With five albums under Auriol Hays’ belt she effortlessly manages to deliver iconic songs from each musical offering. It is her daring versatility, showmanship and thicker than molasses voice that enabled Auriol to open for triple Grammy award winning musician, instrumentalist and producer Ben Harper in June 2019.
Authentic and sincere are but a few words that best describe Auriol’s musicality. Blessed with a powerful, sultry thick-as-molasses voice the SAMA and Mbokdo Women in Jazz nominated songwriter’s compositions have been featured on SABC 3’s weekly soapie, Isidingo, and extensively on The Mating Game. The French cosmetics brand Carrefour, as well as international award winning Indi film The Book of Mikey found her unique sound a perfect match. The movie Paradise Stop and local film makers, where she had a starring role, Infidel, have both embraced Auriol’s vocal virtuosity.
Q&A with Auriol
Tell us something about yourself that nobody knows.
Hmm, something nobody knows? I get bored very easily and enjoy gin and really old forests. Everyone assumes its whiskey and the beach.
What tips can you share that have helped to shape your career?
Always go with the best idea in the room. Never be afraid to say no or, I am open to persuasion, so let’s discuss. There are also no straight paths, what worked for one artist or human might not be a perfect fit for another. Regarding creativity itself? The best thing to do is remain curious. I fill my world with only people I love and respect. This feeds into the music and everything else. I also learnt to not rush. Every idea or person has its time.
There are two performances that really stand out. Opening for Ben Harper was literally a dream come true and being able to perform with The Soweto Gospel Choir the same night was truly a religious experience!
Performing at 44 on long, as a result of funding we received from Concerts SA in June this year, was another highlight. After not being able to get on stage, due to the pandemic, sharing the stage with my band was nothing short of joy. So many people came to our aid while staging this performance. I can’t help but think the band and I needed it more than any audience who witnessed it.
Advice you would give to your 18 year old self in one sentence?
I doubt my 18 year old self would have listened. I was not exactly open to advice of any kind back then! But on the off chance, I would say only one thing: “Allow life to happen and chill out lady!”
With FAME Week Africa being hosted in the Mother City, what do you love about Cape Town?
I love many things about Cape Town.
The food people cook! Whether in their homes or at a restaurant, it always tastes delicious! Pair that with a great white wine or a whiskey, even better. However, being able to enjoy good food in a place as scenic as Cape Town heightens the culinary experience.
There are so many nature reserves and places of natural beauty to explore. Oh, the second hand book shops and stores littered all over the city are great for tracking down bargains! I really do enjoy The Quiz evenings at places like The Armchair Theatre in Observatory, although we seldom end up in first place!
Then there is the poetry sessions, live music of every kind and genre, the dance festivals and myriad of cultural activities the city hosts.
And of course, people in Cape Town are always surprising.