Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for December, 2011

Over My Shoulder

When I write a new song I always send it to people who understand and know me best. Later I send it to “fans” or people who are invested in my music. And always a wonderfully strange thing happens. Instead of simply saying “I like this song” or “It does nothing for me” I get intimate peaks into their lives. When I finally got the final mix for the song Over My Shoulders, I sent it to Christopher. “The new album is driven by a central theme, the unraveling of a relationship”, I casually remarked. “I like concept albums,” he said. “It tells a story. I hope all your future works will be the same.”

Instead of thinking of future albums I wondered about my life. If it had an overarching theme or concept and if I was living up to it or not.  For so long I lived my life by default. For the last three years I felt like I was living in purgatory of sorts. Weeks would go by in a blur and I could neither control nor understand why that was. So it is rather fitting that my new album is called Anima Sola…

Music changed all that and brought greater focus to my life. Even during those times when my life felt like it was going to hell, music always kept me sane. That’s another thing I learnt. When one is in a troubling spot it is best to remain focused on what gives strength. “You are so strong” a friend once said. Strong, me? I think not. At best I never show what I feel and somehow that gets interpreted as strength. If only she knew how many times I felt overwhelmed, lonely or scared. And that’s when it struck me. I have to learn to manage my emotions and communicate that in a balanced way to those nearest to me. And that is always an easy thing to do through music. Well, easier…take away the music and I am a mess.

In light of that epiphany I have decided to do something drastic.  I will audit myself so I know where and why failed.  And that means being brutally honest – not a pleasant experience. Then I will discuss my finding with my group of advisers (very good friends) and listen to their independent take on the matter. I don’t want to be burdened by sadness or nostalgia anymore. This purgatory business is boring me and it really is time for a change…

posted by auriol in career,human nature and have Comments Off

Well, Well, Well…

Maybe it’s because I was born under the “wrong” star sign or because I never listened to my parents but I always call things as I see them. And honestly most people are full of bulls**t. Everyone wants what they want faster than you can say please and thank you. I see this in the music industry especially. Build a brand, get that endorsement, a tv spot on a reality show and be “seen”. On the one hand it is rather sad and on the other, perhaps, a necessary evil. After all a little help here and there does make a big difference. Hell, I know of so many talented musicians who play their souls out for hours and walk away with barely enough to care for themselves let alone their families. Call me an idealist or plain naive but I firmly believe that if musicians really understood how their music affects people it would dramatically alter the way they worked and grace them with something more valuable than money or fame….reverence.

I always thought that every single person comes into this life equipped with everything they need to live a rewarding life. Granted some people struggle harder than most finding their talent…but once it is uncovered it changes the course of their lives and everyone they touch. Be it singing, cooking or flower decoration. We are all graced equally. In case you are wondering I am not drunk or under the influence of a religious cult. Well, I am not that drunk yet ….

Everyone knows how much I love Ben Harper’s music. I do get ripped off for it on a daily basis. Some call me a pervert…after all the man is not only a genius musician but delicious in so many unexpected ways. I will freely admit that I do get distracted by his beautiful face and tattoos (I am human after all). But if I put all of that aside what I value most is his ability to articulate, through music, what it means to be human. There have been days when I felt so unloved, so unworthy, ugly, ashamed…where I doubted the value of my very existence and was unable to get out of bed. Then I would listen to his music, his voice and feel the one thing I needed most – peace.

Being deeply rooted to that reverence changed the way I view music. I no longer pull up my nose in disdain when asked to sing a silly pop song. I know that for that second it allows people to feel something real, gives relief…a way through and out. I understand that it is never about me but what moves through me when I sing. That in itself is reward enough. Yes, I need to make money to get by…but that reverence has always given me more than enough when I needed it most. Brand endorsements will come if they need too but they are not necessary – neither is fame.

So I try to do my best, be as sincere as I am able to and give my all in every way I can. Whether it means singing Brenda Fassie’s Weekend Special, answering pointless emails on Facebook or wearing heels for more hours than is humanley possible. Above all I trust.. I revere… and if that comes with a cocktail or two – so much better!

posted by auriol in career and have Comments Off