A singer who once preferred to sing to cows rather than to a human audience and a nervous guitarist who played with his back to the crowd are not the usual ingredients of a rock and roll success story.
They are, however, two musicians who are now making quite a name for themselves both in, and outside, Spain.
Fronted by Danish singer and songwriter, Sandie Nielsen, Auralyn Waves have become popular on the busking scenes in London, Amsterdam and Berlin, and they are currently planning a road trip to Chicago.
Sandie came to Spain on a one-way ticket in 2008, arriving at Malaga airport with a suitcase and no idea of where she was going to live. She was no stranger to the country, having visited many times during family summer holidays.
Sandie settled in Malaga in order to fulfil her dream of making a living from her music.
She soon found her way onto the music scene in Malaga and after studying music in the city in 2010, she began gigging at live music venues along the coast.
However, Sandie suffered from severe stage fright in the early days and much of this was instigated by her obsessive self-criticism.
“I felt totally naked, because my music lets people into my soul and I didn’t think my songs were good enough. Thankfully my friends gave me confidence and I finally overcame my inhibitions,” the 30-year-old singer explains.
Her life, and her musical career, would take a drastic turn in 2013, when, during a jam session in Fuengirola, she met Darío, a handsome Spanish musician who would sweep her off her feet.
The couple have now been together for almost four years and their individual musical cultures have melded perfectly to create Auralyn Waves’ incredibly distinctive sound.
Darío Merino is a 29-year-old guitarist from Fuengirola who comes from a flamenco background, although he does not share his family’s love of the orthodox side of the art.
His father brought him a Spanish guitar when he was a child and he became a competent acoustic guitarist, but Darío soon went on to discover the electric guitar.
Auralyn Waves began performing at the regular music venues, like Pogs in Fuengirola and La Sala in Puerto Banús. They have also become popular at wedding celebrations along the coast, although they are required to play cover versions of popular hit songs at this type of booking, but they obviously prefer to play their own compositions.
They recently made their self-titled debut CD, and had plans to promote the disc with a series of gigs along the coast, but their plans were derailed after tragedy struck.
Sandie’s life was shattered following the death of her father during the recording of the CD, but she used her music to overcome her grief.
“My father’s death really upset me and I needed to get away for a while, so we decided to busk our way around Europe for a month,” Sandie says emotionally.
They headed first to London, and while busking on London Bridge, the couple had a lucky break.
“We were approached by a man in a suit who asked if he could video us playing. He contacted us later and offered us two gigs in a venue just off Trafalgar Square. We earned 100 euros a night, it was amazing,” Darío explains excitedly.
Staying with friends, or booking into cheap hostels, the couple visited Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, and it was a trip that helped ease Sandie’s grief.
It was also a trip that made the couple realise that their music was appreciated by people other than friends in Fuengirola.
Shortly after returning from their busking tour, the duo were invited to Ecuador, where they played a series of gigs that had been organised by Darío’s cousin.
They are currently planning a road trip to Chicago in the early part of next year, where they will play several gigs during the dark hours, and busk during the day.
Prior to this, they will be heading to Denmark to honour a series of private wedding bookings. The duo also have several gigs lined up along the coast during the summer and they will appear at La Sala in Puerto Banús on alternate Saturdays throughout May.
The future looks good and the band are looking forward to an exciting musical career, which is quite an achievement for a singer who once tested her songs out on the cows at the bottom of her garden.