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.
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 Tails – Private.
Whaler – Friend.
Timbre – Artist.
Wilderness – Courage.
Live: Bad Kitty Board Mix – Acceptance.
Heart and Soul of a Woman – Love.
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…