Red Hot Mama recently got the rare opportunity to sit down with Raquel Aurilia and ask her fourteen questions about her music career, charity work, and experiences in the world of baseball. But unlike other interviews done by RHM, these answers were written by the interview subject instead of a rhyming dictionary.
My first exposure to your music was “The Need” single that you distributed at Great American Ball Park before the game on September 10. How did you come up with the idea to give out the CD in exchange for donations to the Red Cross?
After seeing all the devastation resulting from the hurricane, I happened to see a “telethon” that different musicians were singing at to raise money and thought that maybe it would be a good idea to do a similar type of event. I find music to be very therapeutic and thought “The Need” had a great message to share with others. I asked some of the Reds wives to help out, and we all got together and ran the fund raiser at the stadium.
Can you describe how an effort like that comes together?
All the wives were great and were all very willing to help out when I asked. Lorrie Platt with Community development set up a booth for us and we got the radio stations, newspaper, etc. to help spread the word.
How did the fundraiser go? Did you have any interesting encounters with fans?
The fundraiser went well. There were not a lot of people at the game that night so I was pleased with the turn out. We raised $1,700.00 in a few hours. Considering it was only a “single” and the fact that people had already been donating to different organizations previously, I think it went pretty well. Yes there were some interesting encounters with fans that night. Alcohol will do that to a person (ha ha). Seriously though, nothing negative, just a few inebriated fans who were quite comical!
“The Need” is a track from your album “Finding My Way.” Will you tell us about the album?
The album has a few different styles of music with each song. There is a little bit of R&B (Tears), a little rock (One Step Closer), some Pop with an edge, (Where was I, Ready for Love), Adult Contemporary (Feels Like), and so on. All the songs we selected for the album had a certain “feel” to them and had great lyrics. Even the re-makes, “For What is Worth” has to do with everything going on now about the war etc. “Dream Weaver” was just a favorite of mine and fun to do! Hopefully people who hear these songs can relate to them, the way I do.
I noticed that you are not listed as the song writer on the tracks. How do you select your songs?
I did not write the songs on “Finding My Way,” but am going to try and possibly write some in the future (work in progress). I admire the people who did write them however, and commend them for a great job! I selected the songs from several demos that we (Tony Papa and myself) came across and selected them from there. Without going into too much detail, there is a lot to do once you've selected an original song because you need to get permission etc. from everyone involved. Tony Papa, who is the producer of the album and consultant for Shea Records, has been a great help taking care of the business side of things since he knows the industry so well.
The music on this album reflects a variety of experiences, including some of the darker sides of human nature (betrayal and addiction being a couple that come immediately to mind). However, the overall message seems to be very hopeful. Are these themes reflective of your life experiences?
I think that I can definitely relate to the betrayal side of things (someone cheating--in High School) and what that feels like. Most people have experienced that at some point unfortunately, and it sucks to say the least. The “addiction” to love as in the song “Poison” is also very real and being in love can have such an impact on your judgment, leading with your heart and not your mind even when you know you should get out of a bad relationship. Finding the strength to move on is what it is all about.
I was totally obsessed with the song “Where Was I?” and listened to it over and over again for longer than is probably healthy. What's your favorite part of the album, or what are you most proud of?
It's funny that you say that but “Where Was I” is one of my favorite songs on the album. I love performing it on stage because there is so much to say! I love the transition from soft spoken lyrics in the verses, to an intense build up in the chorus of finally “getting the picture” and expressing that with such emotion through the lyrics. I am glad you like it! It is also my sister's favorite too!
My husband and I really enjoyed your brief but moving portrayal of Cute Cashier in the movie “Sweet November.” What was that like? Did you hang out with Keanu Reeves?
Thank you. Brief is definitely the key word there (ha ha). I had a few lines in the beginning, which got even smaller through editing etc.! It was fun. Richie and I did get to go on the set, and we met Charlize Theron (in between scenes) but not Keanu Reeves. We stood next to him in line when we were ordering but did not meet him because we were in a hurry and so was he. Seemed like a nice guy though.
What musical or acting projects do you have coming up that your fans can look forward to?
I am performing at a bar called “The Mint” next week (Oct. 14th), and I am opening up for B.B. King on Dec. 29th at the Dodge Theatre in Arizona. I am really excited about B.B. King and can hardly wait! I already have around 50 people going to support me (and see B.B. King of course--ha ha).
Red Hot Mama is a Reds blog, so I really cannot avoid asking at least a few questions about your husband. How did you meet Rich?
Richie and I met out one night in Arizona. We were both just hanging out with our friends, and we happened to meet! We got along really well and have been together ever since.
Is it difficult to balance your career with your husband's?
It has definitely been a challenge, especially because have two children too, but we make it work! We are both very supportive of each other, not to mention, he also enjoys music and I also enjoy baseball (so do our kids!).
Do you have any interesting baseball-related stories that you'd be willing to share?
The World Series in 2002 with the Giants and Angels was an amazing experience. I am still convinced it was that darn “Rally Monkey” (they kept bringing out during the game) that was the reason the Giants lost in Game 6 with only 5 outs to go and a 6 run lead!
They had all these movie clips starring the “Rally Monkey” that were so ridiculous you had to laugh (including one of the “Rally Monkey” dancing/sliding across the floor in this underwear like Tom Cruise in Risky Business!) It feels better to blame the “Rally Monkey” anyway!
Overall, the experience was so exciting throughout the whole playoffs and one that Richie and I will never forget and hope to experience again (with a better outcome of course).
You've modeled. You've appeared in movies. You've got an album. Your website has photos of you with soap opera stars and stuff. Isn't Cincinnati kind of small-time for you?
No not at all. Richie and I are very grounded people see ourselves the same as everyone else. We really enjoyed Cincinnati. Richie and I had a great time there. We enjoyed the people on the team and their families and had a good time with them off the field as well. We also enjoyed King's Island etc. Anytime we go somewhere new, we try and make the best of it and try to explore the city and all it has to offer. Any time you go somewhere new it is always an adjustment no matter where it is, but we had fun there.
Obviously you can't know for sure, but in your opinion, will Rich be back with the Reds next year?
I am not sure, to be honest with you, what will happen next year. There has been some talk about the Reds picking up Rich's option for next year, but this is not definite. It is a mutual option, which means both the Reds and Rich have to agree. He just wants to play every day, so hopefully that opportunity will be available to him. We'll see what happens!