Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Anything Goes

My sister can shock the hell out of me! Maybe it’s because she’s the middle child or a Virgo. Honestly Sandra Bullock doesn’t stand a chance of grabbing that Oscar if my sister’s around. Before I carry on I just want to state that I love my sister – with all my heart and soul. Even though she does not look the part my beloved sister can be a drama queen of note! And here’s the scary part – I love every second of it!

I feed off those crazy emotions. I am a musician after all. At best I try to extract and distill negative emotions. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying: this is how it is, deal with it. Life isn’t always pretty and people aren’t always nice. On a good day I try to gain insight into my own condition and share it. A fellow artist and friend, Curtis Folts  remarked, “The purpose of an artist is to evoke the fullest range of emotions from people that their medium allows and to lend them the courage to see themselves in that light.”

Now that I am writing music for the Deep Hays album all the blood has been cleared and I find myself in a peculiar position. I am no longer the killer or the wounded. The polar opposite in fact – I am the lover and the beloved. And that is deeply satisfying from a songwriting point of view

I have a confession to make that will explain a great deal. I recently set up an altar in my home. Yes, I returned to my heathen ways. In it I have symbolic representations of what matters most in my life. The Gods Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganesh are now part of my home. Before you ask I do house other religious iconography…

Part of my morning ritual involves simply sitting alone for a few minutes and focusing on those parts of my life I need help with. My mother does the same – only with her bible and lots of singing. Thanks to this ritual I am a bit more focused now. I do not allow my emotions to highjack me – that often…Once my head is cleared I start my day.

On a serious note giving into those emotions can lead to ruin. Okay, maybe I am being a bit dramatic but they definitely get you into trouble. I have to share what Curtis said to me this morning because it  resonates, “I believe that when we master our relationship with our emotions we will master our evolution.”

Back to my sister. She once convinced some people that she is a recovered heroin addict who sincerely wanted to start a daycare centre. She walked away with their phone numbers and their kids names! I love my sister but sometimes, just sometimes, she is gloriously, deliciously mad…and strangely enough that keeps me sane!

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Little Girl Blue

My daughter painted herself blue yesterday. When I asked her if she was inspired by the movie Avatar she replied, “Yes, but I fell asleep. It was a boring, long movie.” In other words it had nothing to do Avatar. She painted herself because she was bored. Man, I miss those days – when I did things for no good or bad reason but just for the experience!

I am only open to new experiences when it involves music, I realized. There is nothing better than working with a passionate musician and riding that energy…but that is where it stops! I hope, in time, to remedy that situation.  My daughter is a really cool kid and she reminds me (constantly) that I should have more fun. This is something I tend to forget. We all know there is nothing worse than someone who takes themselves too seriously.

Luckily the Universe/God/ (call her what you will) has other plans. She has no intention of allowing me to live in that little box. So she sends me people to ease me into new experiences. Through these friendships I have learnt to trust myself enough so I can be more spontaneous…to use the energy I reserve for my music and spread it out evenly in other parts of my life. I am convinced that I am here to master is the art of maintaining Balance. But dammit-all, it’s hard!

Yes, I need to have more fun but will do it in my own way. Hang out with friends, dance more and go back to Capoeira classes. I do not need to hang out in clubs or try to be seen. Dammit-all, I have a fantastic sister, a bar in my house and a cocktail book we need to work through!

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Tango Till They’re Sore

It’s hard to see people for who they are on even the best of days. Generally we tend to gravitate towards an extreme. They are either mangy tongue twisting bitches or angelic being who perch on God’s shoulder for fun. This kind of attitude always lands us in trouble. Inevitably people can only be this: flawed, imperfect and very human.

Why is it so hard to look at someone’s actions and say, “This is who I am dealing with now and there is very little I can do to change that?” Yet even in that moment of utter disappointment we take on a burden that is not ours to carry. They aren’t the ones who are wrong. We are. There has to be something wrong with us.  I have girlfriends who stay with abusive men for years. They can’t look at their men or themselves in the mirror for too long….

There’s just so much to consider when you interact with people. There’s conditioning, projections and unfulfilled expectations from both sides. At times who the person is gets lost in between all that crap. At other times we prefer to only see the best in people – even when they act like assholes. “I know they’re better than this,” we say to ourselves. And usually we are right – just not at that particular moment.

The ability to see someone for who they are takes time and often comes with a great turmoil. You can’t really know someone when life is sweet and things are good. Most of us don’t want to think about  the bad times or people’s deeper issues. We are too concerned with ourselves and getting what we need from them. That doesn’t make us bad either – just very human…

There are a few things I know with 100% certainly. People will surprise you. Life will surprise you. Having family and friends that really see you and love you in spite of it all – can and will get you through nearly anything..

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Mississippi Goddam

I need to laugh more. I spend way too much time thinking about music and worrying about people. I fear it has turned me into a killjoy and a bore. My daughter suffers from the same affliction but to a lesser degree. She only worries about her school work. “Chill out girlie. You can deal with this. When you get older there will be real things to worry about!” This does not help I have come to realize.

