Singer and songwriter Sunny Hawkins dies after battle with cancer

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    Photo courtesy Sunny Hawkins Facebook page

    (September 4, 2023) We are devastated to pass on the news, announced today by music writer and producer Jamie Hawkins, that his wife, singer and songwriter MaiiaSunny” Hawkins, has died after a long battle with breast cancer. Sunny, who had a notable career even before she became the wife of Jamie Hawkins and part of one of Gospel’s leading families, valiantly fought Stage IV cancer for more than three years.

    (September 4, 2023) We are devastated to pass on the news, announced today by music writer and producer Jamie Hawkins, that his wife, singer and songwriter MaiiaSunny” Hawkins, has died after a long battle with breast cancer. Sunny, who had a notable career even before she became the wife of Jamie Hawkins and part of one of Gospel’s leading families, valiantly fought Stage IV cancer for more than three years.

    The Oakland, California-born singer was performing almost from the time she could walk, beginning at age 2 at Love Center Ministries in Oakland, California with her godparents, gospel legends Walter and Tramaine Hawkins.  She continued performing through her teen years, ultimately singing around the country in various venues.  As a young adult, she landed a lead role in the Broadway musical Rent with *NSYNC's Joey Fatone, and backing vocal gigs with  Chaka Khan, Deborah Cox, Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle and Luther Vandross.  

    Sunny also developed strong songwriting skills, penning Aretha Franklin's 2003 hit "The Only Thing Missin," and "Good Lovinfrom Patti LaBelle's 2004 album, Timeless Journey.  She married hot young producer/writer/musical director Jamie Hawkins (Jodeci, MC Hammer, Donnell Jones, Boyz II Men, Lauren Hill), who was also Walter and Tramaine's son.

    Jamie and Sunny began collaborating musically, and in 2004 started working on a joint album, attempting to fashion a modern Gospel album that brought in elements of soul, rock and hip-hop in addition to traditional Gospel sounds.  In early 2005 Sunny released the result of their work in the form of her debut album, More of You, one of the early album reviews we ran on SoulTracks. It displayes a extremely talented singer and a fantastic collaboration between husband and wife.

    The couple continued to live in Northern California and raised six children, and where Jamie is pastor of Transforming Love Christian Center. Their family's sadness at this moment is being shared by the entire music world, which mourns this wonderful wife, mother and woman of music.

    By Chris Rizik