With thousands of viral video hits and a string of catchy, keyboard-laden songs in their catalog, Lawrence are already a bona fide phenomenon. Get to know the band's keyboardist and co-leader Clyde Lawrence, our Talent Scout Artist of the Week.
NAME: Clyde Lawrence
HOMETOWN: New York City
MUSICAL TRAINING: I didn’t have a super formal music training, but my parents showed me a lot of great music growing up that immediately inspired me, and I’ve had a couple of great teachers over the years who have really helped me develop.
FIRST GIGS: I’ve been playing with my band, Lawrence (which I lead with my sister Gracie Lawrence) since I was in high school. We started out playing at small clubs around New York City, as well as colleges and house parties around the Northeast.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Randy Newman, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, The Beatles, Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Ben Folds, Carole King, Squeeze.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Gumbo by PJ Morton, Ceramic City Chronicles by Bernhoft, Acid Rap by Chance The Rapper.
MY BIG BREAK: There wasn’t one particular thing — we’ve just been grinding it out, putting out songs and touring like crazy, gaining fans as we go. We’ve had a couple of key gigs that really gained us a lot of exposure, playing festivals like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, and opening for people like Lake Street Dive, Vulfpeck, and Jon Bellion. We’ve also had a couple of wacky internet breaks, like a video of a live performance that we did in our living room going viral on Reddit, and getting a shoutout on Twitter from Steph Curry who heard our album and enjoyed it.
LATEST ALBUM: Our debut album was called Breakfast, and it came out in 2016, but we have our second album, Living Room, coming out this fall on September 14th. I’m really proud of how it came out and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. From a keyboard perspective, this album was a ton of fun, because we got a little more creative with the kinds of sounds we were using — you’ll hear piano, Rhodes, wurly, organ, Mellotron, celeste, melodica, and so many different kinds of synths. In addition to co-writing and singing on all of the tracks, I am also playing all the keys on the record (except for a couple appearances from our friend Steve “Swatty” Watkins, most known for his work with Allen Stone).
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS AND WHY? Growing up, I had exclusively Yamaha pianos and keyboards, so that was what I really learned on, and playing a Yamaha still feels the most natural to me. But currently, I use exclusively Nord on the road. It feels really great, and most importantly, there is no other keyboard on the market that allows me to do everything I’m trying to do in terms of combining and manipulating sounds in the middle of a song. The sounds that I use themselves are nothing fancy, but I try to compensate for the fact that on our records there are several layers of keyboard parts. So on a standard song during our live set, I’ll layer as many as three or four sounds and bring them in and out with buttons and pedals.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? Dropping our new album, Living Room, and playing tons of shows to support it. I’m also working on the original songs and score for some film projects, including a Disney film due out Christmas 2019.
ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION: In working on developing yourself as a player, a writer, a performer, etc, find the right balance between pursuing the thing you love and excel at and seeking out things that are foreign to you. There are a lot of people who get too zoned in on the one thing that makes immediate sense to them and sacrifice their potential to grow or be versatile, and there are also lots of people who spread themselves too thin and forget the thing that makes them a special musician in the first place. I have been both of those people at various points.
For more information visit lawrencetheband.com