Maybe I should just hire a comedy or better yet go and see a comedy show. Just for a little balance and some fun. The fact that I am even debating how I should have fun is does not bode well. I wish I could just switch off the constant drone in my head….

I always end up doing the next best thing. I  stroll to my daughter’s room and hang out there. All it takes is a few minutes. Next thing you know she’s screaming, I’m screaming…we fall off the bed and inevitably she calls a halt to the merry procession with the following prophetic words, “Stop Mummy I’m going to pee!”

The only way to endure any troubling times is by having both feet firmly planted in the ground. Most of us live in our head. After all that is where Worry Central is located and we all visit her way too often. I have always been grounded by people. I love just hanging out with daughter, best friends or watching movies with the family. These small things create balance and keep me anchored. But I really should get to a comedy show and learn to bring more fun into my life. I fear my daughter is reaching that treacherous age and is getting sick of me. Maybe this is why she keeps insisting that we have another baby…or a dog..

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You Can’t Hurry Love

I can’t say that I am a Phil Collins fan but a recent interview I came across disturbed me. Phil lives in Switzerland and had a fantastic music career by all accounts. In my mind no one should be that damn sad if they are parking off in Geneva and have a few Grammy’s in their basement, excuse me. Maybe I am being too harsh on the guy. I don’t know what he’s been through or how his illness is affecting him. He just seems a bit too eager to step out and take his final bow…

Phil says that he won’t miss banging on the drums due to his health constrains. Personally I think he’s lying.  Being in the presence of a talented drummer is an amazing experience. I freak out at every band rehearsal. Poor Keith is getting sick of me by now!  So the idea that he won’t miss it is inconceivable. Maybe he finds it easier to say he won’t miss it…Yes, I could be projecting but music, to me, is the one thing that does transform me into a functioning human being.

Phil’s honest ranting frightened the bejesus out of me. The emotions and the fears he harbor are all very real to him.  But strange things happen when you allow fetid thoughts to fester and swell. Honestly I want to smack Phil and say, “Shit man there is nothing wrong with who you are! Forget that twat Noel Gallagher and all the anti-Phil websites.” When I think of Phil Collins the music video for You Can’t Hurry Love comes to mind. Love for music, passion and fun was written all over him…

Yes, yes, I am projecting. If I were faced with such negativity would I survive it? Who knows? All I can do is keep those I love close, give no energy to the negative and try to  remain deeply rooted to the mystery and wonderment that is music.  Above all that… I want to always have empathy for others even if I disagree with their choices. That would not only makes me a better musician but a better person. Good luck Philip. I hope you make it to the other side in one piece…

posted by auriol in human nature,My music and have Comment (1)

She’s Only Happy in the Sun

I have been a little obsessed with Ben Harper lately. Most of the time I do not listen to music. I prefer writing music or just singing badly when I am alone, but when I do listen it usually means that something is going down. Each  emotional cycle comes with its own soundtrack.  My undying love for Radiohead had a lot to do with unfulfilled expectations. Now some would argue that their music is depressing and I can’t say I really care. To each one his own, right? But this Ben Harper phase has nothing to do with the fact that he is that good looking. Promise. I listen to his music and it always leaves me feeling strangely comforted.

When I have really bad days and am without music, I listen to Ben and it reminds me that there is a time for everything. There’s a time to be on stage and a time to be aggravated by my daughter and driven insane by my husband. This has been a hard because on bad days it’s music that I crave more than anything. As you can see I am struggling with balance…

The one thing I have realized is that I don’t want a life filled with music. I want my life to feel like music. I remember a vivid dream I had a while back. I will spare you the esoteric mumbo jumbo – but will say this. In the dream I saw how music affects people.  It was beyond extra sensory. I got to touch it, feel it coursing through my very being. It was an ineffable experience and simply knowing that drives everything when it comes to music. Sure, I write the odd meaningless song  but then there are those songs that feel wonderful as you write it and even better when you sing it…

My mister gets upset with me because I forget basics like cooking at times. My head is filled with music and it can crowd out everything else. Thanks to the Food Network I have discovered that I can get excited and passionate about food as well. This has  made life a lot easier. Trust me, I would get a headache just thinking about what I needed to cook! I doubt that I will ever feel passionate about cleaning though! I am not that mental.
So I watch a Ben Harper clip when he is in rehearsals  and am reminded – I have time..
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Dancing on the Ceiling…

There’s a lot of crap on tv these days but it’s what the kids are watching that really bothers me. Everywhere you look normal people are transformed into rock stars, fashionistas, movie stars. They are anything but ordinary. Is it any wonder then that most kids dream of being famous?

Now I know this is going to sound rough but not every soul on this planet is destined to be a famous something-something. I do believe that everyone has a destiny or a calling. Fame was and is the last thing on my mind when I thought of being a musician. Call it God or whatever…but music allows me to see and experience things beyond myself….it gives me the freedom to be perfectly present and selfless. If only parents would speak to their kids about that instead of allowing Disney  to sculpt and mold their preferences. Do you get why I hassle my daughter about what she watches?

