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Sophie B. Hawkins

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Sophie B. Hawkins
Hawkins in 2006
Hawkins in 2006
Background information
Birth nameSophie Ballantine Hawkins
Born (1964-11-01) November 1, 1964 (age 59)
New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresRock, pop, pop rock
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, drums
Years active1990–present

Sophie Ballantine Hawkins (born November 1, 1964)[1] is an American singer-songwriter, musician and painter. Born in New York City, she attended the Manhattan School of Music for a year as a percussionist before leaving to pursue a music career.[2] She achieved critical and commercial success with her first two albums, producing a string of single hits including "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover", "Right Beside You", and "As I Lay Me Down". A dispute with her record label Sony Music over her third album, Timbre, led her to establish her own independent label, Trumpet Swan Productions, which has published her subsequent recordings.

Hawkins is a long-time supporter of animal rights and environmental causes. She is also a social and political activist, supporting events promoting women in music and LGBT rights.


Hawkins's debut album, Tongues and Tails, was released in 1992.[3] It achieved both worldwide commercial success and critical acclaim, earning her a Grammy Award 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 US and was also a Top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at #14.[3] Hawkins was asked to perform Bob Dylan's "I Want You", which she had covered on Tongues and Tails, for the 1992 Madison Square Garden concert honoring Dylan's 30th anniversary as a musician;[4] this was later released as The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, but her performance was omitted.

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",[3] and was certified gold. Three singles from the album made the UK Top 40, including "Right Beside You", which peaked at #13. The same year, Hawkins posed nude for Interview.[5] As she explained to Ed Rampell in an interview for Q magazine, she met the photographer, Bruce Weber, and was asked if she would do a photoshoot with him. While she had provided her own clothes, Weber deliberately had her wear an unflattering dress as part of his plan to convince Hawkins to disrobe during the shoot.[6]

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 by Hawkins was included throughout the film.

Also in 1998, Hawkins's record company, 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.[7] Unwilling to compromise her artistic integrity, Hawkins refused to accommodate them.[2] After a lengthy battle between Hawkins and the company, the album, Timbre, was eventually released in 1999,[3] though Sony declined to promote it.[citation needed] 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.[8] Her first independently recorded and released album, Wilderness, was released in 2004.

In 2012, Hawkins starred as Janis Joplin in the play, Room 105,[9] which was written and directed by her longtime girlfriend and manager, Gigi Gaston.[10] After another long hiatus, she released her fifth album of all-new material in 2012, titled The Crossing.

On April 4, 2013, Hawkins appeared as herself on the TV series Community in the episode "Herstory of Dance", 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 Britta confused her with Susan B. Anthony in an attempt to compete with a Sadie Hawkins Dance.[11]

In 2019, Hawkins completed a sold-out tour around the U.S.;[12] the same year she also appeared on the German TV show Night Grooves,[13] singing several songs, discussing her past, and showing off her drumming talent.

Personal life[edit]

Hawkins has two children, Dashiell (b. 2008) and Esther Ballantine (b. 2015).[14] Esther had been conceived 20 years earlier and frozen as an embryo.[15]

In an interview with Rock Cellar Magazine in 2012, Hawkins said that she identified as omnisexual.[16] 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."[6]

In 2012, Hawkins and Gigi Gaston shared a house in Venice, CA.[17]


In August 2007, Hawkins headlined the first Los Angeles Women's Music Festival in support of its dual agenda of supporting animal rescue groups and promoting and supporting female musicians. Hawkins is a long-time supporter of animal rights.[18]

In February 2008, Hawkins re-recorded her hit "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" as "Damn, We Wish You Were President" in support of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Hawkins also wrote in her blog, "Hillary Clinton's achievements come from her heart. She has initiated so much positive change for families, children, victims of crime and the environment in her struggle for the forward movement of America and the working people of this nation."[19]

In May 2010, Hawkins began supporting Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect more than 100,000 miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. She donated 100% of the proceeds of her single "The Land, the Sea, and the Sky" to the organization.

