National | Arts

Vocal powerhouse Hawkins releases first album

Auckland soul singer and songwriter Hawkins today marks a significant milestone with the release of his debut self-titled album.

Hawkins says the album is a deeply personal collection of songs written over a number of years, drawing on influences that made him fall in love with music.

"The sound and vibe is diverse and heavily drenched in concept. I want it to feel like nostalgia when I sing - something familiar but not exactly,” he says.

The album HAWKINS contains the already released singles Street Lights, Fireflies, I Couldn't Tell It All and Can't Leave It Alone, which have collectively amassed more than 200,000 streams on Spotify.

It also includes the new single Take Away, as well as the tracks Lost Ones, What Have You Done and All This Time, which Hawkins teased in 2020 with the release of a series of live recordings and video captured at the Roundhead Studio.

"I often write of melancholy and deep subject matter, which deals with loss. Sonically I like to throw things into different styles, for example, I Couldn't Tell It All is based on what Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush had produced in the mid-80s; Fireflies was Prince and Mariah Carey; Streetlights was Stock/Aitken/Waterman and the 1975; Can't Leave It Alone was Prince and D'Angelo; What Have You Done? was Sufjan Stevens and Des'ree; Lost Ones Motown and Stax," he says.

"I want the music to sound like it would feel good live and I want to be able to share stories too. That is important to me."

The album was produced by Christian Mausia and features Jono Sawyer on drums, Andy Smith on guitar, Stallone D'Souza and Peter Leupolu on keys and Richard Pickard on bass.

Hawkins also nods to Ebony Strings and Brass 4 Sure, who also feature on the record.

"Everyone on this album is someone I love and honour so it has been a beautiful thing to be creating something with them that I can one day look back on and remember fondly," he says.