A proudly idiosyncratic singer and songwriter who embraces an eclectic range of musical influences and isn't afraid to be nakedly confessional in her music, Sophie B. Hawkins enjoyed unexpected commercial success with her debut album, but since then has opted to follow her muse rather than a major label's marketing department. Sophie Ballantine Hawkins was born in New York City on November 1, 1967. Hawkins grew up in a family that valued art and creativity but was troubled by alcoholism, and as a child she aspired to be an English teacher. At the age of 14, Hawkins became fascinated with African music and began studying percussion, becoming a student of celebrated African musician Babatunde Olatunji. As Hawkins became more accomplished, she branched out into jazz and became proficient on marimba and vibraphone as well as drums. After finishing high school, Hawkins enrolled in the Manhattan School of Music, and in addition to world music and jazz, she began dipping her toes into rock and pop music, playing trap drums with a band called the Pink Men and a handful of other groups.