Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for November, 2010

Dancing on the Ceiling…

There’s a lot of crap on tv these days but it’s what the kids are watching that really bothers me. Everywhere you look normal people are transformed into rock stars, fashionistas, movie stars. They are anything but ordinary. Is it any wonder then that most kids dream of being famous?

Now I know this is going to sound rough but not every soul on this planet is destined to be a famous something-something. I do believe that everyone has a destiny or a calling. Fame was and is the last thing on my mind when I thought of being a musician. Call it God or whatever…but music allows me to see and experience things beyond myself….it gives me the freedom to be perfectly present and selfless. If only parents would speak to their kids about that instead of allowing Disney  to sculpt and mold their preferences. Do you get why I hassle my daughter about what she watches?

These days every Tom, Dick and has a reality show. Part of me understands that need. A friend articulated this very well on my Facebook wall a few weeks ago.

“It’s a form of self medication. People need the royals and the pope and sports heroes because their own lives have no meaning. They need to live through others to feel alive ….Some don’t have an alternative though. So for now we all find a drug that takes away the pain and nausea of alienation.”

The fact is that we all have our own reality shows going whether we like it or not. At the centre of mine is a crazy husband with no taste in music, a daughter who is an aspiring artist, drama queen and comedian, an eccentric sister who thinks she will die alone (even though she is smart and very hot), an atheist  father  and ultra religious mother. Then there are the side characters – the weirdo friends, the music and my cats who always moan about their culinary options whenever I enter the kitchen. All of these people are extraordinary and they all matter to me. I try to remind them of that whenever I can. The last thing I would want is for them to escape into television…

Now that Christmas is around the corner it is my daughter, like all little pests, demand that I prove my love by getting cool gifts. I know that she knows that I know she is just being an opportunist. She wants the Disney Sing-It game more than anything else. It’s not that she can’t sing. She just loves singing very badly when I am around. It’s torture, I tell you! She will get the game (after all it is Christmas). I will listen to her endless howling, complain bitterly and (when she is not paying attention) record it so that I can play it to her kids when she has her own reality show one day. After all I have to keep myself entertained somehow…

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It’s just not okay to be yourself. That, in my mind, is the pervasive message plastered all over the media. Turn on your TV, page through a magazine – being poor and average looking is just not on. This is what struck me this morning as my daughter watched Forbes List of something-something. “Mummy, I’m just waiting for another program to start.”

I knew she was talking nonsense. After all I have seen her watch this Forbes character many times before. There is nothing wrong with having aspirations. I most certainly would not be a professional musician if I didn’t have them. The idea that you should always be more is what really gets me.

A few weeks ago I came home with a weave. I was curious so I gave it a go. “Do you think I should keep it? I asked my husband. “Well, you do look nice” he said. I promptly removed the weave. Dammit all, I have enough body issues already. I don’t need to add to them, I thought. Besides I like my short hair – especially after Bianca got her hands on it.

And I would be lying if I said I am unaffected by the images I see in the media. So much of the entertainment industry is rooted in fantasy and illusion. I am portrayed as being uber stylish on my CD. The reality, of course, is just the opposite. On most days you will find me in jeans, coat and hat that I prefer to hide under. A few months ago a kid casually remarked, “You don’t look the way you do in your music videos” “They gave me long hair”, I replied.

I just didn’t have the time to explain to this 11 year old that the entertainment industry is all smoke and mirrors. Have you seen the cover of my CD? Lord, I look positively Asian.  What’s so wrong with my short hair, big boobs and round figure?

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Automatic for the People

The entertainment industry is littered with addicts. Kate Moss gets busted on camera. Charlie Sheen acts like an asshole and no one blinks and eye. People will make all kinds of excuses if they think you are talented enough or if they can get something out of you.

My daughter is a big Disney fan. She loves all the shows and all the actors. When Demi Levato ended up in rehab I read an article to her and said, “Lovie, this girl is an addicts and has some serious problems.” I didn’t sugar coat it and say, “She has emotional issues” or some crap force fed line. I talked to her about the basics – what makes people do the things they do. Being able to understand and empathise with people is very important, I kept telling her. Along with learning how to pick yourself up of course…

So just why do addicts upset me this much? It has to do with control. I like being in control of my life and seeing people who are everything but just really pisses me off. That certain industries make it more acceptable is even worse.

Last night a little girl sat in my lounge and said very excitedly, “I can sing and dance too!” Hmm, I thought. I would rather you learn be a decent human being first. Then we can talk about singing and dancing…

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Here Comes the Sun…

I am not a perfect mother, I can admit to this. I swear too much and am not the most sympathetic person on the planet. If you have a problem – try to understand how you got there and get out. That’s my approach. Bitch about it…but not too long and not with me! Sometimes I think my daughter wants me to be the kind of parent who makes an annoyance of themselves at school functions. You know the kind who smile too much and wears bright clothing. I told my Bad Horse that she has to accept that I am who I am and get on with her life…

That girl, who is almost as tall as I am, is one of the few people who can make me howl with laughter. And I do feel guilty that I am not always able balance family and my career. I know I can’t do it all and have made peace with my limitations. I don’t always cook the perfect meal, even though I love watching the Food Channel. My house isn’t always sparkly clean and I tend to forget my manners every now and then.

