EXCLUSIVE: 20 Questions for Sophie B. Hawkins Part 2

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.

Part 1

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First single, “Betchya Got a Cure,” Cover

11. Tell us about Heart and Soul of a WomanHeart 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. 

1
2. 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 WomanI’m releasing a video for “Sinnerman” very soon.

love, Sophie B

THE END.

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EXCLUSIVE: 20 Questions for Sophie B. Hawkins Part 1

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Sophie B. Hawkins, may be most known for her pop hits, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down,” and, more recently, for courting some political controversy, but I’ve been a fan for quite some time.  Though I only own her debut release, Tongues and Tails, on tape and fourth and first independent release, Wilderness, on CD, I’ve wanted Whaler for years and just haven’t gotten off my duff to pick it up.  I love both those projects and have always been curious about her as an artist.  Here at THE REAL popolio, we’re going to keep it about the music and push the politics to the side.  (Though I do ask her about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because it’s no secret that Hawkins was a staunch supporter of her 2008 presidential campaign.)

Later this year, SBH will be releasing her first project of new music in seven years. Heart and Soul of a Woman is the proper follow-up to 2004’s Wilderness. 2006’s Live:  Bad Kitty Board Mix was a live release.  The first single of the set, “Betchya Got a Cure,” was released last Wednesday on iTunes.  I was allowed to preview five new tracks to choose one to stream with this EXCLUSIVE interview.  That song will accompany Part 2. 

Aside from the new music, she is also working on a musical. So, 2011 is shaping up to be quite a productive year for Ms. Hawkins.  More on that in Part 2.  Look for it on Monday!  For now, read Part 1 below.  

Click the first pic to go to her official site and second, at the end of Part 1 of the interview, to get to her Facebook Page.

Part 2

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1. I read in an interview many years ago that you identified as “omnisexual.” What does it mean? I like the “label” omnisexual because it’s creative, I thought of the term to define my feeling that my sexuality is an expression of my soul, not my gender, not my body parts.

2. Do you still identify as “omnisexual?”  Yes, omnisexual still works for me, in essence it’s saying that my lover doesn’t define my sexual universe, my creative soul does, and I follow that orbit.

3. I’ve had the privilege of getting to interview Meshell Ndegeocello.  I’ve always thought a collaboration between the two of you would be interesting.  Thoughts? 
I have been the hugest fan of hers since she began and I would love to write with her.

4. You worked on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and even reworked your first hit, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” into a political commercial, “Damn We Wish You Were President” in her support.  Are you happy with her assigned post?  I adore Hillary Clinton and Bill, too.  I wish Hillary would run again, and if she does, she will be so utterly prepared after this job.  I do feel she’s underutilized, but what do I know?  Maybe Hillary will save the Middle East!

5. How do you think she is doing so far?  I think she’s doing exceptionally well and I think her low visibility approach shows she’s all about her work, not fame. Everyone I know in government, Democrats and Republicans, respect her immensely.

6.  Let’s play a little game!  Please go through your discography and assign one word to each project in relation to your musical evolution at the time.

Tongues and TailsPrivate.

WhalerFriend.

TimbreArtist.

WildernessCourage.

Live:  Bad Kitty Board MixAcceptance.

Heart and Soul of a WomanLove.

7. It’s been 19 years since, arguably, your biggest hit, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover.”  How do you feel about that song today?  I owe “Damn” my existence, to this day.  I love the music, the lyrics, the struggle, the passion, the warmth, the depth.  If I ever forget how blessed I am, I only have to remember God gave me “Damn,” “As I,” and Dashiell [her 2-year-old son].

8. And 16 years since “As I Lay Me Down,” arguably, your second most known hit, which has always been my personal favorite.  I love its lullaby quality, but then you mix in those African sounds that make for quite a beautiful song.  What about this hit?  I agree that “As I” is more classic or eternal.  And you picked out the key to me, or my soul… [combined with and continued in answer to Number 9]

9. Talk about the African influences in your music-making. …When I was 14 years old and a druggie bad student I turned to my aunt Nino and said, “I want to play African Drums.”  She didn’t bat an eye (of course we were both stoned), she said she knew Babatunde Olatunji’s godson and would hook me up for lessons.  That first session changed my life course, it began my real life.  That was my soul saying, “go here,” and I listened, and voila, my life is still propelled by Africa, creatively.

