Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Stop The World I Wanna Get Off with You

When I tell people I was a silent kid, no one really believes me. They could never imagine  loquacious  me as anything but bubbly and well, loquacious.  Sullen and withdrawn I can be and most certainly was when younger. That’s how I how become a voyeur and a voracious reader. Two necessary ingredients to becoming a songwriter I think. But when I was younger, it was my anything but. I hid in books..

I was stuck in what I termed my ” metaphysical phase” for many years. I even became a psychic junkie for a while,  joined a Wiccan  coven  and refrained from eating meat for two or three years! It really was an eye-opening experience. Once I felt more assured of my place in this universe, I decided to become a musician. My every thought was bent towards it and the books  reflected that. It was a long and exhaustive process, finding balance.

First, I must make a small confession. This confession has a huge impact on how I view matters of the heart, in music and …other places. Dawson’s Creek. Dang! I loved that show and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) especially. The writers of that show should be persecuted for crimes against humanity! They convinced me that men were more than capable of expressing their heart’s desire.  I suffered for many years trying to prove them wrong! Tell me who wouldn’t want a boyfriends like Pacey? One who would say this..

“Actually, um, hold on. I’m not done yet. Because I also want for you to be happy. It’s really important for me that you be happy. So I want you to be with someone, whether it be Dawson or New York guy or some man that you haven’t even met yet. But I want you to be with someone who can be a part of the life that you want for yourself. I want you to be with someone who makes you feel like I feel when I’m with you. So, I guess the point to this long run-on sentence that’s been the last 10 years of our lives is just that the simple act of being in love with you is enough for me. 

Beautiful isn’t it? But  what man in this universe or the many parallel multiverses says crap like that? Let me not get started on the tv show Felicity and that aloof Ben! Me? I live with my heart on my sleeve but many, I realized do live by the same code.  Some have even forgotten they have a heart altogether! When I lose my way, I call my Mother, sometime rather teary-eyed too I might add.  She would always say  “Auriol, your heart is a bit too small. You need to believe in something, in someone. Don’t forget God has a plan for you. Have patience, write music.” But I can never wait for others to do and say things and I am dreadfully impatient..

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”  said Edgar Degas. I just decided to take my Mother’s advice and believe in something greater than myself or my own experience have patience and trust that it will all add up to something one day.  So I keep writing music. I try to refrain from watching soul destroying shows where words are crafted with great love. I try to stay jaded, to hope a little less… but never can manage it completely.

Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  Curiosity is my response Mr Pablo. I read to remain curious. I try to understand the workings of the mind and heart through books, music, art, crazy tv shows, the laughter of little kids…and finally when I am close to understanding something true  – I sing

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Voice of America Online Interview

Darren Taylor interviewed me and this should give anyone a  clear idea of not only the new album  but the thinking behind it…

TAYLOR – Auriol Hays – Call It Love

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I hate being bored and boring others in turn. I come across so many people who are doing the same thing year after year. Same jobs, same friends and the same dreams that go nowhere. How can they not loose their minds? I have a few rules in my life that I try to live by. No, this isn’t something my Mother taught me or that I read in some self help book. I uncovered this while getting into and out of all kinds of sticky situations.

I refuse to be in the same mental or physical space for too long in my career or personal life. I would be so miserable that I would shave my head (wait, I did), stop singing (check, did that also) or write trippy suicidal songs (yepp, wrote so many.) After boring myself for years on end I made the conscious choice to seek new experiences. That just sounds wrong so please allow me to rephrase. I made a decision to seek enriching experiences with passionate people. Eish, that sounds porno-ish but I am sure you get my drift.

My life is nowhere near perfect, trust me but I am a lot happier than I was. Sure I get lonely but it I have learnt to be deal with. Wait, I am lying. I have my moments of panic but they are far and few in between. How can I panic when I have so many people in my life who keep my grounded and excited at the same time?

Moving away from outdated ways of thinking and being is not as easy as it sounds. Sure you can mantra your way into it something else or consciously seek out the latest and new. In my experience, limited as it is, that never ends well. When I go with the flow and allow people to surprise me – that’s when things shift dramatically. It ties in with the previous blog post about taking real accountability, not allowing any emotions to cloud my judgement and always being honest.

