Kaz Hawkins’ soulful songs are influenced by her experiences of abuse, addiction, and depression, and let her fans know they are not alone.

Belfast singer-songwriter Kaz Hawkins is a survivor.

As a child, she was sexually abused by her uncle, which resulted in a decades-long struggle to cope, with Hawkins turning to self-harm, cocaine, and attempting suicide. She had to make the heartbreaking decision to give her three children to foster care, and endured another brush with death when her abusive partner slit her throat.

Eventually, she got help, got clean and, and got her kids back. She also turned to songwriting as a way of processing all that she had been through.

Lipstick & Cocaine

Lipstick & Cocaine - The song that saved me. ❤ UPDATE --- 200,000 views 👏 #viral ❤️💯THANK YOU! The story goes.. I was a drug addict, I wanted to die, I was depressed, I was being beaten to near death by an ex partner. A policeman rescued me. A doctor helped me heal & when I lay dying on the floor my mothers face came to me from the grave and said "you can do this, it's just one more fight". I then fought harder than I ever had, to LIVE, because #music was my destiny. PLEASE talk to someone about #depression or anything that you are going through. Don't think your worth is being beaten or brainwashed into submission & don't ever think that this world would be better without you! I am proof that life can be wonderful. This song is for all those who dare to speak up against such things. As hard as it is to sing it, I wrote it for my own recovery but also for you, YOU who are fighting the fight. Northern Ireland national charity for #depression is Aware NI #Watch on YouTube https://youtu.be/tvdDYWh5k3g #iTunes http://apple.co/2vqdFI2 #Spotify http://spoti.fi/2uWivxg #Amazon Music http://amzn.to/2w2IDmT Physical copies available from www.kazhawkins.com With all my love #midnightupload #defeatdepression #itsoktotalk #depressionawareness Kaz ❤ Enquiries to BD Entertainments

Posted by Kaz Hawkins on Sunday, September 17, 2017

Now, Hawkins is one of the strongest voices emerging out of Northern Ireland, using her songs to spread a message of hope and honesty. Her powerful, blusey sound is captivating and uplifting, and her songs, with titles like “Better Days,” “Lipstick & Cocaine,” and “Surviving” talk fearlessly about her struggles and the possibility to change.

Read more: Irish adventurer on fighting depression and rowing the Atlantic to New York 

She also works with the charity Aware NI, which works to battle depression.

As the Belfast Telegraph wrote in a profile of her, to Hawkins

"The definition of success is being alive. That is what matters to me," says Kaz, who fervently hopes that by speaking out about herself she can help other people with mental health problems, depression and suicidal thoughts.

"This whole thing needs to be blown wide open.

"Young people must be aware that they can get help and that's why I'm doing what I'm doing to increase the profile of counselling organisations and to raise funds for them.

"When I was young, there was nowhere for me to go to seek advice about what could be done for me. It was easy for people like me to be locked up back then. It was easy to feed medicine down our necks.

"There has been progress in recent times, obviously, and there are organisations to point people at risk in the right direction, but we need more funding to be pumped into the services on offer here and across Northern Ireland to make sure our next generation is looked after.”

With a new album titled “Don’t Know You” out now and a number of tour dates in Ireland and the UK lined up, she’s reaching more people than ever.