Despite all that, my daughter and I are close. We talk a lot just like my mother and I do. I always share how I feel about things. Not how I think things should be (except when it comes to her room, of course. I am not perfect, okay) and she does what all kids do eventually. She drives me up the wall and around the bend! lol

I love that our relationship is what it is.  Sometimes I miss the three year old girl or even the baby she was. I do worry if I will be able to relate once she hits her teens but then I remember how my mother makes me feel to this day. Safe.  All I can do is try my best to give that to my daughter. It also helps remembering what the psychic said…I will have another child…a boy….eventually…

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I Put a Spell on You

I went to see two psychics in one day. Was it because I have serious problems and am in need of urgent answers? Nope. I was just curious. Madge and Jen were just so different. One gave practical advice and the other, a Shaman, was just so… interesting.

Madge, talked about a past life and the link it has with this life. Do I believe her? Well, I did pause to consider. Besides, too many strange things have happened to me already. Jen, on the other hand, picked up things that were far from obvious and I felt strangely comforted after I left.

Why do I go to psychics and clairvoyants? Aside from it being a fun experience in itself, I consider these visits part of my mental health routine. There are certain things I do to stay sane and going to see a psychic every now and then (for check-in’s) is just part of it.

I don’t go to get answers. I go for insight. Sometimes I can’t see past my own bullshit. There are times when family and friends can’t be as honest as I would hope them to be or I simply can’t or won’t hear them! And when I am out of sync with my own natural rhythms ….the shit really does hits the fan.

This is the reason why my cat has babies. I failed to notice her natural cycles and then had to deal with the obvious consequences: 4 very cute kittens!

Yes, we live in this fast paced world where we forget things that are…obvious. Then we get overwhelmed and make stupid decisions. This is not a new story and Madge, reminded me of this and what I can do to get back on track.

Now I can confidently say that I am not at risk of loosing my mind anymore. Shoo….that was close…

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Good Times are Gonna Come

I blame everything on Alisha. She took me to Oriental Plaza in JHB and within an hour I was trying on all kinds of dresses and shoes! It really wasn’t part of my plan to spend as much money as I did but hey, it was my launch so the expense was justified. Yes, a launch a year after my album was released…

If I look back at the last year of my life I have to pat myself on the back. Within a year I got use to singing live on TV, learnt not to swear as much on radio and can sing comfortably in front of thousands. Now if you told me this a year ago I would have laughed at the insanity of it all. For a girl who use to sing in the bath or when no one could hear doing all these very public things did come as a shock at first.

Still, it took a lifetime of dreaming about music to get me where I am. I didn’t sing in the church or participate in any musical activities. At school I was the girl who hung with the boys while they rapped at the back of the class. I never had any big dreams of singing. That, I thought, was meant for other people. I kept thinking that until my daughter was born. That event changed everything. I had to learn to entertain this little kiddie and I did it with music.

Music has also taken me to places I never dreamed of. Sure, Montreux in Switzerland was great. I swear I have never seen so many good looking people congregated in one spot. It is a great partying spot but singing on a game reserve in my own country was a far more rewarding experience.

Don’t even get me started on the people I got to meet through music! Some are more surprising that the rest and I’m not talking about celebrities either.  Take Steve (a structural designer) and Lee ( entertainment technician) who I met at the VW launch. Crazy, loud men – they are without a doubt! But they reminded me that having a sense of adventure will always keep one sane.

Khaya Mahlangu and the Gauteng Big Band was another life changing experience. For any singer who listened to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan or Billy being able to sing with a big band is a dream come true. Again it was something I never expected to come my way….

So when I finally had my launch at St Andrews Hotel and Spa ( 5 star darling) it felt like I was having a birthday party without the crazy relatives and presents. I got to wear a nice dress and even had a weave put in for the occasion. (For the record I removed it the next day. It is just too much effort maintaining it…lol!) Then I just l closed my eyes and sang….

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Alive in Me

Maybe it has something to do with the way I was raised but animals never mattered that much. On my plate or in a zoo was how I knew them. So when I arrived on a game reserve to sing for the launch of a vehicle I really did not know what to expect. For a week I was family-less and power pointless and at the mercy of wild animals. Do I sound like I am bitching?

That week on Phinda game reserve ended up being one of the best experiences I had in a long time. I realised that I have some serious issues while parking off and watching those animals. Why did I not do this ages ago, I wondered.

Riaan Manser, who was the host of the event, introduced me as being a musical explorer. Now that man has balls but an explorer or adventurer, like he is, I am not. He crossed Africa in a bike for crying out loud! Whereas I can’t even part with a coat on a hot day!

There was something magical about every drive we took. I especially loved driving close to 12 at night and seeing an elephant quietly chewing its leaves as we watched. And yes, I will watch more National Geographic tv, join petitions to save the Rhinos and urge everyone to go to a game reserve. But what I really would like, more than anything, is that knowing and sense of purpose that animals seem to have.

They do what they need to do. There is no agonizing or worrying for days or years on end. They accept their nature and act accordingly. Whereas I am at odds with everything – my own body, my environment and everyone in it

Maybe that’s something I have to learn to deal with. That I am who I am – flaws and all. And that  – shit – life is not as bad as I make it look in my head….

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