiger , Joostgate and now Brittany Murphy who are splattered all over the show. I thought I was a reformed girl…that my bad days of talking shit about people were far behind me.

I won’t even lie. I check out E Online every now and then. I tell myself that I do it to catch up on my favourite shows and see what people are wearing (seriously, did you see Oscar de la Renta’s collection?) but even I can’t escape all the gossip mongering that goes on over there. As my eyes catch the latest gossip headline I have to remind myself that, yes, I do have better things to do than care what people I don’t know are up to.

All the esoteric books teach the same basic thing: don’t judge others. It sounds so easy and yet none of us get it right all the time. Today I was talking to a friend about a mutual acquaintance. I honestly thought I was just sharing my thoughts ( as people so often do) but as I spoke I realised that I was in fact bitching, moaning and…um… talking shit. It occurred to me that I always have something to say about this one person in particular. I hate it when I catch myself bitching because it says more about myself than the person I am bitching about.

Knowing this has changed everything for me. Now if I ever do get stuck on a celebrity or bitch about someone I know….dammit-all I refuse to feel bad about it. Instead I will take a deep breath, have a swig of Sherry, call up my sister and together we figure it out because dammit -  all I am on the path to enlightment…and dammit all, I do have better things to do with my time…

posted by auriol in human nature and have No Comments

Black Diamond

Everyone’s always talking about living in the “now” but try as we might we all lounge and dwell obsessively in the past at times. Anything can set of off – a song, a specific date or the smirk on stranger’s face.  If only none of us made mistakes – then we could laugh at our neighbour’s misfortune with immunity. Come on be truthful …we all are guilty of responding to someone else’s stroke of bad luck with the words, “How could they be so stupid?” or the thought “I am glad that wasn’t me”.

And we really cant’ afford to laugh at anyone or be without empathy because, whether we like it or not, we are all terribly flawed. I just read Zakes Mda’s book Black Diamond and I loved every word that man wrote.  The book was written with such empathy and humour that  I couldn’t wait to turn the page. And sure life is not that perfect and perky. Zakes Mda brings that point across so clearly in his book.

People everywhere are struggling to make ends meet, find love or reinvent themselves. And you don’t need to look that far to find a massacre of three or some conflict on a personal of international level.  We all know that no good ever comes when you hanker after something that’ gone or chase some ideal to the exclusion of everything else.  At times it feels like everything is in a state of flux.

Over the last few months I have made my peace with Flux and her constant confidant Doubt.  I try my best to deal with my own imperfections and shortcoming and sure it’s hard. Living in my own past sometimes does seem ideal but if I did….I would never get any singing or songwriting done. Anyhoo, certainty and perfection (I have decided) are just overrated and boring.

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Morning Star

There is nothing that hurts more than seeing your child fall apart. Today I heard things no parent ever wants to hear. “There is nothing you can do, Mummy. Nothing you can say will make me feel better.” So instead of diverting her attention I told her  exactly why I knew  how she felt…  and that’s when she handed me her snotty tissue, wiped my nose and told me not to cry.

We spoke about many things in between the tears, hugs and silly cat jokes. I told her that my biggest achievement was having her in my life. And this is why it hurts when she says I sing like a cat…lol!  My sister never got why I am so close to my mother. I suppose it’s because my mother and I see each other as people first and the fact that I don’t live there anymore helps…lol! Sure my mother thinks I am doomed to burn in hell. Alas I won’t be one of the 144 000 people who make it at the end. Still I know that I can always find home with her – no matter what I do. And this is something my daughter knows with me.

When she was small I would talk to her about Aliens and ghosts, sing Sheryl Crow and Nina Simone songs, dance to loud music until we were tired, we had our own radio show in the bath, created imaginary friends (I’m the Bear and The witch being my favourites) and watch silly TV shows together

I have written many songs for her over the years but by far my favourite is this. Her name means Morning Star.

I feel I’ve walked a thousand miles in these weary shoes

And all I want to do is stop and listen to you

After walking for so long I want to take some time and say what’s on my mind

Don’t worry about me I’m okay

The road’s been good to me but that’s no why I’m here to day

You are my morning star; I carry you with me near or far

You are my guiding light

You help me find my way through the deepest, darkest night

Even when we shout at each other and she hands me a note saying, “I am so mad at you….grrrrrr” or tells me I don’t know how to be a mother nothing can change the fact that my life is rendered magical because of her.

