A.U.R.A is the solo project of New Zealand born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Albert Mikołaj. “An aura is the subtle body that surrounds something, which conceptually is how I feel about my music,” Mikołaj explains. At age 19, Mikolaj travelled to Argentina in a quest to delve into his spirituality, and it was there that the foundation of
A.U.R.A is the solo project of New Zealand born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Albert Mikołaj. “An aura is the subtle body that surrounds something, which conceptually is how I feel about my music,” Mikołaj explains. At age 19, Mikolaj travelled to Argentina in a quest to delve into his spirituality, and it was there that the foundation of A.U.R.A was formed.
Living in Buenos Aires in a communal experiment called El Todo Rojo (meaning The Red Awning) with 9 other artists, musicians and dancers, Mikołaj spent his days writing, making music and playing intimate venues. “We were a family of misfit artists. I was not a tourist, I was a brother,” Albert describes. Playing with local artists such as Ezequiel Borra and Lola Membrillo (Perota Chingo), Mikołaj’s trajectory and identity as an artist profoundly expanded. “The love and affinity I experienced gave me the confidence to transcend New Zealand sound and to become a world artist.”
The ideas that were born in Buenos Aires feature thematically throughout Mikołaj’s future work, Anima Rising (2013), Conference of the Birds (2015), and Tender Rage (2016). Albert’s once stripped back acoustic guitar and vocals have organically evolved into grandiose sonic textures while maintaining the pastoral folk roots of his mindful songwriting. A.U.R.A’s upcoming work Secret Intelligent Light, produced by Ben Lemi of French for Rabbits, is due for release via his Los Angeles based record label Cosmic Dreamer in 2018.
The album draws inspiration from David Lynch’s philosophy, which explores and engages the use of dreams as a means for catching ideas. Secret Intelligent Light explores themes of ethereal light, primal birth and androgyny, and is, according to Mikołaj,“a humble attempt to mine at the truth.”
His reflections of love for the works of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Tracey Chapman provide the backbone of emotional depth and vulnerability to a record whose spirit echoes that of Jeff Buckley and Bon Iver. With Secret Intelligent Light, A.U.R.A has carefully crafted a celestial landscape that is knocking at the door of shared spirituality in an effort to continue traversing his personal understanding of existence.
Perhaps Albert’s philosophy can be summed up from an excerpt from the song The Winged Heart (Tender Rage, 2016):
Given all the dead prosperity and all the things we can’t address, I found the decision to give song in Grandmother’s chest, Wings.