That brings me to my second rule. I surround myself only with honest, passionate, loyal people. The kind who will look at me and say, “Auriol you are up to sh**t!” or “Auriol you are wrong about that!” I know that I will loose my way every now and then…and when I do they will shout and scream at me – if necessary. I do the same for them in turn. When I travel I always have good people, who I consider family, to visit. Sometimes we go to our favourite restaurant, watch movies, sip on some Boschendal wine and spend hours catching up. They inspire me. Not because they live exemplary lives but because they share all of who they are without guile.

No matter how hairy things may get I know things will work out in the end. Everything I do has to take me one step closer to my goals…so I can be the best version of myself. I do that not for anyone else but for my own sanity. I can’t afford to have another nervous breakdown and shave my hair again! Dammit! Extensions are expensive and writing about suicide is just so very boring! Haha

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Something new, Something old

I was recently approached by the cosmetics brand  Carrefour to write a song for their new range. This was the first time that I was asked to write music for an advert but luckily my partner in crime, Mallum, knew just what was needed and the music was accepted.  ”L’amour et le soutien que j’ai reçu de la française a été surprenant et le plus apprécié”

So here it is…the song Auriol Hays – Beside You Master

A music video off the new album CALL IT LOVE, Anima Sola. The song is called OVER MY SHOULDERS. The new album deals with the vulnerability we all feel within a relationship.

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Call It Love

This is a sneak peak of the album art. I don’t want to post too many pictures. This was taken by Christoph Heierli in Cape Town

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If I Had a Boat

No one wants to be angry or angry for too long but I have to be honest. I love that initial flush of anger. You know the stage where you swear badly, inappropriately and at inanimate objects!  I have broken phones  and torched a few items in that phase. It left me feeling justified and for a second – powerful. I could almost hear my shaman Jen (yes, I have one, deal with it) saying, “Auriol, when you are  angry you are giving all your power away.” Again, I didn’t care about any of that as the flames roared…

As I listened to James Vincent McMorrow an unexpected thing happened. The anger was replaced by even scarier emotions: disappointment, pain and sadness. As I looked back into my past I saw how my own actions and thinking contributed to the mess I was in. Pointing fingers only helps for a little while.  And as James whispered into my ears…I cried. In fact the proper term would be howled. I never thought I would hear that sound emerge from so deep within me. Finally I got to say and feel what I needed too – if only to myself. I am so glad my daughter was asleep when that happened.

I know of so many people who let anger rule their lives. I grew up with an angry parent. In the end they hurt themselves more than anyone they happen to come into contact with. So even though I initially turned up my nose when Jen suggested all these exercise to deal with my anger, I am glad I didn’t ignore her. I just had to spend a good few hours crying and writing music after the anger left me to regain my balance.

Does that mean that my toaster isn’t in danger of being terribly sworn at in the near future? Probably not…

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Anima Sola

“I told you…you can trust me” A man should never utter those words and expect me to believe him. If this sounds like the start of a bitter sweet song, you would be mistaken. Those words were uttered last night after the screening of Anima Sola, a movie directed by French Michel (also known as Michel Dujardin). He used a great deal of my music in his film. For a while I was convinced he knew no other musicians and therefore had no other choice but to use what was on hand!

If I had to be really honest I would state (hand on the bible) that I knew he was on to something at the first meeting. “While we work together I will pretend you are 28,” I said flippantly. A part of my brain refused to believe that one so young could be so…gifted. I am not just going on and on about this movie because my material was used or because people I know wrote and acted in it. I do have some larger point I would like to get across, so bare with me…

Over the last 2 years I have heard the strangest things. “You should try your best not to rely on people” someone in the entertainment industry once said. Now I can firmly say, “Bullocks to that!” I am a cautious, cynical Scorpio but somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention and probably while writing a song, a completely outlandish, totally unexpected thing happened. I learnt to trust myself…

“Everyone is your mirror” a teacher once told me. I hate that saying because I know it to be true. If I am distrustful of others it is not because they are inherently untrustworthy. More than anything it reflects how little faith and trust I have in myself. People like to think that the music industry is governed by the law “It’s not what you do but who you know” Again I have only one word to say “Bullocks!” At every blind corner in my career, when I had no idea what to do or where to turn to, serendipity stepped in and gifted me with something extraordinary. People. Not only were they willing to help me, they believed in my voice, my vision. It was always a perfect fit.