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A life filled with music

I often wonder where my life is going. Maybe I do this because I have way too much time on my hands or perhaps it’s just genetics (a critical character flaw on my part). Anyway after many years of thinking I have narrowed down my desire to one single thing. Above all else I want a life filled with music. Maybe I feel that way because I was a silent kid who hardly spoke and later still someone with so many piled up thoughts that left little time for music or anything else.

So when I picture my ideal life I see it littered with musicians and all kinds of creative people. I see myself being so happy…in that wonderful garden…. drums, guitars and voices filling the air…. boisterous family members arguing …friend’s kids playing in the pool …people huddled together smoking and laughing… and great food being eaten.

Life, I think, cannot be filled with great moments. You need nuances…crazy variations…heightened emotions…days filled with uncertainty and doubt.  At best I have experienced snippets of something wonderful. A perfect day at the zoo…a great night out with friends … hiking on the mountain with family …being shit scared during a horror movie… watching a storm while sipping on Sherry….and hearing a song sung with ease and unexpected beauty.

People can still surprise you too, I discovered. I use to think that humans are not that complex…that if you looked carefully enough you could determine their motivations and predict their next move. Such arrogance on my part! Iknow my life is makes more sense if I am able to appreciate those small exquisite moments that often pass unnoticed. Sure, if I am lucky enough those big moments will come and I will be elated!

But a life filled with music means being awake and aware of everything.  Maybe I can’t always be the one singing the song but I want, always, to be capable if hearing it.

posted by auriol in desire and have No Comments

Extra Sensory

This was written by Sibusiso Mkwanazi and published in the The Citizen

“Psychic junkie”. That is how Auriol Hays describes herself on her blog. This was before she stopped seeking the services of those who claim to see into future.

“It all started when I was looking after my daughter as a housewife,” she notes.

“Anyone who is a stay-at-home parent will tell you that sometimes you need a change of scenery.

“It is not that we love them less, but more about taking a break from it all. I believed the lady I consulted because she had precise and correct insight into my life,” Hays says.

“She also mentioned that I would be a singer. That is how it all started.”

As a real test to see if her psychic was genuine, Hays should have asked her what type of music she saw her performing in the future…

“My producer André Scheepers and I use a classical formula but we offset it with edgy vocals. Growing up, my mom did the typical coloured thing of listening to a lot of classical music – that is where I picked it up from,” she says.

Does she think that being based in Cape Town influences her music?

“Yes it does. It does tend to sound darker and heavier than your average album. In fact, my hubby listened to a few of the songs and thought I was depressed. He even joked that I was plotting to kill him, in reference to Guns And Tables,” Hays laughs.

Does she use her family as inspiration to write tracks?

“My daughter and husband are the reasons for a lot of my songs, because I use everyday occurrences as my material,” Hays confirms.

“Interestingly, my daughter thinks I cannot sing to save my life! She is always teasing me about my terrible voice. I will be writing a song called He’s Digital which is about my husband’s affinity for all things digital,” Hays says.

“ The other day we were both working in the study room when he sent me an e-mail, asking me for coffee. This was all while we were in the same room! And then there is my daughter who is the writer of the family. I often find crumpled-up papers that she has written. If she didn’t think I was such a terrible singer, who knows, I would have used her writing in one of my songs.”

Hays seems to be living in her own world with her own rules.

“I am never willing to do something I do not like,” she asserts.

“The type of music I do and blogging are my life. They help me understand myself better and they balance me,” Hays says.

So why did she stop going back to the future?

“The light bulb went off. I do not have the need to know what my future holds for me anymore. I only go in case of extreme emergencies, even then, it is over the phone,” she admits.

Spoken like a true junkie.

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Peace Lovin’ Man

My best friend asked me why it is that he keeps running into assholes when he has all the love and understanding for others. And he is not joking here either. This guy is keeps on running into these bladdy weirdoes who never give him any respect. In his case I know the answer. It has everything to do with maintaining boundaries. It’s like this new kitten we have. Sure it is very cute but dammit-all I just can’t write when she is biting my chin and clawing her way up my leg. Sometimes you just have to say – Enough. You can’t just let anyone into your space and allow them to treat you like crap..

I always thought that being a good person is just over-rated. In my mind it’s all subjective and a bunch of crap.  I do what I feel compelled to do. And hell, I don’t always feel like being the bigger person and giving the beggar some of my cash. Sometimes I want to tell him to get a damn job. This does not make me a bad person – only human.

