Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for July, 2010

Remembering

Crazy thoughts pop into my head a lot. I have learnt to deal with it in two ways; by talking to people I trust – dead and alive. It all started when I joined a coven and decided to give paganism a go. If you must know I had an alter, a white robe, lit incense and invoked deities. Still, I only really learnt the value of rituals and how to connect so some higher power when I left those crazy weed smoking pagans…lol!

Years later I ditched the alter, gave away my robe and donated many of the books to a library but my love for rituals stayed. Every morning I walk around my garden and have conference calls with my “people upstairs”. Some might call this crazy and I really don’t care. All I know is that by the time I am done all the craziness I felt is gone and I can think clearly.

I don’t call myself a pagan or attach any kind of label to my spiritually. This caused great confusion for my daughter when she was asked to prepare an oral on religion few years ago. I was honest and gave her my take. This was her response, “Mummy that’s real interesting and makes sense but no one will get it. And I will get a bad mark.” She went to my mother-in-law instead…

Every now and then (especially when I am very stressed out) I will light some candles and incense. Hey, a bit of atmosphere never killed anyone! When I was still a pagan my cats would enter my circle and purr as I did my thing. They have also decided to join me on my early morning walks. Perhaps they have discovered the correlation between the walks and better tasting cat food. lol!

My life is a relatively peaceful one and I have a lot to be grateful for. Every now and then I pop into a plane and sing somewhere. But it’s the family (cats included) and friends that makes everything slot into place perfectly. I think we all need people (dead and alive!) who give great advice, allow you to be yourself and tell you when you are being a bitch. The rest of the planet can go to hell…

posted by auriol in on the wild side and have Comment (1)

Jungle Boogie

A girl came in for a make-over. She looked fantastic! The only thing I wanted to know was, “Is that her real hair?” And yes, the tv producer shot me a strange look when I asked. See, most Colored people (especially those from CT) are very “particular” when it comes to their hair…

I once sat in the hairdresser for 6 hours! Yes, I looked fantastic when I strutted out – eventually – but I vowed to never do that again. In JHB people have no qualms with wearing weaves but if you are wearing one in CT you are most certainly not going to admit it publicly…lol!

It has a lot to do with Apartheid. If you were lighter and your hair straighter –you were more sought after – even if you were a skank with no class! This, years after democracy, is still true all over CT. Now I don’t have an issue with ladies wearing weaves. If it makes you happy then just do it! I do worry when I see a two year old screaming her head off because she is getting braids implanted or when their scalps are being burned with relaxer.

Sure, in a perfect world we would all be okay with the way we look, but this is not a perfect world and we all have issues. The media does not make it easier either. Just think of the ladies and men in porn movies, for heaven’s sake! Most of us don’t look or act like that! LOL!

There is no point spouting things like, “love yourself as you are” – again nice concept but let’s get real here. Most of us can’t do that. It’s just too damn hard. So I opt for the next best thing; we should find a balance wherever and however we can. Wear a weave or go to bed with your GHD…whatever works for you, works for you. Look, I thought I knew a thing or two about the world yet it took me years to finally accept and embrace my big boobs… lol!

posted by auriol in on the wild side and have Comment (1)

Tick Tock

If I were thinner and prettier my record company would market the shit out of me. That’s because they know that what’s pretty and appealing sells a lot faster. Now that Gaga and Die Antwoord are making waves – being down right weird has been added to that list also. Over the years I have been told a lot of crap…that I should loose weight and perhaps sing Afrikaans music. All of this from people who are “in the know”!

I always thought that most people have integrity. I just haven’t found many of them in the music industry. If you do not fit into some kind of box you have to work your ass off a lot harder to get anyone’s attention. All it takes to make an impression in the music industry these days is this: a pretty thin girl with an average voice, trendy clothes and a big hit producer. I am sick of all of it.

Why can’t we see each other for who we are? Jill Scott, who has one of the most amazing voices, had to wait years before she got signed and even resorted to sending her demos to record companies without any picture. This makes me understand Nina Simone’s bitterness and anger a lot better. She knew just how superficial and fickle people can be.

Playing at Montreux was an eye opener for many reasons. I will be honest. We were not the best band or even the most entertaining. And lord knows we were far from experienced. Despite all that we got on that stage and played with “gees”. I did not hope or expect anything big to come from it. All I ever hoped for was that people would hear me and not be put off by the fact that I do not fit into their thin or pretty box.

And I don’t know if the audience at Montreux got it or even if the people here do. Part of me find that very sad. This is why I have few friends or don’t easily embrace new people and smile whenever I am asked to. I don’t do fakeness very well…

The people in my life who matter will always be the ones who could always see me for who I am. Plus all the bullshit, prejudices and flaws. If people who listen to my music manage to see that and past the only two pop songs on my album – then fantastic. If not too damn bad baby…

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posted by auriol in sanity's overrated and have Comment (1)

Smoke on the Water

I can admit when I am wrong, and I was very wrong about Montreux. Allow me to explain. When people heard I was going off to the Montreux Jazz festival – everyone had something to say. “Oh, this will open many doors for you.” “You might land an international record deal” Blah, blah, blah.

