Kirsty Hawkshaw is an English electronic music vocalist and songwriter. In addition to her work as a solo artist, she is known as the lead vocalist of early 1990s dance group Opus III, and her collaborative work with other musicians and producers.
Kirsty Hawkshaw is the daughter of the British production music/film music composer and disco record producer Alan Hawkshaw who composed the theme to the Channel 4 weekday afternoon game show Countdown in the early 1980s. Her mother is German-born Christiane Bieberbach.
At a rave in 1990, she was noticed by producers Ian Munro, Kevin Dodds and Nigel Walton, who at the time were known as A.S.K., an offshoot of The Spiral Tribe, who at the time was signed to MCA Records UK and had released a single called “Dream”, when she was invited to appear on stage as their dancer. It was through this meeting that they would form a dance act called Opus III. Their first single, a cover version of the song “It’s a Fine Day” from their debut album Mind Fruit, was an international success and Top 10 hit on UK Singles Chart, and reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1992. A reversed sample of Hawkshaw’s singing from this track was used in the Orbital track “Halcyon”, the music video for which featured Hawkshaw. Opus III also had another US number 1 hit on the same chart in 1994 with “When You Made the Mountain”, from their second and final album, Guru Mother.
In a 2009 interview, she recalled her decision to end her association with Opus III, saying she felt that she did not want to be part of a “commercialized” act, wanted to go in a different direction, and felt that she did not have sufficient input in writing and production, which led to conflict with the rest of the band; she has also ruled out any plans for a reunion if it ever happens. She has also been critical of the dance music industry more broadly, especially performers lip-synching other people’s songs, and using original artists’ vocals without permission or credit.
After the group broke up in 1994, Hawkshaw pursued a solo career and since then has been in demand by other acts in the dance, house, Eurodance, trance, and electronica community, including Tiësto, Delerium, BT, Fragma, Seba, and Paradox, among others.
Her solo single “Fine Day” peaked at number 62 in the UK Singles Chart in November 2002.
Hawkshaw contributed a track titled “Telephone Song” to the children’s compilation album For the Kids Too!, released in 2004.
On 10 October 2005, she released Meta-Message, a collection of older and newer songs, after a growing interest in her out-of-print album, O.U.T.
The record label Magnatune released her ambient album, The Ice Castle, in 2008.