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All the best: Singer Kaz Hawkins on her favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

The 43-year-old jazz singer lives in Carrickfergus with her partner David. She has three children.

My best moment

That was last year when I became the first ever Northern Ireland nominee to win a British Blues Award. As I was on tour I couldn't make the ceremony, but David took me out for dinner. All of a sudden my phone started going crazy with messages and social media notifications. It was lovely to be recognised.

My best song

St Louis Blues by Etta James. This was originally a Betsy Smith song but I first heard the Etta James version. This song is the reason I sing the way I do - she was such a strong woman.

My best way to relax

When I'm not touring it's the little things I enjoy so much at home, such as spending time with the grandchildren or simple domestic things like doing the dishes. You'll also find me sitting at the piano or the guitar for hours on end - I don't get to write much on the road.

My best advice

Stay humble. Entertaining the public night after night can really go to your head and, if I want to connect with my fans, then I need to just be me. I think that advice came from Maurice Kinkead of the Eastside Partnership - it has been bandied about my whole career but, when he made a joke about it, it really made an impact.

My best job

I spent years in wedding and cover bands and was even in a girl band at one stage. Nothing can compete with being on stage. It gives me the best feeling ever.

My best gift

Last Christmas, David bought me a Breedlove acoustic guitar - they are hard to get in Northern Ireland. It's so special I haven't even played it yet - I just take it out and look at it.

My best achievement

Becoming an independent, touring artist and not having to answer to any label. For me it was an achievement in this download society we live in. I love that people still want to see live performances. I owe a lot to Eastside Arts, because they were the ones who asked me to support Van Morrison in 2012 and my career has taken off since then.

My best book

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, who is a Hebrew philosopher. It's about self-healing and I keep it on the bus when I need an inspirational lift. Otherwise I'm not much of a reader, but when I do pick up a book I like a good thriller or something that makes me think.

My best movie

Thanks to my grandchildren, I'm turning into a secret Marvel freak, having watched Guardians Of The Galaxy about 20 times now. I love any of the Marvel films, as they are so quirky.

My best buy

When it comes to vintage clothes, I am a magpie. I have a huge collection of scarves and gloves and pick them up absolutely anywhere. People give me them at the end of performances, as they know I am a keen collector.

  • Kaz Hawkins will be performing at the Eastside Arts Festival on Thursday, August 18 at the Park Avenue Hotel at 7.30pm. Visit for more details

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