“I never use to speak much when I was a kid.” No one seems to believe me – especially school friends. “Come on Auriol, I don’t remember it that way …” In my defense, I was referring to primary school specifically. There never seemed to be enough time; enough words for all that silence. I still spend a great deal of my day alone. Socializing or networking is a necessary evil. I have gone a week without leaving the confines of my house or speaking to anyone. My silence has landed me into a great deal of trouble also. Now I try my best to speak my mind – without music. It is not as easy as it sounds..
My second album, Call it Love, incorporated more silence than my debut album, Behind Closed Doors. That was deliberate tactic to induce intimacy. Truthfully, I spent a great deal of time silent; that translated into the music itself. Jazz aficionados praise the use of silence. AAJ Staff professed, “Technique in jazz is paramount, and utilizing silence is part of technique. Knowing when to play notes and fill a void or when to lay back is just as important as playing the right notes.” Pop music is infused with a plethora of sounds that demand one’s attention. Ideal for radio but troubling for many other musicians who want to earn a living from their craft but do not fit the mould. Being neither a jazz nor a pop musician, the process of finding a soundscape for the third album is worrying and a bit too thought provoking for my liking. Where to go from here?
Allow me to share a funny story. I wanted to use the allegory of Plato’s cave to shape my album. “Ah, that’s awfully clever,” my one friend remarked. Hell, even I thought so! In one fell swoop I could entertain and educate. How bladdy arrogant of me! All I needed to do was pay attention to the songs I had written. They were surprisingly upbeat and happy. Also, I wasn’t as immersed in my own silence anymore. My tendency to over-think has not subsided (I still drive everyone insane) but I speak more now. Finding a new balance also meant employing silence differently, personally and professionally. Anyway, I am a singer, not a philosopher.
A while back I let slip a small confession on Twitter. “I tend to write and record new albums when my life is in flux,” When Call it Love was first released, a few people were rather concerned. The music was sparse, broken in places and the silences? They howled of sadness and inner trumoil. This time round the music is more universal. The sound is bolder, less cautious and the silences are meant to arouse interest, create anticipation. Does this mean I am a more balanced person or “together” third album round? Not a chance in hell! I am deeply flawed and get so many things wrong, but with every song, I want to answer the one question that will haunt me until I die, “What does this really mean?”
And on that note, there’s a Buddist tale, known as the Flower Sermon, where Sakyamuni delivers a wordless sermon to his disciples by simply showing them a white flower. Wisdom without words. It reminds me of the Japanese proverb “He who speaks has no knowledge and he who has knowledge does not speak.”
Why couldn’t I be born Japanese instead? It would be brilliant and I would have great hair! Alas, I am not, so all that philosophizing will have to be evened out with a touch of practicality. Either way, I am excited and I hope that those who buy the new cd will feel the same.