How it all began
‘She has the knack to astound, and quite often her sound defies categorization’. Zakes Mda
With five albums under her 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 Ms. Hays to open for triple Grammy award winning musician, instrumentalist and producer Ben Harper in June 2019. In 2021 she was the only South African artist chosen participate in the Commonwealth of Learning Virtual Celebrations, focused on addressing increasing inequalities. Ms. Hays was selected as one of 12 local and international artists, to participate in the Tankwa Artscape residency in the desert in March 2022.
Turn up the Volume and Take it Slow were the two chart topping tracks off her debut album Behind Closed Doors. A Better Man from her deeply intimate Call It Love Anima Sola sophomore release. Her Deep Hays album, collaboration with Rowick Deep, delivered two unforgettable songs that can still be heard on the dance floors, Deeper Than the Ocean and Rhythm Sublime. Dreaming Music was no different. She astounded her audience with her own rendition of Sipho Hotstix Mabuse’s “Burn Out, thereby making the song entirely her own. “Child Atone”, featuring Riaan Smit from Crimson House Blues contained, as Zakes Mda said, ‘resonances of the American Deep South of slavery and Uncle Tom, of tamed field hollers and ceremonial chants. Auriol’s blues vocals here will surely wake Ma Rainey from her grave.’
Authentic and sincere are but a few words that best describe Ms. Hays’ 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.
Socially conscious, Ms. Hays’ Dreaming Music also includes a nod in support of Greenpeace, a song penned for the Arctic 30 titled “Come Home to Me”, intended to highlight the plight of Arctic drilling in Russia and the impact on the environment. The composition, A Million years, penned by Lionel Bastos, was used to create awareness around Alzheimer’s. Ms Hays is the ambassador for The Living Cornerstone Alzheimer’s Residences.
Aside from being asked to offer insight and inspiration at various events, Ms Hays was also formed part of an international cultural exchange program between South Africa, Zambia and France.
In addition to TLC Alzheimer’s Residences, Auriol is the proud brand ambassador for two other NGO’s – Help2read, dedicated to child literacy and Masikhule Child, who assists in educating and developing the needs of both women and children within marginalized communities.
Ms Hays is no mere jazz singer. She is a musical storyteller, a sonorous shaman, a songwriter above all else whose musical and emotive range is influenced by a plethora of sounds. And all her music rendered is done so in a voice entirely and completely her own. She released various singles from her fifth musical release, TENtation, in 2018, and gave audiences a taste of her new material during an intimate performance inn March 2022.
Ms. Hays is… always penning new music.
This is her band, The Saints, performing their Being Human in June 2021