I meet the most amazing people and eat really good food. Those are the perks of being a musician. I could be blunt and say that my life without music was empty and staid. The truth is not so simple however. I have come to realize that… it had a music, a cadence and beauty of its own. Would I change any of it you ask? Not a chance in hell. There have been too many memorable experiences along the way.
I remember my first corporate gig. Oh it was horrid! I forgot my lyrics and didn’t hit certain notes. I remember speaking to Andre, my first producer, afterward. “Auriol, never show that you made a mistake. Most people won’t know or care.” Of course he was right and wrong. At first they didn’t. However, when I get hired these days most people are familiar with my work. And when I do encounter clients who aren’t, I strike a balance. Instead of viewing these as terribly dull musical encounters to an equally dull and lifeless crowd, I enjoy myself and view it as rehearsals and an opportunity to mess around! The feedback is always positive. The fact is… my band and I are busy enjoying ourselves to be concerned with anyone else. That energy is infectious I realized.
Goodness, then there’s my first live television performance! Brace yourselves. Just before we were about to go live the TV-host looked at me, very concerned, and said, “Can someone get her some water please?” He knew that I was on the verge of dashing out of that studio. Sprinting! Heck, I could have earned an Olympic medal I tell you! And before you assume everything happened as it should - I started singing at the wrong time! After smiling nervously, I recovered and then proceeded to sing with my eyes shut! But at least (and I always say this to console myself) I was pitch perfect…
I think I will regale you with one more tale. My first TV-interview took place on a Sunday morning. This is also where I met Zakes Mda for the first time. Did this go well you ask? Well, yes and no. I used the word crap about ten times, according to Nathan Ro from Lonehill Estate. Of course I swore horrendously on live radio too… Only with the help of good friends and family have I redeemed myself. My evil ways are a thing of the past… thank goodness. I don’t think I can handle another call from my mother.
One of the most inspiring people I met was not some hot shot executive or a famous musician. He worked at the Pinda Game reserve. Barry was his name. This man was fearless in every aspect. He could name every flower, animal… would get up close and personal with a pride of lions. The facts and bits of funny fiction rolled off his tongue with ease and grace. Then he mentioned, in a nonchalant manner, that he started working in the kitchens of the game reserve. Only there did he discover his deep love for nature. That experience altered my perception and appreciation of animals and nature. Understand, the only time I thought of animals was when they were on my plate, medium raw please..
How can I forget all the weddings and birthday parties? Aside from staging shows on my own terms, weddings and parties are my favourite kind of gig. In this instance the food is never a factor. I will share a little secret with you. Every time I perform to people who are in love or passionately alive, I find a dark corner with a great vantage point and I spy on them! I pretend to read or fiddle around. In all honesty I am observing them very carefully. Maybe it’s the radiant optimism or the way their eyes sparkle… but every time without exception… my jaded black heart is healed – bit by bit.
Tell me, who could ask for more?