In February 2011, Hawkins performed at the Big Gay Party event staged by GOProud, an organization of gay conservatives, as part of the year's Conservative Political Action Conference festivities. In an after-show interview in the reason.tv documentary "Liberal in Bed, Conservative in the Head: Sophie B. Hawkins", Hawkins gave her views on issues such as gun ownership, the free market, limited government and identity politics.[20]

In 2017, Hawkins lent her voice in support of LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project's 20th Anniversary celebration video campaign.[21]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Work Category Result Ref.
1993 Grammy Awards Herself Best New Artist Nominated [22]
Q Awards Best New Act Nominated [23]
1995 RSH Gold Awards Kraftrille des Jahres Won [24]
Cash Box Year-End Awards "As I Lay Me Down" Top Pop Single Nominated [25]
1996 ASCAP Pop Music Awards Most Performed Song Won [26]
APRA Music Awards Most Performed Foreign Work Nominated [27]




  1. ^ Sieczkowski, Cavan (February 9, 2015). "Singer Sophie B. Hawkins, 50, Is Pregnant With Second Child". The Huffington Post.
  2. ^ a b "About Sophie B. Hawkins". Sophiebhawkins.com. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 187/8. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  4. ^ Rubio, Dave Gil de (May 9, 2019). "Sophie B. Hawkins: An Artist For All Seasons". Port Washington News. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  5. ^ Interview, February 1994, volume 24 n2, p. 122
  6. ^ a b Sutcliffe, Phil (January 1995). "Sophie B Hawkins interview." Q Magazine, issue 100.
  7. ^ "Medusa and Childe". The Village Voice. July 20, 1999. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  8. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (November 19, 2002). "Review: Sophie B. Hawkins, Timbre". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  9. ^ "Sell Out Hit – Room 105 is Extended through December 30th!". Sophiebhawkins.com. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  10. ^ "Sophie B. Hawkins channels Janis Joplin's spirit in 'Room 105'". Los Angeles Times. October 7, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  11. ^ "Community Recap: The Ultimate Britta". Vulture. April 5, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  12. ^ "About Sophie B. Hawkins - Sophie B. Hawkins". Sophiebhawkins.com. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  13. ^ "Night Grooves - with Sophie B. Hawkins and Ivy Quainoo". Deutsche Welle (dw.com). March 30, 2019. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  14. ^ "Sophie B. Hawkins Welcomes Daughter Esther Ballantine". people.com. July 10, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  15. ^ "Baby Girl on the Way for Sophie B. Hawkins - at 50!". people.com. February 26, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  16. ^ Rampell, Ed. (December 2012). "Inside Janis Joplin's 'Room 105' – Interview with Singer Sophie B. Hawkins". Rock Cellar Magazine. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  17. ^ "Sophie B. Hawkins and Gigi Gaston Selling Their Venice Spanish". May 9, 2012.
  18. ^ "Los Angeles Women's Music Festival official website". Lawmf.com. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  19. ^ "Blog entry of 16 02 2008 from her official site". Sophiebhawkins.com. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
  20. ^ "Liberal in Bed, Conservative in the Head: Sophie B. Hawkins" (video). Reason.tv. YouTube.
  21. ^ Sophie B. Hawkins Supports LGBTQ Youth from Trevor Project, YouTube, Retrieved November 12, 2019
  22. ^ "Sophie B. Hawkins". Grammy.com. November 23, 2020.
  23. ^ "Q : UK Publications | Tori Amos Discography & Collectibles". Torismosdiscography.info.
  24. ^ "Startseite". Archived from the original on June 27, 2015.
  25. ^ https://www.worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Music/Cash-Box/90s/1995/CB-1995-12-30.pdf#page=10
  26. ^ "Sophie B. Hawkins". Publictheater.org. Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  27. ^ "APRA|AMCOS : Nominations - 1996". Apra-amcos.com.au. Archived from the original on March 8, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2022.

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