STANHOPE — Sophie B. Hawkins will be performing at The Stanhope House on Dec. 14, and yes, she will definitely be singing "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover," "with total joy," she proudly declares.
The Grammy nominated singer and songwriter — whose 1992 debut album, "Tongues and Tails" was a worldwide success — looks forward to surprising her fans with emotionally driven and unpretentious songs from her new album, "The Crossing," as well as reliving the hit singles that put her on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"The Crossing is similar to 'Tongues and Tails' in the way that both albums were not overproduced, and I like that," says the songstress with the flowing mane and sensual voice. "But this album is experimental and comes from new ground."
And Hawkins has covered much new ground from the early days of her career when MTV banned her original music video for "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover," citing it as being too erotic for airplay. Since the 90's, she left Sony Records, founding her own label, Trumpet Swan Productions, gave birth to a son, Dashiell Gatson Hawkins, who is now four, and has been relishing her first acting role in the play Room 105, starring as the rebellious, trailblazing singer-songwriter, Janis Joplin. She has done all this while staying true to herself. Entering into that elite club of motherhood has only strengthened her resolve to remain authentic.
"Having my son has made it more crucial for me to express myself," she explains. "I learn so much from him, I love his mind... boys notice everything," she says.
"It is a challenge for a mother though. Everyone wants to tell you what to do and there are all these experts who are the authority on everything, well I am adamant that everyone is an individual and until I see someone raise a perfect child then the only one who has authority is Dashiell," she says.
Asked if juggling motherhood and a busy career is a challenge, Hawkins doesn't miss a beat.
"It probably is but I will never admit it," she laughs. "It's all about scheduling, and I am lucky because my son loves his independence, he wants to try new things. He does soccer and he loves it, but sometimes he has a meltdown on the way to a game... I help him get through it, not because I am this mother who wants her kid to play soccer, but because I know he has to get used to the feeling of feeling insecure sometimes."
With her fierce personality and outspoken nature, it's hard to imagine Hawkins has ever experienced a shred of insecurity. However, she freely comments about the pressure on women in the music industry to look and behave a certain way.
"There is no way to get around it, I can remember it was hell," she says. "There was a lot of expectation on me to be a turn-on, and when I stopped being that person the record execs turned on me. They were over me, told me to go to Europe."
Hawkins never backed down, and her fans never left her side.
"The industry has changed," she says. "People used to put an album out for their career, now it's all about cross-promoting, the album doesn't even matter so much anymore. I'm a songwriter, I'm not a brand... I don't sell sneakers, perfume or pants, I make records for the passion of it and my fans know it."
It is Hawkins' zeal for creating honest and raw songs that seem to keep her so intensely connected to her fans.
"For me, every song on the album matters," she says. "I get happy when I write a good song, and I know I have written a good song when it contains both magic and truth."
In her downtime, Hawkins finds joy in taking walks with her son, painting, and listening to soul stirring artists such as the late Jeff Buckley, and country singer/songwriter, Bobbie Gentry. She is also drawn to Janis Joplin, whom she says did so much for women in the music industry because she was all about being herself.
Channeling Joplin in the play Room 105 has added another layer of depth to the way Hawkins performs, noting that her fans will be excited to hear how her voice has grown in expressiveness.
"I used to feel that I had to do yoga before I went on stage, and I used to think sitting at my piano was considered meditating, but since I have taken on the role of Janis I have had to think of a much deeper way to prepare for going on stage," she says. "I actually have to turn off my ego and tune into something much greater now."
When it comes to singing the songs that put Hawkins on the musical map, she never tires of it.
"I love the hits," Hawkins says. "People know the lyrics and sing along." "My songs are melodically challenging, it's not an easy thing to do, performing them."
"I live to perform and will never get tired of creating," she says. "The only thing I get tired of doing is arguing."