Home' LOTL : April 2005 Contents 12
ON THE EVE OF HER AUSTRALIAN
TOUR, OMNISEXUAL POP STAR
SOPHIE B. HAWKINS SPEAKS TO
So how've you been since we last
I've been good, I really toured a lot and
then around Christmas time I was able to
stop and paint and now I'm really writing
a lot. I'm also producing other people and
writing for them.
Who are you producing?
Well, this is really interesting: a guy. He
wouldn't stop asking my manager and
finally I met him and said, okay he's got
something. 'Cause usually I don't think
people have something so I don't waste
Do you get girls with guitars sending
you demo tapes?
Yeah, yeah. The guy I'm producing said
to my manager that trying to get to me
was like trying to get to the high priestess
because there's so many women around
me who protect me and they take these
CDs and listen to them first. But it
inspires me. When you work with young
people who aren't famous, you get to see
what's really going on on the street.
That's what I like.
It's also enlightening to be a mentor.
Oh my god, you're right. And guess
what? He calls me his queen bee. He says
I'm his teacher and his mentor. I have a
side of me that's very motherly and I
didn't know it before. But it's starting to
emerge. Many young people are coming
up to me and asking me to nurture them. I
saw Alicia Keys with her mother in
People magazine, and my manager said,
'You're wishing you had a mother like
that,' because her mother is very
supportive and wonderful, and I said,
'No. I'm wishing I had a daughter like
that.' And I was shocked at myself.
So what is on the street at the moment?
Everyone wants to be a songwriter but
they have no clue how to do it. It's not in
their roots. When I was starting out I
listened to Cole Porter, Noel Coward,
Motown, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell,
Bob Dylan. That's who I emulated.
Music has been so overproduced for so
long that the 16 year olds come to me
and say, 'This is a bitching song, I have a
hit!' And I listen to it and it's just a
verse! They have no idea for a chorus or
a story. There's a lot of yearning but
they're finding that the world is
They're seduced by the packaging.
You're so right. When people told me I
had to start thinking about my image I
said, 'Fuck you.' I just thought I had to be
a great artist to get a deal. That's not the
way these kids think. They think being an
artist is secondary to being a huge success.
Your image was whose idea?
All my idea. Even the jeans I wore --
they're my brother 's jeans. He's a welder
and a mechanic and he'd wear them out
and say 'Sophie, want these?' and give
them to me. I didn't think I really had an
image. Just loose funky clothes with lots
You have more hair now.
You're right! Hair 's really important, and
here's why: it's power. David Crosby
said: "I just wanna let my freak flag fly."
If someone thinks I dye my hair I'm
totally insulted. It's all natural. I wash it
once a month. I'm a lion, this is my hair.
The woman on the cover of Wilderness
Yeah. That's on my land which I actually
sold to make this record.
That must've been heartbreaking.
It was a hard decision but I thought, I
have to do this. I have to keep out there
and it turned out to be the right decision.
You're coming to Australia...
I can't wait! When you go on tour there's
a moment when you realise you're going
for spiritual growth. There's always a
transformation. I wrote this whole album
with a book of Aboriginal paintings on
What's the source of your spirituality?
It's nature. Growing up in New York I
never went to a church or a temple. But
every time I went out in Central Park I just
felt so special with god, so taken care of.
You have the quintessential husky New
It's my mother. Did you ever see The
Bostonians? She's like that Vanessa
Redgrave character, well in my fantasy...
(Laughs) You bring out the worst side...
That's where the whole low voice thing
You have a thing about your mother.
I do, I really do. And I also have a thing
about a mother. Even in Greek
mythology I'll focus on Persephone and
Demeter. I'll always focus on the mother
and the daughter. You know who Bobbie
You do not. Because nobody else knows.
Okay, I'm just going to my computer
to hit Google.
Do it. She did 'Ode to Billy Joe'. They just
released an album of hers. She's a great
songwriter and nobody knows it. I've just
fallen in love with her. She's got that
mother tone and I get obsessed with it.
It's the goddess thing.
That's very perceptive of you.
You bring out the perceptiveness in me.
Now, you were a tomboy growing up,
Oh, big time. Nothing but.
There's an aspect to you that's boyish.
What are you playing out?
It's more comfortable for me. I feel much
more sexy dressing as a boy. It's kind of
like being like a child. I hate the idea of
being stuck in a role. I like the idea of
being fluid, it feels good for my body.
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