Rooted in Sophie’s raw yet poetic lyrics as well as her captivatingly distinctive vocals, FREE MYSELF features some of her most emotionally powerful material to date.

Tapping into the same passion-filled storytelling and colorful eclecticism that inspired her 1992 platinum-selling debut TONGUES AND TAILS, this long-awaited album (Sophie’s first in over a decade) sees the singer/songwriter reflecting on what has been a trailblazing, revolutionary career while embarking on a new creative chapter of independence and positivity.

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Sophie B. Hawkins - The Forge, Camden 26/11/23
RedGuitarMusic.com Review

It’s a cold, wet November evening in Camden Town, but I’m happy to ignore the inclement weather as The Forge is hosting the first London show in almost two decades by Sophie B. Hawkins. The singer is in town promoting her ‘Free Myself’ album, released earlier this year after another lengthy gap – in this case, a mere eleven years. Time sure does fly. It’s my first time at The Forge, just a few yards off the main drag, an unassuming entrance opening out into a decent-sized space with a balcony for the VIP experience. I’m running a little late, but I’ve just enough time to grab a beer and a spot by the mixing desk as Sophie’s three-piece band (drums, bass, keys) takes to the stage.

With an exuberant “Hello London”, Sophie hits on stage as if shot from a cannon, bouncing up and down, all loose limbs and big hair launching into ‘Right Beside You’ with its infectious synth intro. The tune seems very fast – I’m guessing the adrenalin is pumping – the stream-of-consciousness midsection rap is delivered with breathless urgency. Thankfully, courtesy of a kind vocal mix that puts Sophie front and centre, we can hear every word. Things settle down as Sophie picks up an acoustic guitar and leads the band through ‘Before I Walk On Fire’ and unexpectedly, so early in the set, one of her best-known songs ‘As I Lay Me Down’ allows a partisan crowd, who’ve obviously waited years for this moment, to join in with some tuneful audience participation before, now at the keyboard, dipping into the new record for the soulful pop of ‘Love Yourself’ which, back in the day, would be a nailed on hit single.