Where Are They Now: Sophie B. Hawkins
By Dustin Fitzharris
Can you explain the title?
I like it because it comes from one of the songs called "Dream Street and Chance." It's a song about New York and revisiting my mother and having a walk with her in the park. It's a beautiful and complex song. It talks about time. Dream Street and Chance is where I guess I am standing -- on the corner of Dream Street and Chance. It feels like anything can happen. What did you think of the title?
It wasn't the first thing that grabbed me.
Then it has to be changed because it's a grab-you type of album.
This album is being called 'the most directly personal' of your catalog. All artists seem to say that when they have a new album. Why do you believe this is your most personal?
The person who said that really felt like it was. Maybe it is, but maybe it's this willingness to be unpretentious and not go for the best performance, but for the meaning. I think that's what this person meant. She could really feel the soul. They probably could feel me and not any defensiveness or any look-at-me-ness.
You said, 'The songs began to express a kind of eternal dream I've had, that I think we all have, for a moment of peace and clarity, for the ability to get beyond our personal struggles and move out into the larger world -- knowing exactly where you stand in it.'
Wow, that's fabulous!
You said it!
I know, but I couldn't say it again if I tried.
Where do you stand in the world?
That's a really great question. There are different levels. When I was in the Gulf [for the BP oil spill], I saw myself as someone who could really point something out to make people feel excited about doing something. That was a cause that got so little attention or all the wrong attention in some ways. Something like Haiti got all the right attention. Not to compare them because they both need attention, but the Gulf is right here, and, for lack of a better word, it's our people. I feel like I have the ability to shine the light on something -- not in a tacky way -- but make people go, 'You know, I have my own opinion about this, and it's not CNN's or Fox News' or Obama's or whomever's opinion, it's my opinion, and I feel strongly. I'm not the typical liberal activist, nor am I'm the typical conservative activist. I'm really unique.
I'm willing to be an original and separate myself in the crowd. Like when I did Fox News. I did it to bring attention to the Gulf. The one question [during the interview] was, 'People in Hollywood have deep pockets and why aren't they -- ' I stopped the person right there and said, 'No, no, no. Americans are the most generous people.' I got so many great e-mails that I stopped them and didn't let them go there, but I didn't even know that I did that. I really felt that in the moment. This isn't about Hollywood. Fuck Hollywood. This is about we all need direction.
Why do you feel it didn't get the attention other causes got?
It's so obvious. Obama got so much money from those oil companies, especially BP. This man doesn't give a shit about the environment anymore than any other corporately bought politician. To me he's no better than any of them. People can argue about details all they want, but his actions speak louder than his words. This man is a complete egomaniac. He never speaks to the people who are suffering. He speaks what it means about him. That's why Haiti was so important to him. It made him look a certain way. I feel like he could give a shit about the Gulf people. They know it. You should see the shit they wrote on the walls. Black, poor people in the Gulf were over him. They saw through it in two seconds.
When you and I talked in 2008 before the election you said about Barack Obama, 'I don't like him! I don't trust him. I think he's all imaging, and people are not taking enough time to look at him.' How do you feel about him today?
I feel he is what I thought. He's come to show himself as someone who is not a leader. To me, he was all imaging and all the slogans his wife probably thought of. And look at his book. Even his quote that he thinks is a great quote, 'I chose my friends carefully -- the Marxist, the lesbian...." I think to myself, You motherfucker! You choose your friends because you love them. Because you have something in common with them on the heart-and-soul level, not because they're fucking Marxists or lesbians! That's like me walking around going, 'Hey, I'm not going to be your friend because you voted for Reagan.' What the fuck is that? It bothers me. He bothers me.