10. Any new artist that has come out in, say the last three years, who you would want to work with?  I just wrote a song with a young woman from South Africa named Paige Bach, I love the song, and again, Africa is the soul of the song…and it’s a lullaby!  We are writing again on Tuesday [of that week that has since passed], and I hope the songs get out there.  Glen Ballard is producing the album.

To be continued on MONDAY…

Music Video: Sunshine Factory “Lower Away”

Jon Sandler pop quiz interview

February 25, 2011

Name:  Jon Sandler
Genre:  Pop/Fusion
Debut Release: The Fancy Band EP (super duper records)
Release Date:  May 11, 2010

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream?  Mainstream
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (OR Both)??? Maintain Artistic Integrity
3. Studio OR Stage? Stage
4. Spirituality OR Hedonism?  Spiritual Hedonism
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? %$*!

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my air.
7. I’m musically inspired by life.
8. If I could have made any music video it would have been “This Too Shall Pass” by  OK Go.
9. If I was a super hero I’d be Late Night Champ Man.
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to   Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll…so yeah, no change.

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  I wrote my first song when I was 9, before I really understood what I was doing.  I started singing and playing guitar and songs just came out of me.  I never thought about what I wanted to say, it was always raw emotion coming out in that form.  I soon came to realize that it was a gift to have that outlet for my feelings and thoughts to be released and I felt very lucky when I realized that people actually liked what I was creating.  I still make music because I love it, but it has evolved into a way to give back.  I love that people are relating to and feeling comfort from my songs.

12. I want my fans to:  Individually take from and interpret my songs in whatever way makes sense for them.  I want them to feel happiness, comfort, or any emotion they want to feel when listening and trust that my intentions are good.

13. If I could only share one thing about myself it would be:  I can do a shockingly good mouth trumpet.

14. Wild Card! With people being exposed and having access to so much music these days, it is more important than ever for music lovers to evaluate artists who are on their way up.   It is great that there are music blogs like THE REAL popolio that help sort through the masses and I am honored to be included!

15. I want my musical legacy to be:  I’d like to be remembered as a great songwriter, an amazing performer, someone who never settled for “normal,” and always pushed the envelope and, above all, a good person.

The video Jon Sandler wishes he would have made!

Listen to “Nowhere Bound” from Jon Sandler’s debut EP, The Fancy Band.  Click on the cover to go to his official site.

Music Video: Siriusmo “Einmal in der Woche schreien”

Show pic-olio: 1/25/11 Questlove@Reyn Theatre – EP

photos by Deanna Fierro of El Paso Showlist

Read THE REAL popolio review of the Questlove show here.

Show Review: 1/25/11 Questlove@Reyn Theatre – EP

written by Deanna Fierro with photos by El Paso Showlist

See THE REAL popolio Questlove show pic-olio here.

♫♪

♫♫

♫♫♪

all over the place

carries a tune

part of the chorus

featured soloist

conducting the choir

Concentrating.

On Tuesday, January 25, 2011, Questlove aka Ahmir Thompson graced the city of El Paso, TX for the second time with his DJ skills at the Reyn Theatre in the downtown area. 

Upon first arriving to the theater one would assume there was going to be a low turnout, but fans quickly filled the venue five minutes before Questlove hit the stage.  His fans were strong and represented well in El Paso.  During this performance he gave the audience three amazing hours of spinning and remixing with the help of his hype man, Nah Mean.  The beats were all smooth and steady.  Every transition and every mix got the crowd going and dancing non-stop.

From the start, Nah Mean, made it loud and clear to the crowd that he wanted to see bodies moving and couldn’t have expressed it better when he repeated twice, “This is a party, this is not a spectator sport.”   The audience totally let loose after that, singing along and some even breakdanced to the beats of Questlove.

The Late Night Social Club (LNSC) set up the event and entry price was set at twenty dollars per ticket.  Even at that price the performance and entertainment that Questlove gave that night was worth so much more.  I’m sure the fans and I would have been glad to pay more after what we were treated to that night.

Although most of the fans that night were familiar with Questlove as the cofounder and drummer of the Roots, he decided to show them that as a DJ he could shine just as much.  You can check out Questlove’s drumming skills on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where the Roots are currently the resident show band.  Whether he’s drumming or DJing, it doesn’t really matter how you get to hear it; nothing beats seeing the man perform in person. ♫♫

He's the Hype Man, I'm the DJ.

Check out this YouTube video of Questlove on the ones and two with his hype man, Nah Mean, doing their thing at the Reyn Theatre in El Paso.

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