Kaz Hawkins

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Kaz Hawkins
Birth nameKaren McIntyre
Born1973 (age 45–46)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
GenresBlues, soul, roots
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, radio presenter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano
Websitekazhawkins.com Edit this at Wikidata

Kaz Hawkins (born Karen McIntyre, 1973)[1][2] is a blues and soul singer-songwriter, radio presenter, public speaker and mental health activist born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and now living in France.

Early life[edit]

Hawkins was born and grew up in Belfast. She enjoyed singing at church, and was influenced by her grandmother singing at home.[1] In her youth, she auditioned for the television show Opportunity Knocks where the musical director told her grandmother to let her listen to Etta James.[2] She suffered abuse by a relative aged 4–12 which she kept a secret from the rest of her family until she revealed the extent of it following an attempted suicide decades later.[1] To cope with the distress, she self-harmed. After her recovery she covered the cuts with tattoos. She attempted sitting in a bath full of bleach in an attempt to "cleanse" herself. She moved to Spain and began DJing and singing in clubs, but became addicted to cocaine and suffered domestic violence from an abusive relationship, which ended after the police were called when she returned home. Following this, she regained custody of her children and began to form the songs from the poems she had been writing in her journals. She picked up an acoustic guitar in 2011 and now uses in her shows to aid mental health awareness.[2]


Hawkins sang in cover bands for 20 years in order to earn an income and support her family, before she began creating original material.[3] She began songwriting as a cathartic exercise after surviving alcoholism and depression.[4] She was approached to appear on Britain's Got Talent but pulled out of the show during the audition process.[2]

She has released three studio albums, two EPs (no longer available), one live album (digital only) and a compilation album exclusively on vinyl.

In 2017, she began presenting a blues show on BBC Radio Ulster, "Kaz Hawkins Got The Blues".[5] produced by Ralph McLean. She is also Ambassador & honorary member of The UK Blues Federation. She is also an avid supporter of mental health awareness[2] and was an ambassador from 2017-2019 for Aware NI,[6] where she wrote & donated a song called "Don't Slip Away" to help with Youth Suicide in Northern Ireland.[7]

She has been called the "one-woman mental health musician".[4]


Hawkins won the 2018 for Northern Ireland Blues Act of the Year at the UK Blues Awards and she was a Nominee in 4 Categories – Female Vocalist/Songwriter/Personality and Northern Ireland Blues Act of the Year. She was the most played artist of 2017 IBBA Winner at the European Blues Challenge 2017.[8][9] She was a Semi-Finalist in the International Blues Challenge, Memphis, 2017[10][11]

Hawkins won the Album Of The Year award in the 2016 IBBA CHARTS (International Blues Broadcasters Association)[12] Winner – 3rd UK Blues Challenge 2016 (representing UK in Memphis & Denmark)[13]

She was Runner Up in the British Blues Awards for Female Vocalist 2016,[14] winner at the Pure M Awards for Best Video 2016 for "This Is Me".[15] In 2015, she received the Barry Middleton Memorial Award for Emerging Artist at the British Blues Awards.[16] The same she won all Ireland "Best Female at the Pure M Awards in a triple win of awards [17] She has also been a nominee in the NI Music Prize in 2014 and 2015.


Studio albums[edit]

  • Get Ready (2014) [18]
  • Feelin' Good (2017) Kaz Hawkins Band [19]
  • Feelin' Good (2017) [20](USA Version)
  • Don't You Know (2017)[21]

Live albums[edit]

  • Live at The Park Avenue Feat. Sam York (2018)[22]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Collection on Vinyl (2018)


  • "Better Days" (2013)[23]

Appears on[edit]

  • "Shake" (2014) Track 4 on Various – The Best Of 2014[24] (Renamed Louder Sound)
  • "Let in Be" (2015) Track 6 on Simon Murphy - Let it Be Spotify
  • "Won't You Save My Soul" (2019) Single - Eugene De Rastignac Spotify


  1. ^ a b c "She was abused as a child, almost killed by an ex-partner and attempted suicide ... now Belfast singer Kaz reveals how she turned her life around". Belfast Telegraph. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Little, Ivan (4 March 2015). "Kaz Hawkins: When I get up on stage, I'm in this safe place where no one can touch me". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Arts Q&A: Kaz Hawkins on Van Morrison, Gladys Knight and her new radio show". Irish News. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Kaz Hawkins sings the blues and exorcises her demons in new show My Life And I". Irish News. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Kaz Hawkins Got The Blues". BBC Ulster.
  6. ^ "Aware Ambassadors". Aware NI. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Kaz Hawkins at the European Blues Challenge, Denmark – Blues Matters Magazine". Blues Matters Magazine. 8 April 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home – Bluesdoodles". Bluesdoodles. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  10. ^ "International Blues Challenge - Blues Foundation". Blues.org. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Kaz Hawkins Rising to The Challenge, Memphis and More – Bluesdoodles". Bluesdoodles. 28 February 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  12. ^ "UK Independent Blues Broadcasters Association". Facebook.com. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  13. ^ "2016 UK Blues Challenge The Winner IS….. – Bluesdoodles". Bluesdoodles. 15 November 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Winners 2016 – British Blues Awards". Britishbluesawards.com. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  15. ^ "2018 Pure M Awards Nominees (Ireland) - PureMzine". Puremzine.com. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Winners and Runners Up the British Blues Awards 2015". British Blues Awards. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  17. ^ "EastSide Arts celebrate triple award winner Kaz Hawkins! | EastSide Arts". Eastsidearts.net. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Kaz Hawkins – Get Ready!". Discogs. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Kaz Hawkins Band – Feelin' Good". Discogs. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Kaz Hawkins – Feelin' Good". Discogs. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Kaz Hawkins". Discogs. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Kaz Hawkins Announces New Live Album". Nova-nn.com. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Better Days – Kaz Hawkins Song – BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Various – The Best Of 2014". Discogs. Retrieved 9 October 2018.

External links[edit]