Sophie B Hawkins is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and painter. Her highest-charting singles are “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”, “Right Beside You”, and “As I Lay Me Down”.
Hawkins’s debut album, Tongues and Tails, was released in 1992. It achieved both worldwide commercial success and critical acclaim, earning her a Grammy 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 USA and was also a Top 20 hit in the UK. Hawkins was asked to perform Bob Dylan’s “I Want You,” which she covered on Tongues and Tails, for the 1992 Madison Square Garden concert honoring Dylan’s 30th anniversary as a musician; this was later released as The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration.
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,” and was certified gold. Three singles from the album made the UK Top 40, including “Right Beside You,” which peaked at #13; it also reached number 2 on the Dutch Top 40 singles chart.
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 and riffs by Hawkins were included throughout the film.
Also in 1998, Hawkins’s record company at the time, 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. Hawkins refused to accommodate them, citing artistic integrity as her main reason. After a lengthy battle between Hawkins and the company, the album, Timbre, was eventually released in 1999, though Sony declined to promote it. 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. Her first independently recorded and released album, Wilderness, was released in 2004.
In 2012, Hawkins starred as Janis Joplin in the play, Room 105, which was written and directed by her longtime girlfriend and manager, Gigi Gaston. After another long hiatus she released her fifth album of all new material in 2012, titled The Crossing.