Having boundaries seem much to deal with when it comes to those closest to you. No one wants to turn away someone they love or someone who needs help. Still, I know one thing for certain; I am no Jesus. And let me be clear – I am not being disrespectful at all. I just happen to know what I am capable of giving to others. I cannot and will not help everyone out.

Just this morning as I was chilling outside enjoying the early morning breeze, I heard my neighbour screaming high hell at her daughter. I did not think, “OMG what’s wrong with that women.” Instead I remembered that I also felt that frustrated and took it out on my daughter. Man, I am far from perfect but my daughter and I have clear boundaries now. She knows not to mess in my bag or in my stuff while, until she is a bit older, I have access to everything of hers…lol!

Some people are poison or they are just no good for you at a particular point in time. There is nothing wrong with admitting that. In the end you have to do what works for you; what keeps you sane.

posted by auriol in human nature and have No Comments

2012

I will be honest and say that the movie did not blow me away. I didn’t let my daughter watch it because she is already a bit too preoccupied with volcanoes and disasters in general. Also, I didn’t feel like answering 3 million questions about the Mayans and predictions about doom, gloom and the end of the world.  I will tackle that later in the week, thank you.

Anyway, as I sat watching that movie I wondered just how many people really think that something like that could happen. Some people were really taking the movie a bit too seriously I noticed. I am sure those guys already made their money with this movie and let me state, for the record that John Cusack’s acting did not let me down. He kicks ass in every role he takes on. The movie just didn’t move me. I swear I really did try to suspend my disbelief.

There are those who say that 2012 signals a change in consciousness more than anything else. I agree with this thinking but that comes with its one set of problems. Have you ever tried convincing someone to change their viewpoint? Granted, it is not something I think anyone should do but that does not stop people from trying, though. Anyway, when someone changes the way they think about anything it causes all kinds of disruptions and upheavals in their lives.

You could say (silly as it sounds) that their world is erupting. The old conditioned ways of thinking and being are being blown to smithereens while they are being flooded with new information; information that they can no longer outrun or shy away from. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t as affected by the movie. I have had to face a few of my own tsunamis and volcanoes of late.

Hmm or it could just be that the plot line was a bit too thin for my liking…lol!

posted by auriol in Movies and have No Comments

Unnatural Selection

We all like different things for different reasons. Today I have some thoughts on music that need sorting through. Some people like music because it makes everything a bit more bearable. That annoying boss and pissy co workers don’t seem as bad if you tone their voices down and lace a funky beat over them in your mind. I have done that many times myself! Music allows you to just escape and switch off. I get that. I mention this because a few minutes ago I took a look at MTV to see what’s out there.  So often people say, “You gotta know what’s going on. The last thing you want to be is out of date.” Sure there is merit to that argument but I seriously question that kind of thinking when I take a look at just what is out there.

I have had many people tell me that they like my voice but not the pop tunes that they hear on the radio. While I find that amusing I never take it personally. Just like any job music does not define who I am – neither is it the only source of my happiness. It took me years and serious drama to discover that fact. So another music video is due to hit the TV screens and again it is not a song that I have any real connection with. It is just pop, sugary fluff.  Am I concerned that people will not take me seriously as a musician? No really. I guess this comes down to the fact that I have learnt a great deal about my own nature (the good and bad) and know that compromises are needed.

Knowing that has made a great deal more tolerant of all musicians. So the girl is shaking her ass and acting like a tart on the music video. Who really cares?  There are things worth taking seriously in this world and a music video doesn’t do it for me. In the new music video I have a bit of a dominatrix edge and I will confess that I like it. Dammit-all what girl would not want to order men around with a cane? A whip would have been a bit much! What I dig about music is that it gives me the chance to become other people.  In fact I am busy working on a sci fi themed song and it is a really interesting experience because of where I allow myself to go mentally.

Music is about experimenting and finding your own voice and style. While I can say that I am very proud of this debut album, it is not reflective of who I am as a musician. Did I compromise – sure.  Did I sell my soul –no. I merely haven’t found my thing yet. No matter what I do or the myriad of mistakes I might make what matters most is that I evolve as a person. If that filters in through my music – great. If people get that while they listen – even better.

I once asked a boss about someone who I had doubts working with. This was her response, “Auriol, you can’t always wear a coat when it’s hot outside can you? Neither can you wear a short little dress in this windy weather. You should think of people the same way…”

In the end it’s not what’s “out there” that is important but discerning what will serve you best.

posted by auriol in My music and have No Comments