Music Interview South Africa

#MusicExchange: It's all 'Silk and Gravel' for Auriol Hays

With five albums under her belt, Auriol Hays 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.

In March 2022, Hays was selected as one of 12 local and international artists to participate in the Tankwa Artscape residency in the desert.

Now Auriol has a new album out called Silk and Gravel. It refers not only to the texture of her voice, but the subject matter of the music itself.

Image supplied
Image supplied

"The last few years enabled us, individually and globally, to delve into our lived realities. I discovered when the restrictions lifted, I could no longer burden myself with painful narratives” remarked Auriol. "I used music to purge their angst, and my own."

Her sixth album, Silk and Gravel is available on all digital platforms now.

I recently caught up with her...

What is your job description?

I'm a tequila-loving therapist to friends and family.

What does music mean to you?

Everything! If I love anyone and they cannot be found in my music…obviously the relationship won’t last. I wish that was a joke!

My music is about...

Not complicating one’s life with words.

What is your motto?

"Awareness Through Music"

Fame is about...

Not doing or saying anything that would shock my mother.

Retirement will happen when…

When I die.

I don't do...

Bad food, bad whiskey and bad music while driving.

Image supplied
Image supplied

I would love to co-write with...

Obviously...Ben Harper! Everyone else is a bonus.

Where do you go for inspiration to create?

The world is my muse, but a fantastic man does wonders...

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

All of it beside having to market myself.

The song you must do during every show?

Intimate audiences do enjoy In My Lover’s Bed. But the song people sing along most to is called People Say The Craziest Things

Any funny moments on stage?

My boobs almost popped out on the opening night of the Joy of Jazz many years ago. Needless to say – I invested in good bras since.

My heroes are...

My mother, sister, daughter and all my friends.

My style icon is...

My daughter instructed me to not look like a mad aunty from the hood. So I am adhering to those standards.

Which living person do you admire most and why?

All the people who are currently in my life are inspiration enough.

What is your most treasured possession?

My notebooks where I jot down words and phrases from all kinds of people that will become music.

It's your round, what are you drinking?


Dream gig

With the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.

What makes you stand out?

My voice and bad cooking. Also my equally bad taste in men.

Image supplied
Image supplied

Any nicknames?

My granny use to call me Orrie Borrie.

If you were not a musician, what would you do?

A therapist.

Pick five words to describe yourself?


Greatest movie ever made?

I am a TV series and movie junkie. This is an impossible question to answer.

What book are you reading?

I just finished all the books written by Tim Butcher. Blood River, The Trigger and Chasing the Devil. I wish he would write more...

What song changed your life?

Waiting on an Angel by Ben Harper.

Who do you love?

Music...but let’s not tell my Mother or daughter.

Top of your bucket list?

Spending a few months in Berlin working with artists. Driving the autobahn in a very fast car; music blasting with my friends.

Your greatest achievement?

Just being able to breathe every morning. And all the wonderful people I call friends and family who make creating music a joy.

What do you complain about most often?

Bad music.

What is your biggest fear?

Getting lost and having to eat bad food and terrible company.

On stage, I tend to...


Image supplied
Image supplied

The best life lesson you have learned?


What has been your favorite journey so far?

Travelling to India.

Do you do charity work, and if you do, what do you do?

I am very involved with creating awareness around Alzheimer's. However, if my voice can be used to make some kind of change and those involved are sincere – I am always ready to help.

Wishes and dreams?

I would love to tour overseas and work with people who are great on and off stage. Life is too short to deal with assholes.

Social media links

About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

Let's do Biz