Out singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins is glad people see her 1992 hit “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” as a lesbian anthem or a generally LGBTQ+ one, but she also says it’s more than that.
“The third verse — ‘Free your mind and you won’t feel ashamed’ — is probably why people have called it a lesbian or LGBTQ+ anthem,” Hawkins, who describes herself as omnisexual, recently told The Guardian. “I’m glad, but it goes deeper than sexuality and gender. It’s about human issues and, 35 years later, the meaning is still changing as society evolves.” The song “really is my life story,” she said.
Eric Bazilian, who played guitar on the track, noted that “we never discussed the LGBTQ+ aspect, but the song isn’t really gender or orientation specific. In years gone by, it would have just been taken as a great heterosexual anthem. I’m glad we’re now in times where these things are discussed more openly. It was such fun to do and I’m proud to have played on it.”
Hawkins said some radio stations in the South objected the use of “damn,” but her record company, Sony, didn’t back away from it. Her mother liked the word because “it reminded her of William Blake,” Hawkins added.
The video for “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” aroused controversy too, she said.
“I was told the video was ‘too erotic,’” she told The Guardian. “I found it dreamlike and sensual, like the music. But we had to make another. Many years later, I found out the real reason was that I was dancing with a black dancer. If I’d known that back then, I’d have done more scenes with him.”
Hawkins has recently released her first album in more than a decade, Free Myself.