Strange as this may sound (or cocky depending on where you stand) I do believe that I will keep ‘running’ into people. Not because I am that talented or connected or rich or even pretty…but because I trust myself to know that music is my calling. And last night I was lucky enough to be surrounded by like minded people who, young as they seemed, trusted themselves as much as I learnt too…

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Suzie Blue

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: not everything in the music industry is fun. If it seems like I am bitching, forgive me. Some things take a little getting use to. Photo shoots are nerve wrecking. And after so many I still haven’t mastered the art of smiling on queue, ironing out my frown or posing provocatively. Corporate gigs are seldom fun because I tone everything down. I stand in one place, wear shoes and a dress and seldom speak. I have also learnt to not take offense if it seems like no one is listening. Now I don’t mind the dress and shoes bit, what kills me is the uncertainty. I never know whether I am doing a good job or not.

Nothing makes me happier than a call from Morgan or Tabitha informing me that I have work.  I love getting in a plane and being alone in a hotel room. It feels like a mini holiday. Along the way I have learnt a few about myself and my band. First things first: I should always have an extra dress and stocking on hand. At the last job my stockings ripped 20 minutes ahead of call time. If it weren’t for two very good friends who lived close by, some audience members would have been scarred for life or blinded at the very least.

This might sound outrageous and very anti – new age but here goes. Judge me later if you must. I have learnt to stop feeling grateful at every turn. Allow me to explain. When I first stepped into the music industry I was grateful for everything that came my way – even mediocre musicians and crappy gigs. I would always smile and say, “Thanks that sounds great!” I said that because I didn’t know any better. I am, for the most part, more selective and discerning now. As a musician I cannot afford not to be. After all no one knows my music better than I do…

Honestly, there is nothing better than playing a show on your own terms. In front of people who actually paid to be there….where I get so nervous and excited I can’t sleep or eat or think straight. I could never only play corporate gigs. It would kill me. So prevent my untimely death my band and I play corporate not for the client (shoo don’t tell them) – but for ourselves. As long as we can leave saying, “We played well” that’s good enough.

In the next few months I will have to fake pose for another photo shoot (arrg) when we launch the new album, Devil Woman.  I won’t make the same mistakes I did the first time round.  I have learnt to not swear on live radio, say crap seven times on Sunday morning tv or pull my face into a contorted expression when I sing the wrong note. See? You live, you learn…

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Waiting on a Sign

The Greek philosopher Aeschylus once said “The reward of suffering is experience.” I could be fashionable and disagree with him but I won’t. I will simply add this – it’s what we do with our experiences that matters.

The last few months brought “suffering” of a different kind. Life slowed down so much I feared I would never set foot on another stage. Just as I was about to throw all my toys out of my proverbial cot and curse the gods I remembered something; humans being have cycles of their own and all I have to do is find the meaning behind mine.

When winter came for me I did what most people do. I resisted, argued or denied what was in front of me. I wasted all my time and energy on people and on my favorite pastime: watching tv series. In my case spending hours watching the tv show Community was a more pleasurable option. But after a while winter became so unbearable that I had to reach for more blankets and that required opening my eyes….

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times”. Aeschylus was right. It’s easy to be happy when all’s right in your world. “Stop this or I will come to Cape Town and smack you” said one of my friends. It took a while for me to stop feeling sorry for myself, to be honest, but when I did winter had stopped being something I feared. Yes! I finally found meaning in my “suffering” and in time was rewarded. During those cold months I found everything I needed: a new band, new producers and arrangers and two confidants.

What matters most is “what you do with what you feel.” My future husband Ben Harper said that…in case you were wondering…

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