Musician and performer Ayla Nereo will bring her soulful voice and unique sound to the Fox Cabaret on April 5, 2019. Drawing on themes of compassion, life and our relationship with the earth, Nereo’s performance seeks to allow her audience, and herself, to experience life in the present moment, calling to attention our relationship with the world and with one another.
“To really feel connected to all life is both my personal mission and also the mission of this music and why I want to share it,” says Nereo. “What we do at shows is [create] such a profound feeling of connection among all of us, and by the end of the best shows we’re all like one being. It’s such a nice way of remembering that that’s always true.”
Nature and presence
Nereo says her life path has led her to creating passionate, spiritual music focused on nature and being. Raised in the hills of rural Sonoma County, California by her music-loving parents, Nereo’s early education was mostly at home with a heavy emphasis on cultivating and understanding one’s relationship with nature.
Instilled with an appreciation for the earth and the environment, Nereo and her brothers were also encouraged to become involved in music and the arts.
“I remember composing music at age eleven or twelve, just little chord progressions on the piano. But I never sang, and I never thought about it as something I’d wanna do as a career. It was more just something that just flowed through me,” says Nereo. “My [brothers] both did music, and I figured ‘Oh I’m a dancer, and I love making videos so I’ll stick with that. They’re the musicians.’”
It wasn’t until college where Nereo worked up the courage to start singing her own songs. She was compelled by the poetry and meaning conveyed by the works of Bob Dylan and others. Beyond being inspired musically, it was at this point Nereo realized the message she wanted to share would have to come through her own voice.
“It was a combination of the meaning, the deep meaning, and really he has a way of speaking to things that is leaving a lot of room for interpretation,” says Nereo about Bob Dylan. “It awoke something in me. It literally unlocked something that hadn’t been alive before in me, which was my desire to write poetry, words to a song.”
Sharing the music
Nereo says that setting out to achieve her musical goals is, in a way, a paradox. While she’s put in plenty of work and achieved many of her musical ambitions, Nereo says that her goal is not to focus on the next step. Instead, the key is to appreciate the present moment as it is, something that is as crucial to Nereo’s artistic process as it is to her own life.
“If I try to create this connection, it can’t be forced. Wanting it makes me feel like I don’t [actually] have it,” says Nereo. “My goal has always been to not think about those goals, but rather to have the goal be as much presence as possible, either on stage or during the recording process, and definitely during the songwriting process, to stay really present and focused on whatever wants to flow through me.”
When it comes to her music, Nereo says the themes of being, universality and one’s relationship with the world are as present in the songwriting process as they are in the music itself.
“It’s very personal, and at the same time it feels like the universe is coming through; it feels like something much bigger,” she says.
For Nereo, bringing people’s attention to their connection to the world is important to her, as well as being rewarding and fulfilling.
“I see our potential as humanity, and I’m really going to continue seeing that clearly and speaking it in my songs and other creations that help [bring] that into being,” she says.
For more information on the show, visit www.foxcabaret.com.
For more on Nereo, visit www.aylanereo.com.