The idea that I was going to sing in front of a few thousand people was just too overwhelming to deal with so I ignored all of them – or tried to. Being in Montreux was an eye opener. I was walking and breathing in a space where Nina Simone, Miles Davis and so many others performed for crying out loud! I had so many mixed emotions that I just could not articulate at the time. People around me thought I was being a wet blanket. They were freaking out and jumping about when I remained stoically silent. I reckon some people will never understand me…lol! All those thoughts and fears dissolved when I saw Ben Harper perform. It was not only his music but how he spoke of music. In that second I was reminded of why I became a musician.

And it has nothing to do with wanting fame or validation. I just love being able to sing getting paid well for doing so. Montreux taught me many things. It showed me that I need to plan better, take greater control and be more unafraid. Now finding a way to do all that will take work but I am not alone…

I think it’s human wanting to always do better or thinking that you failed somehow. All I can do is accept that I did the best with what I had at the time. So instead of being depressed I have chosen to see this as nothing more than a lesson. One I would not have been able to learn if I stayed at home. It really is true what Bilbo Baggins said in Lord of the Rings, “Sometimes you never know where the road will take you…” and if I misquoted the old dude…forgive me…

posted by auriol in My music and have Comment (1)

Easier to Lie

In Munich I saw an old white lady cleaning the floors and yes, I did do a double take. I also heard a lot of bullshit from white South Africans when comparing our lifestyle to that of Europe. In my mind I thought, “What do you know of poverty, suffering or discrimination? Can you empathize?”

And let me be honest here, I would also want to raise my babies in a safe environment. Who wouldn’t want that? Still it’s the bitching that I can’t handle! I am surprised that so many people are unaware of the systematic effect that Apartheid had and still has on many communities. Very little has changed. All I have to do is think about Eerste River where my parents live. My own brother can’t see further than the drugs and drinking holes he frequents…

We are all so human and biased. In South Africa Black is the face of poverty. We have very little sympathy for anyone else who does not fit into that box. Sure Switzerland has poor people – they just hide it better. In fact that country has a long history of hiding many unsavoury things…

I just wish we could stop bitching and take collective responsibility for where. Be and do more. This is not about race but about being more human…
Take a look at the link below. These are real people

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/07/poverty_within_white_south_afr.html

posted by auriol in sanity's overrated and have Comment (1)

Montreux

If you want to feel fat, gross and completely inadequate – go to Montreux! Everywhere I looked all I saw were thin, really good looking people! And if they weren’t thin they were just too comfortable in their skin. Yes, it made me sick…lol! Having just come back from Switzerland I am left with so much to think about…

The one thing I have asked myself continuously since seeing Ben Harper live is this; will I ever be at ease with myself and my audience the way he is? Some things you can only learn with experience or with a mentor. Having had none of those and always being thrown in the deep end always made me feel as though I am missing something. No, this is not a bitching or pity party…I am just sharing how I honestly feel.

Montreux was a fantastic musical experience but in my mind it was not good enough…I was not good enough. I would grade my performance as slightly above average. So now I have no choice but to start from scratch again. And that requires some deep thought about what does and doesn’t work not only in music but in everything else.

Sure, I have a few ideas floating around …but the one thing that I have asked my “people upstairs” is this; that they send me help asap. I am hoping to I run into people or read articles that spark ideas. All I ever wanted as far as my musical career is concerned…is to always improve and Montreux made me realise that I need to be, give and do a lot more…

posted by auriol in career,My music and have Comment (1)

Love and Chocolates

Yes, yes it’s true – everyone needs love and chocolates. A good splotch of romance never killed anyone but those unrealistic movies and soppy love songs just might. Now I really get annoyed when terms like “unconditional love” get hurled around. A nice concept sure…but very hard to put into practise.

How can you love anyone unconditionally? We are all terribly flawed. Allowing yourself to be loved is not as easy as it sounds. We live in these cages where certain beliefs about love and life do hold us hostage. I grew up in a house where my father does all things domestic and was rather surprised and angry when I discovered that I had to do all of the household chores…LOL! It took time and a lot of negotiation to work through that one…

Love is never easy but it was always the small things that made me overlook the mountains of ironing and cleaning I had to do. For Christmas I got a lot of expensive recording equipment. Still it’s my fat lady statute that’s my favourite gift. Someone noticed how much I loved looking at it in the shop everyday…

Now it’s time for a confession. I have been a bit of a bitch lately. Yes, I do have very valid reasons (lol!) but my bitchiness has made it hard to see certain things. Don’t you just hate it when you are in such a bad mood that everything you hear sounds like an insult? I am glad I don’t have a death squad at my command because there would be a lot of dead bodies floating around…lol!

That’s why appreciate it when my sister says, “You are being a bitch Auriol. Lighten up!” So instead of wishing for love and chocolates and feeling miserable – I have decided to give it. I won’t aim for unconditional love but I will try harder to love the people in my life a lot better and as best I can…

posted by auriol in love sucks and have No Comments