Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins performed live in the creative City of West Hollywood on Sunday, June 25, 2023, at Plummer Park, as part of the City’s first combined Lesbian Speakers Series and Summer Sounds event. The City’s Arts Division (WeHo Arts) also hosted the “Free Myself: A Conversation and Concert with Sophie B. Hawkins” to wrap up Pride Month in West Hollywood. The Q&A was moderated by Public Information Officer of the City of West Hollywood, Sheri Lunn (Sheri and Sophie are known to be good friends).
West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson and Council Member Chelsea Byers presented Sophie with a proclamation on behalf of the City Council, recognizing the 30-year-anniversary of her Grammy nominated album which debuted in 1992. She was also acknowledged for her long history in West Hollywood, from performing her first album at The Roxy, to staring as Janis Joplin in the hit play, Room 15, at West Hollywood’s Macha Theatre on Kings Road. She was also the 2021 recipient of WeHo’s Rainbow Key Award.
The singer behind favorite hits like “Damn I wish I was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down,” drew a crowd to the Plummer Park lawn. She met fans and posed for photos and signed autographs. She also sold her latest record Free Myself, which was available on vinyl.
Then she performed some of her biggest hits, along with new music from her latest album.
Photos by Mike Pingel (click to enlarge).
Hawkins’s debut album, Tongues and Tails, was released in 1992. It achieved both worldwide commercial success and critical acclaim, earning her a Grammy Award 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 US and was also a Top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at #14. 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.
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. The same year, Hawkins posed nude for Interview. As she explained to Ed Rampell in an interview for Q magazine, she met the photographer, Bruce Weber, and was asked if she would do a photoshoot with him. While she had provided her own clothes, Weber deliberately had her wear an unflattering dress as part of his plan to convince Hawkins to disrobe during the shoot.
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 by Hawkins was included throughout the film.