Bil Browning

Queer Music Friday lays down with Sophie B. Hawkins

Filed By Bil Browning | April 18, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: lesbian, music video, Sophie B Hawkins

Usually Alex does the Queer Music Friday column, but he's on vacation this week so you're stuck with me! Since I'm always picking on him in the comment threads for picking some esoteric odd song from a queer artist or band that no one's ever heard of, I thought I'd better come up with something good.

I chose Sophie B. Hawkins. I opted for "As I Lay Me Down" since I like it better, but "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" was controversial back in the early 90s. After all, the song said "as I made love to her." Interview clip about the scandal after the jump.

From a really good interview:

Ron Slomowicz: Also, I wanted to ask you about some controversy...

Sophie: Oh, good.

RS: I remember when the first song "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" came out, there was a controversy about the lesbian lyrics saying "as I made love to her".

Sophie: Right.

RS: What was your reaction to the controversy and did you expect that, was it calculated?

Sophie: Oh, nothing's ever been calculated with me. I think it's the one thing about me that I can say is always the same, is that I really am not calculated. I think it's a blessing and a curse. It's been a curse in terms of being a somewhat known person, because people always misunderstand me. Some people love me, some people absolutely hate me and think I'm calculated. But the beauty of it is that things come out that never could have come out if I had thought about those. First tell me what the controversy was, because I didn't know there was controversy.

RS: Well, maybe it was just here in Nashville, Tennessee, but when they only played your song after 8pm because it had a "lesbian lyric: in it. This was back in '92 wasn't it? And that wasn't appropriate to be played on the radio...

Sophie: I'm amazed.

RS: So this is new to you?

Sophie: The only thing I ever heard was some people didn't want to play it because of the word "damn". No, I never heard about it and I thought that probably people didn't notice that I said that. Because even on the label, no one ever mentioned, did you notice that you said "making love to her"? I thought that it was amazing that people had chosen this to be the hit, because it's such a deep emotional song to me.

I mean, to me it's a very layered song, and yes it does have a hit chorus but so many men loved it and I was always thought it was amazing. I never thought that women even picked up on it, until really recently when I've started to hear that women say it was their anthem. Which isn't to say that I didn't know that women were attracted to me, but that's always been fine. I think its because a lot of my music.

So I never knew there was controversy but I was never self-conscious about it, I was never shy about it. I was really proud of it, because I think that I was the first woman or man to ever say making love to the same sex in a pop song. I know that people have come out and said I'm gay or a lesbian, but I don't think anyone's ever put it into their work, so blatantly. To me art is deeper than publicity and art is deeper than coming out. So I thought it was extremely deep and extremely real and I was very proud that I did it. I felt like a private proud and now I'm publicly proud of it because now I realize that people were moved by it and it gave a lot of people at lot of inspiration.

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Nice choice! However, your youtube embed has been disabled. Notwithstanding, I went over to YouTube to listen to both "As I Lay Me Down" and "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover." It's been years since I've heard them, and it was nice to be reacquainted. My favorite of the two is the latter; it's got that ummphh!

Ugh - how annoying. We do our own embed code so I didn't notice you couldn't imbed any of her songs. Damn BMG greedy bastards.

Haha. This was better than that one "bisexual" "musician" that I thought you were going to pick...