Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
“Just because I sing about women doesn't mean I'm gay. Just because I sing about guys doesn't mean I'm straight.” Sophie B. Hawkins
Starting out as a percussionist with Bryan Ferry, American singer and songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins rose to prominence with her successful debut album “Tongues and Tails” (1992), which led to a nomination at the 1993 Grammy Awards in the category of Best New Artist. The album also spawned the hit single “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” (#5 US Hot 100). Hawkins scored her next major hit on the Billboard Hit 100 three years later with “As I Lay Me Down,” which peaked at No. 6 on the chart. The song, taken from the 1994 album “Whaler,” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 charts and made the Top 40 in the U.K. From the late 1990s to early 2000s, Hawkins produced a string of Top 40 hits on the Billboard Adult Contemporary, including “Lose Your Way” and “Walking In My Blue Jeans” (from the album “Timbre,” 1999, re-released 2001), “Beautiful Girl” and “Walking On Thin Ice” (from “Wilderness”). Hawkins made her feature film acting debut in “Beyond City Limits” (2001). She also starred in the documentary film “The Cream Will Rise” (1998). Both projects were directed by her longtime partner and manager Gigi Gaston.
Hawkins is an animal rights supporter and a vegan. She also supports Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that patrols and protects over 100,000 miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. She is the mother of one.
Childhood and Family:
Sophie Ballantine Hawkins was born on November 1, 1967, in Manhattan, New York. She has two siblings, Phoebe and Nicky. She began taking music lessons as a child and can play the piano, guitar, banjo, drums, horns and percussion instruments.
On November 18, 2008, Sophie gave birth to a son, Dashiell Gaston Hawkins. She named him, in part, in honor of Gigi Gaston.
As I Lay Me Down
Sophie B. Hawkins began working professionally in the early 1980s when she played percussion for English artist Bryan Ferry. She, however, did not launch a career as a recording artist until her debut release “Tongues and Tails.” Released on Columbia Records on April 21, 1992, the adult contemporary album was successful worldwide and rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers, No. 51 on the Billboard 200 and went gold. The album produced the hit single “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” (1992), which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also charted in Norway (#3), Australia (#7), Switzerland (#11), Sweden (#12), The U.K. (#14) and Germany (#15). The album yielded two more singles with “California Here I Come” and a cover of Bob Dylan's song “I Want You,” which went to No. 53 and No. 49 on the U.K. Singles chart, respectively. “Tongues and Tails” brought her a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist in 1993. Thanks to the success of the album, she was invited to perform the song “I Want You” during a concert held on October 16, 1992, in Madison Square Garden honoring Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary as a musician.
The second studio album, “Whaler,” followed on October 18, 1994. Produced by Stephen Lipson, it peaked at No. 65 on the Billboard 200 and was later certified gold by RIAA. The album enjoyed higher charting success internationally when it peaked at No. 13 in New Zealand, No. 31 in Australia and No. 46 in the U.K. The first single, “Right Beside You,” which she wrote with Chertoff and Lerman, peaked at No. 56 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also rose to No. 13 on the U.K. Singles chart and No. 2 on the Dutch Top 40. The follow up single, “Don't Don't Tell Me No,” peaked at No. 36 on the U.K. Singles chart.
Hawkins scored her next U.S. hit with “As I Lay Me Down,” a ballad in memory of her father. Released on February 7, 1995, and produced by Organized Noize, the single went to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a chart topper on Billboard's Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40. It achieved platinum certification in the U.S. The song also rose to No. 7 on the Australian ARIA Single Charts and No. 24 on the U.K. Singles chart. “As I Lay Down” appeared in the popular TV shows “Dawson's Creek” and “Party of Five” and the film “Now and Then” (1995, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter and starred Christina Ricci, Rosie O'Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore, Ashleigh Aston Moore and Rita Wilson).
Following “Did We Not Choose Each Other” (1995), which failed to chart, Hawkins released “Only Love (The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty),” which became the fifth and last single from “Whaler.” The song peaked at No. 49 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 19 on the Adult Top 40 and No. 22 on the Adult Contemporary and the Top 40 Mainstream charts.
In 1998, Hawkins starred in the documentary “The Cream Will Rise,” which chronicled her difficult early years that included problems with her mother and brother. The film, which was directed by Hawkins' partner and manager Gigi Gaston, combined her performance footage with intimate moments of disclosure.
Hawkins' third studio album, “Timbre,” was released on July 20, 1999. The single “Lose Your Way” charted at No. 26 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary, but failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100. Originally planned to be released in 1998, the album was postponed because of her record company at the time, Sony Music, was unsatisfied with the completed product. She was ordered to rework some of the material but declined to do so. This resulted in an extended conflict between them. Hawkins eventually left the label and founded her own record company, Trumpet Swan Productions. She re-released “Timbre” in 2001 under the Trumpet Swan banner. The bonus track “Walking In My Blue Jeans” rose to No. 23 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
In 2001, Hawkins landed a supporting role in “Beyond the City Limits,” a movie directed by Gigi Gaston. Portraying Lucy Spatt in the film, she costarred with Jennifer Esposito, Alyson Hannigan, Steve Harris and Nastassja Kinski, among other actors.
On October 28, 2002, Hawkins released a greatest hits compilation album titled “The Best of Sophie B. Hawkins” for the European market. The American version of the album was released on June 10, 2003. Both albums were produced by Stephen Lipson. The compilation album “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” was launched on October 6, 2003, and was compiled of tracks from her first two albums, “Tongues and Tails” and “Whaler.”
Returning with new material, Hawkins released the album “Wilderness” on April 20, 2004, on her own label. She co-produced the album with The Berman Brothers and Sylvia Massy. “Wilderness” generated two Top 40 hit singles on the Billboard Adult Contemporary with “Beautiful Girl” (#26) and “Walking On Thin Ice” (#37). A live album called “Live: Bad Kitty Board Mix” followed on August 22, 2006.
In August 2007, Hawkins performed at the first Los Angeles Women's Music Festival as a headliner. The festival was held to support animal rescue groups and promote and support female musicians. The next year, in February, she rerecorded her hit “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” as “Damn We Wish You Were President” in support of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
In May 2010, Hawkins released the single “The Land, the Sea, and the Sky.” It will be included on her upcoming album “Dream Street and Chance.” She is donating 100% of the proceeds of her single to Waterkeeper Alliance.