Here’s Part 2 of my EXCLUSIVE 20Q interview with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Sophie B. Hawkins. In addition to discussing her forthcoming release, Heart and Soul of a Woman, we also talk about the musical she’s been working on with some noteworthy folks. Read more to find out who they are.
I got to preview five tracks from the new project to pick one to stream with this interview. I chose “Georgia.” Listen now.
Click on the pic to go to her official site.
11. Tell us about Heart and Soul of a Woman. Heart and Soul of a Woman is so emotional and un-self-conscious. The vocals are like the word Speakeasy. I like the diversity of style and musicality, and yet, it’s not striving to be interesting or different. The only real difference in the progression of my song cycles is the fear of being seen has lessened and is, perhaps, gone altogether.
12. What do you want fans to take away from it? In a sense, I’m saying to the listener, “Just come in already.” The masking is over and it’s important in the first album to have fear and masks because people see through them and love you for it. Then it becomes a game, with yourself. So, this cycle of songs is without artifice of any kind. For better or worse. There is always a new level to get to.
13. Your press materials state, and I quote, “Heart and Soul of a Woman is in many ways the culmination of Sophie B. Hawkins’ life-long apprenticeship in creative transcendence.” Define and talk about this “life-long apprenticeship” and “creative transcendence.” Well, I spoke to the writer of that bio or review right after the album was mastered, so the word culmination seemed fitting. I’m on to the next now and the transcendence is going beyond my identity and finding the truth, which is only relevant to the creative process, not the outcome.
14. If that was “the culmination,” where do you go from there? I am being forced to drop any and every old crutch and having to put myself out there as a new artist, basically, which seems to happen every time I’m wanting to get my work out there. The challenge is about existing at all now, as an artist and, perhaps, for many of us, as humans. The positive aspect of my career having always been such an uphill battle is that I’m fit! I’m ready for anything.
15. I’d like to offer my condolences regarding your father’s recent death. You state that your father’s death and working through that through this project allowed you to finally deal with your parents’ alcoholism. What, if anything, do you want your fans to know regarding your father’s death and growing up with and finally coming to terms with your parents’ addictions? Thank you for acknowledging my father’s death. I have a feeling my fans get a lot from my songs in terms of the self-healing and self-transformation of surviving and creating a self out of an alcoholic-sexually-abusive-family-system. Many people get more than I know I give, and in that sense, they give me more than I think I deserve. So, I hope in getting this music out that there is another level of shared strength-building, of laughing and crying, and the sense that no one is really alone, when seeking the truth.
16. So, at the same time that you’ve been working on your latest release, you’ve been working on a musical, a first for you (Congrats!), with your longtime manager and acclaimed filmmaker, Gigi Gaston, Tony and Emmy Award Winner and, more recently, of Glee fame, Kristin Chenoweth, and Tony Award Winner and Broadway Legend, Thomas Meehan. Tell me about this amazing project. I am passionately in love with this Broadway musical. The 29-hour reading was like Olympic training and it was also the intensity I long for, the challenge I live for. The story is early American, takes place in Pennsylvania, it’s a cross between Pygmalion and Annie Get Your Gun, and yet, it’s an original.
17. Tell us more. This musical deserves two questions. It’s both classic and modern. It’s not trying to be edgy and psychodrama-ish, there is simplicity and a heartfelt quality that may be out of fashion right this minute, although I believe it can be a classic. It has funny moments, too. I guess it’s a romantic comedy with balls. We are climbing Mount Everest, as Thomas Meehan said this December in New York, together.
18. Okay, so the Chenoweth Connection begs the Glee question. If asked, would you let creator, Ryan Murphy, use your music? Maybe “DIWIWYL” or “AILMD.” Would you do a cameo on the show? Do you even like the show? I love Glee and want them to use my songs, dammit! I’d love to be on the show and maybe you can say something to someone so they’ll think of it.
Editor’s Note 1: Not sure if Sophie is directing this to me. I don’t have that kind of power and if I did, I’d get myself on the show. Seriously though, maybe it’s a call out to her fans. Betty White, anyone? And Sophie – you’re the one working with the Chenoweth. You have a direct connection to Glee and Ryan Murphy, himself! Just sayin’.
19. Back to Heart and Soul of a Woman. How’s it different than what’s come before and how is it a fine-tuning of it? Will you listen to the new album and tell me what you think? Isn’t that more important than what I think?
Editor’s Note 2: I’d love to listen to the new album and tell you what I think. Again, I think this is more globally addressed to what you SBH fans out there will think than to me. I agree that it is more important what fans think. That said, feel free to comment on Sophie’s new song, “Georgia.”
20. Will there be videos for Heart and Soul of a Woman? I’m releasing a video for “Sinnerman” very soon.
love, Sophie B