Sophie B. Hawkins

Sophie Ballantine Hawkins (born November 1, 1964) (Manhattan, New York, USA) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and painter. Her highest-charting singles are “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”, “Right Beside You”, and “As I Lay Me Down”.

Hawkins’s debut album, Tongues and Tails, was released in 1992. It achieved both worldwide commercial success and critical acclaim, earning her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1993. The single “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the USA and was also a Top 20 hit in the UK. Hawkins was asked to perform Bob Dylan’s “I Want You,” which she covered on Tongues and Tails, for the 1992 Madison Square Garden concert honoring Dylan’s 30th anniversary as a musician; this was later released as The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration.

Whaler, her second album, was released in 1994. Produced by Stephen Lipson, it also contained a US top 10 hit, “As I Lay Me Down,” and was certified gold. Three singles from the album made the UK Top 40, including “Right Beside You,” which peaked at #13; it also reached number 2 on the Dutch Top 40 singles chart.

A 1998 documentary by Gigi Gaston, titled The Cream Will Rise, followed Hawkins during one of her tours and captured her struggle to deal with past troubles with her family, including her mother and brother. Music and riffs by Hawkins were included throughout the film.

Also in 1998, Hawkins’s record company at the time, Sony Music, delayed the release of her third album. Its executives were unhappy with the finished product and wanted Hawkins to rework some of the material. In particular, they insisted that Hawkins remove a banjo track from one of the songs. Hawkins refused to accommodate them, citing artistic integrity as her main reason. After a lengthy battle between Hawkins and the company, the album, Timbre, was eventually released in 1999, though Sony declined to promote it. Hawkins subsequently left the label and founded her own label, Trumpet Swan Productions. In 2001, Timbre was re-released on Hawkins’s label, now as a two-disc set that contained new songs, demos, remixes, and videos. Her first independently recorded and released album, Wilderness, was released in 2004.

In 2012, Hawkins starred as Janis Joplin in the play, Room 105, which was written and directed by her longtime girlfriend and manager, Gigi Gaston. After another long hiatus she released her fifth album of all new material in 2012, titled The Crossing.

On April 4, 2013, Sophie appeared on the TV series Community as herself, performing “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down” during the community college’s “Sophie B. Hawkins Dance,” so named because one of the characters confused the singer with Susan B. Anthony and Sadie Hawkins.

Hawkins has two children, Dashiell (b. 2008) and Esther Ballantine (b. 2015). Her daughter was conceived using an embryo she had frozen 20 years earlier.

In an interview with Rock Cellar Magazine in 2012, Hawkins said that she identified as omnisexual. Although there were rumors she had dated Martina Navratilova and Jodie Foster, she denied those, saying, “I’ve never met any of the women I’m supposed to have had affairs with.”

In 1994, Hawkins posed nude for Interview magazine. As she explained to Ed Rampell when he interviewed her for Q magazine, she met the photographer, Bruce Weber, and was asked if she could do a photo shoot with him. She had her own clothes when she showed up to the photo session, but he had a dress he wanted her to try on. She did not think it looked very good on her. It got to the point where she was only wearing a coat, and Weber suggested she remove that too. By this stage, she was not even thinking about how she looked as she felt quite comfortable with him. Weber later told her that giving her the unflattering dress was part of his plan to get her naked.


Follow this blog

Get a weekly email of all new posts.