Northern Irish singer Kaz Hawkins had lived a long time with abuse when her then-partner slit her throat and left her for dead. “Lipstick and Cocaine,” the song she wrote in the aftermath of the incident, pulls no punches. And that makes the tale of survival and recovery it sketches all the more powering.
“Lipstick represents the face you put on,” writes Kaz Hawkins, discussing the song that has become a worldwide sensation, “and cocaine is what it says on the tin: addiction.”
“Lipstick and Cocaine” (sometimes referred to as “One More Fight”) is such a straightforward, deeply personal song that it hardly requires commentary. But context helps. Hawkins speaks openly of her past, abusive relationships, and how she’d come to believe she didn’t deserve anything better—that she even deserved the violent physical inflicted upon her. Substance use was a symptom of this suffering at least as much as a cause.
Rock bottom came, however, when her then-partner very nearly killed her with a kitchen knife.
In that instant, the voice of her mother came to her, telling her not to give up. Somehow, Hawkins found the strength to stagger to the telephone and call for help. The police came instantly, and the emergency doctor acted with speed and skill. The song is a love letter to mother, policeman, and doctor: the three people she credits with saving her life.
You might want to sit down while you listen to this one. It’s that beautiful, and that raw.