Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for March, 2012

The New CD – some thoughts

The last 2 years have been very emotionally draining and music, family and friends were they only things that kept me sane. Mark and Divan listened to every bad song I wrote and always gave encouragement when I didn’t think I could write another song or get on stage to sing. I would wake up every morning and Mark’s first question would be “What are your plans for the day? And what’s going on with your music?” He might not know it but those 2 questions, along with “What’s for supper?” kept me grounded and focused. Then there were all those dirty jokes…that I could never share..

There really was a time when I did think I would never write music or find the right people to work with. Then along came Mallum. I won’t lie…it took a while for me to trust him. Some people just don’t get me or my music.  And I drilled the poor man. I was always very precise about what I wanted in a song and how it should sound because I was paying him after all. Many songs were given to him in their entirety but even those he improved upon. I especially love what he did with my apocalyptic song called THE END and A BETTER MAN. He never let me down. Then there’s Seth Grey who always passed on music that I could write to it.  One of his beats ended up being used by Zubz and I for our duet, a song called ALL TIED UP that I wrote for my sister. She likes the song but is in two minds about it. Some people you just can’t satisfy!

How can I forget the most talented man in the music industry today? Lionel Bastos who writes the most emotive songs and actually allows me to sing them. Lionel who is always so generous with his time and would answer any questions I had as best he could. He is one of my mentors and a wonderful man all round…

However, I need to say this – and it is important for all musicians out there. I learnt a great deal from the first cd, how it was made and the business of the music industry. I was lucky because I had Morgan who always shared information and kept me in the loop the first time round. My career is where it is because she was always pushing and insisting that things are done a certain way. Sometimes I think all she missed was a whip – the killer heels she has, trust me!

However, on the second album I was left to my own devices and learnt to trust my gut more than anything. I learnt how to deal with clients, to negotiate and essentially to not be scared any more. Calling up radio stations, mailing people in the media, getting playlisted…things I never did before but was forced to learn. I did it alone for the most part and am grateful for it because of what I learnt and the people I got to meet along the way.

These are the people who helped most and whenever I needed it.  On the music video side I had a great team helping me – headed by Ross, Marius, Ierephaan, Christoph and my beloved French Michel. I am lucky to have people who not only believe in me but my music passionately. They give of their time and their money freely without me ever asking. That is something I hope to repay in any way I can..

However, this album is my baby. I was involved in every step, wrote most of the songs and was intimately involved in every decision. This album is also not a random collection of songs, as the first cd was, it is thought out and revolves around a theme everyone can relate too. The cd’s name will be CALL IT LOVE, Anima Sola. Not all the stories are my own. Some were inspired by friends, lovers, mothers, aunts…I can only write what I feel and my friends and family matter most to me.. Without them nothing would be possible. Not the life I live nor this new cd…

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Muddy Waters

Many things annoy me and I have been told I can be a difficult customer. I like to believe that I have become a tad more tolerant over the years… but if I have to hear “You will learn something meaningful from this experience” one more time I will hurl something sharp and big at someone.

You always tend to hear this from people who claim to know better. You know those who have no personal experience or depth to draw from. Yes, those sanctimonious pricks who say things like, “ It does not serve me to do….” Or “I have so much more to give…” Sometimes I want to say “Bitch please! You and all your boring soap opera theatrics are headed straight for Nervous Breakdown City!”

Look, I know I am not perfect and will make mistakes like everyone else. When that happens I don’t want to be preached at, given solutions to my problems or be made to hold someone’s hand. This is what I do need; to know that I am surrounded by people who have the ability to listen. People I can trust, admire and whose loyalty I will never question. I use to think that every person on the planet would want a bit of that – but was proven wrong. Some just want money, status and a thin body to lay against. I have slowly leant to honestly not give a fook and tune them out of my life.

I can hear what you’re thinking, “Shoo, Auriol, jaded much?” And I would respond “Yes, yes and yes to infinity!” Even though I don’t believe in many things any more I will not write sad songs about confused people. I have enough of that in my own life. Anyway, Music won’t allow me to do that. I sat down to write the other day and was surprised at what presented itself to me. I ended up writing a song that was cautiously optimistic. Me? Cautiously optimistic? That was a shocker!

Maybe life isn’t that bad after all, I thought as I listened to the new song. I don’t want to be preached at. I need someone who will listen. I don’t want speeches about obligation and what is right – instead show me, with your actions, what your right looks and feels like. If pressed to choose between Love and Career, I would choose Career hands down. It was always the safest bet. Now all I want is balance.The only reason why I have a career in music is because I have mastered Balance. I didn’t just sit around and make vision boards and read metaphysical books about the inner workings of my mind and soul! I worked at it as best I can whenever I can.

So Universe, if you are listening I have a few orders I would like to place. I promise I will always try to balance them out and not get side tracked. I want a life filled with more Music, more time with my daughter, Love, enough money to take care of our needs and definitely another child. If you want to throw in a new man and some overseas trips  - that would be cool. Not a necessity though..but cool

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OK Computer

“It’s not my fault Mummy! They asked us to put everything away and that’s how the camera broke.” Trying to teach a kid the concept of responsibility was never going to be easy. As I was talking to her it became very clear that not only kids struggle with this idea but adults more so.

Whenever the shit hits the fan in my life I never look outside myself. My best friends get very upset with me. “You are beating yourself up for things that are not your doing. It takes two to tango.” A part of me understands that perfectly but my inner philosopher always wonders how other people’s actions reflect on my own humanity, flaws and all the bits that need fixing.

No matter what drama you get drawn into, we all reach that point when it (and all the people involved in the saga) no longer matter. When even emotions of anger, resentment or sadness cease to enter your mind or have any noticeable effect. The new age gurus call it Detachment. In short it’s when you stop giving a fook and feeding the drama any energy. That has always been the tipping point for me…

I never concentrate on the people involved in the saga. Rather I look at what issues they are forcing me to face. A family member, an addict, recently said, “I don’t know why they don’t trust me? I am trying really hard to change.” I laughed at him and said, “Do you honestly expect people to trust that you have changed or have taken responsibility for your life after two months? If you want to change you have to act in such a way that they no longer remember the mistakes you made.” He didn’t get that…and then wonders why I never invite him anywhere..

Taking responsibility in my career has always been challenging. In my band everyone is so talented and headstrong. Also, they tend to be dismissive of me because I am the only girl.  Then the universe stepped in and forced me to look at that situation and fix it. I have stopped band practice many times and said, “This is not how the song should sound. I need a more menacing, devilish feel. Less gospel chords please.” Trust me, saying that to a band full of very religious men was …an interesting experience. But they understood and made adjustments. I no longer need to have that conversation. I took responsibility and they respect me for it. I guess it also helps that I pay them well and on time.

We teach others through our actions. My daughter knows that she can achieve anything if she sets her mind to it. I have shown her that it’s possible. She also knows that I will kick her little ass if she acts spoilt and irresponsible. This life is just too short. We cannot pretend that our actions do not affect others. And if I have to chase her around the house with a belt or sing menacing songs in the middle of the night next to her bed – I will. In fact I already have:)

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For The Man You Are

We just finished shooting a new music video and this is one of the pictures. The rest  you can find in the gallery.

I was lucky enough to have a great team of talented people who made everything possible. Cal, or as I call her Crazy Cal, was on hand to take these pictures.

Clayton Evertson plays my male lead in the music video. I propositioned him at one of my gigs! I was lucky ….he just happens to be an actor


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