Kaz Hawkins is a blues singer whose life story gives weight to the cliché that the best singers are the ones with the most painful lives.
Her emotional saviour, even in her bleakest moments, has always been music.
And, boy, can she sing. Having supported the likes of Van Morrison and Nanci Griffith, Kaz has toured extensively across the world and has a buoyant following.
One of her songs - Lipstick and Cocaine - has become an internet sensation - detailing the abuse she suffered at the hands of a former partner. He slit her throat with a kitchen knife (the scar is still shockingly very visible).
‘It was six years of torment and abuse, physical horror. But I felt that was all I was worth,’’ she says of the abusive relationship. ‘‘He nearly killed me more times than enough.’’
‘‘Through the beatings and everything that he done, I just kept saying to myself - ‘Go on Kaz, you keep going - there will be moment when you can get free’.’’
The time came, when he tried to kill her.
She says: ‘‘I lay, and as graphic as it is, I saw the blood rising - that’s when my mum’s face came to me from the grave. Whether I was hallucinating or not, I don’t care, it saved me and she said ‘Come on honey, one more fight - you can do this, get up, get to the phone’.
‘‘He had kicked me unconscious, but the policeman got me and I woke up the next day in the hospital and the doctor said to me ‘do you know what you’ve done to yourself?’’’
Sickeningly, her partner told the medical team that she had cut her own throat.
In the video for Lipstick and Cocaine, filmed in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, tears trickle down her face as she sings so emotively about the experience.
She says the song is a thank you to the doctor and policeman who saved her.
‘‘At last someone believed me,’’ she says.
The audience, too, are deeply affected by her unabashed emotion.
Every line packs an emotional wallop- a lifetime’s hurt magically condensed into three minutes.
It is an immaculate, gut-wrenching, miserable and wonderful song.