WHILE the country is in a soccer frenzy, pop-jazz musician Auriol Hays is jetting off to fly the South African flag at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. She leaves tomorrow night.
The sultry sensation from Cape Town recently unleashed her debut album.
"As the festival gets closer and closer, the band and I are constantly preparing. We try to work every night," an ecstatic Hays says.
Her debut album, Behind Closed Doors, hit the shelves late last year
This is the first time Hays will be traveling out of the country and performing on a world stage. Since launching her career, she has been performing at small venues such as pubs and bars.
So how did she prepare for the world stage?
"I am treating it like just another gig," she says. "You prepare, prepare and prepare a lot and then pray harder and on the day I will just close my eyes and enjoy myself.
"This is going to be so interesting. The band and I are very excited. We are overwhelmed because this is our first big performance.
"We are used to performing at small venues and are taking it one step at a time."
She has been in Johannesburg for weeks now rehearsing with her band. She is based in the Mother City and the band in Jozi.
"We are preparing vigorously so that we can be tighter. We will be performing songs from the album and a few new songs as well as other favourite songs."
The two-week 44th Montreux Jazz Festival kicked off on Friday.
Hays will perform for an hour and half at the Parc Vemex.
Other South Africans billed to perform at the premier jazz festival, according to the programme, are Vusi Mahlasela, Stella Khumalo and Faith Kekana.
"It will be only one performance, but there are a lot of things to be done while I am there
"For instance, I am looking forward to seeing Ben Harper. He is wonderful," she says about the American singer, songwriter and Grammy winner.
Her next gig will be the opening performance of Joy of Jazz Festival, where her set will be accompanied by a full orchestra.
Other big stars to grace the Montreux festival are Quincy Jones, Missy Elliot and Norah Jones.