Singer-songwriter Raquel Aurilia’s song “He Said, She Said” is nominated for a 2017 Hollywood Music in Media Award.
When a friend told her about the nomination, Aurilia admits that she wasn't very familiar with the accolade, which was created to recognize music used in movies, television, commercials, and video games, as well as the people behind the scenes composing it.
Aurilia, who has opened for musicians B.B. King, Pat Benatar, and Eddie Money, says she's excited to be honored with such an amazing group of people.
"It’s really cool to be in such good company," she says.
The Scottsdale native co-wrote "He Said, She Said," a reggae-tinged track, with Billy Trudel and producer Billy Smiley. Her Music in Media nomination is in the "Best Singer-Songwriter" category. Aurilia’s past work has been heard on the MTV Network reality shows The Hills, The City, and Taking the Stage.
The song was inspired by some unfavorable comments that were written about Aurilia. To confront the writer would have caused even more drama, so she put her feelings into her music instead.
“Isn’t it funny how people can hide behind the power of a pen or text and say what they want?” Aurilia asks. “I told Billy [Trudel] that I’m going to write about how the room gets quiet when I walk in and I’m not going to be a part of your gossip. Everybody can be a victim of that.”
The song is featured on Aurilia’s third album, Long Way Home. Produced by Smiley and recorded in Nashville, the record is a collection of adult contemporary pop tunes along with several covers, including Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." The common denominator is Aurilia’s inviting vocals that draw the listener into the stories she's telling.
“Little Things I Love” stands out emotionally. Written for her father, Aurilia revisits the advice he passed on during her formative years in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Her mom played piano and sang while her father encouraged Aurilia’s numerous athletic pursuits.
“My dad wasn’t an influence musically, but he’s always been supportive of anything and everything I have ever done,” she recalls. “He was always there front and center. It’s been really fun. My mom is still waiting for her song.”
Aurelia finds the experience of songwriting therapeutic. Aurilia has been writing songs for a decade, leaning on the good advice she received from John Waite, the English singer best known for the '80s hit “Missing You.”
Aurilia estimates that she's opened for Waite nearly 30 times, and says she learns something from him every time they work together. The two will reunite on January 19, 2018, at BLK Live in Scottsdale.
“He’s a perfectionist in a great way,” she says. “I respect that about him. He still cares how he sounds. He wants feedback about it. It’s nice to be able to have his ear for a minute. I’ve learned so much about how he articulates himself to the audience. I’ve learned a lot watching his work ethic in general. He appreciates his fans.”
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Aurilia says she relies on a close group of trusted friends who have helped her carve her own career path. In addition to raising two Junior PGA golfer sons Chaz and Gavin, Aurilia also lists model, entrepreneur, and travel expert on her resume. There have been struggles along the way, but the multi-hyphenate says that staying busy has allowed her to create more opportunities in a cutthroat industry.
“You’re never too good to play anywhere,” she says, “Never put your nose up to anything. It’s more fun to play for a group of people who are engaged in what you are doing than a huge stadium that is scattered.”
This means that Aurilia will definitely be on the red carpet on Thursday, November 16, soaking in the experience of the HMMA Awards Ceremony in Hollywood.
“I’m excited to just go be a part of it and see how it works up close and personal,” she says.