These days every Tom, Dick and has a reality show. Part of me understands that need. A friend articulated this very well on my Facebook wall a few weeks ago.

“It’s a form of self medication. People need the royals and the pope and sports heroes because their own lives have no meaning. They need to live through others to feel alive ….Some don’t have an alternative though. So for now we all find a drug that takes away the pain and nausea of alienation.”

The fact is that we all have our own reality shows going whether we like it or not. At the centre of mine is a crazy husband with no taste in music, a daughter who is an aspiring artist, drama queen and comedian, an eccentric sister who thinks she will die alone (even though she is smart and very hot), an atheist  father  and ultra religious mother. Then there are the side characters – the weirdo friends, the music and my cats who always moan about their culinary options whenever I enter the kitchen. All of these people are extraordinary and they all matter to me. I try to remind them of that whenever I can. The last thing I would want is for them to escape into television…

Now that Christmas is around the corner it is my daughter, like all little pests, demand that I prove my love by getting cool gifts. I know that she knows that I know she is just being an opportunist. She wants the Disney Sing-It game more than anything else. It’s not that she can’t sing. She just loves singing very badly when I am around. It’s torture, I tell you! She will get the game (after all it is Christmas). I will listen to her endless howling, complain bitterly and (when she is not paying attention) record it so that I can play it to her kids when she has her own reality show one day. After all I have to keep myself entertained somehow…

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Here Comes the Sun…

I am not a perfect mother, I can admit to this. I swear too much and am not the most sympathetic person on the planet. If you have a problem – try to understand how you got there and get out. That’s my approach. Bitch about it…but not too long and not with me! Sometimes I think my daughter wants me to be the kind of parent who makes an annoyance of themselves at school functions. You know the kind who smile too much and wears bright clothing. I told my Bad Horse that she has to accept that I am who I am and get on with her life…

That girl, who is almost as tall as I am, is one of the few people who can make me howl with laughter. And I do feel guilty that I am not always able balance family and my career. I know I can’t do it all and have made peace with my limitations. I don’t always cook the perfect meal, even though I love watching the Food Channel. My house isn’t always sparkly clean and I tend to forget my manners every now and then.

Despite all that, my daughter and I are close. We talk a lot just like my mother and I do. I always share how I feel about things. Not how I think things should be (except when it comes to her room, of course. I am not perfect, okay) and she does what all kids do eventually. She drives me up the wall and around the bend! lol

I love that our relationship is what it is.  Sometimes I miss the three year old girl or even the baby she was. I do worry if I will be able to relate once she hits her teens but then I remember how my mother makes me feel to this day. Safe.  All I can do is try my best to give that to my daughter. It also helps remembering what the psychic said…I will have another child…a boy….eventually…

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O Meu Amor

It’s about damn time everyone knows this. You will never have a soul mate people! Sometimes the best soul mate you can hope for is yourself. I won’t lie my family has its fair share of dysfunction and it taught me many things – some good, some bad and some very, very ugly.

My deliciously hot and quirky sister thinks that she is doomed to live her life alone or fears that she will settle with a lunatic the way my mother has. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the old dirty bastard and over the years we are easier with each other. But that relationship has poisoned the way I think of men despite all my new age education.

I have friends who married assholes. Men who will always remain assholes no matter how many therapists get thrown their way. These ladies are not only raising their kids but their husbands also. Personally, I think they are the strongest women out there…Imagine waking up every single day with someone who doesn’t know how to love you?

Eish, that a grown ass woman has to admit to her Daddy issues is rather sad but acknowledging the truth is the first step to recovery, right? And this is why I the best soul mate you can hope to have is yourself. Like my best friend Mo said, “If you can’t love yourself why should anyone else?”

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We are all wired differently. Don’t worry this isn’t a woman-are-from-Venus men-are-from-Mars rant. It’s about behaving badly and I do it every so often. The latest episode happened at a family function where I wasn’t feeling very talkative. The First Husband was not impressed….

“Auriol, what’s wrong with you?” Is this man not married to me, I wondered? Has he not noticed that I go into lurk mode and try to hide out from everyone? Even the people at my record company know this about me…lol!

Yes, we all are guilty of thinking people should behave in a certain way…. and then stepping outside of those boundaries ourselves. I can be very social when I choose to be but there are times when I just want to be left to my own devices. That is becoming harder to do these days. Anyway, it’s the best and only way to observe people… but the First Husband was not having any of that either.

I felt like a bad child being sent to the naughty corner. I did not want to admit that he had a point here and there. Sometimes I do not care enough so I retreat. Other times engaging is just too costly because once you are in their “stuff” – you are invested and that changes everything.

I am not one of those people who can only care a little bit or care from a distance. I know of many people who do that very successfully and I find it fascinating and odd. People who I care about will hear from me often. At least a few times a week and I make time to see them whenever possible. The rest of them….oh well…No one’s perfect.

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