Photograph: David Gray
At 3 a.m. Clyde Lawrence, Gracie Lawrence and the rest of their eight-piece band Lawrence shuffle out of their tour van and into a gas station off the interstate. The talented musical sibling duo has been making pop/soul ballads since diaper days in their childhood New York City apartment. Now ages twenty-five and twenty-one, respectively, have dropped their second EP, Living Room,and are right in the middle of their first world tour.
Underneath all of Lawrence’s recent accomplishments, daily rituals prove the band members are still kids at heart. “We’ve been known to dare one another to get the most disgusting thing possible at the gas station,” Gracie says with a laugh, followed by a shudder. Moreover, the band has a rigid pre-show ritual: a hummus-and-pretzel challenge in the green room. In concert, fans can feel the band’s energy and love for one another transcend the stage, making each performance lively, inclusive and a whole lot of fun.
Growing up with a father in the film industry, Clyde credits famous names like The Beatles, Randy Newman, Stevie Wonder and Carol King as the band’s homebase of influence. The self-described homebodies, who call Manhattan home (which is on full display in its video for “Probably Up”) will be bringing roof-raising energy, talent and humor to Fairfield. On Sunday, December 9, Lawrence will headline at The Warehouse at FTC.
Read on for Fairfield Living’s inside scoop on Lawrence’s new album, the touring schedule and more.
What kind of story does your new album, Living Room, tell and how does its message differ from Breakfast?
Gracie Lawrence:“Breakfast was a reflection of that part of our lives—me graduating high school and Clyde graduating college. We were kids talking about childhood and early-adult experiences. Living Roomrepresents a period of intense growth, heartbreak, family loss. But it also is extreme highs: being in this band together and experiencing a lot of new life lessons.”
Clyde Lawrence: “The characters are the same. It’s just that Breakfastwas Season 1 and Living Roomis Season 2.”
How would you define the band’s sound, and how do you think it’s evolved over time?
Clyde: “We have a lot of soul and pop energy. There’s a lot of combining of old, retro, vintage influences with more modern influences.”
Gracie: “Our song-writing style has definitely evolved, but it has also remained consistent in the most important ways. We have grown, in addition to having live sounds, to incorporate artificial sounds and really expanding our production vocabulary in that way.”
A brother sister duo is unique. Is there ever sibling drama?
Gracie: “We’re not really an argumentative duo. We never really grew up fighting. I would say there is much more telepathy than anything else, specifically on stage. I can just read Clyde really well, and he can read me really well.”
Clyde:“Even though our music is very tightly arranged, there’s a lot of flexibility and our show is very physically demanding. There’s a lot of us shooting each other a series of looks that the tells the other one to go for the harmony or skip a section.”
What’s something you learned on tour that you could have never learned in school?
Gracie: “Touring is really a challenge of endurance. You can be a well-trained musician, have the right tools to learn how to sing properly, but you might not know how to maintain your energy. It’s so important to give the audience the same attention and love that they give back to you, even if it’s your fortieth night performing, and you’re really tired. That’s something you can’t learn in school or training. You just have to get on the road and practice.”
Clyde: “You learn a lot about basic problem solving. Sure, you learn how to solve for x in math class, but you don’t learn that if your van breaks down an hour outside of Nashville and you need to be in Little Rock in five hours, what resources can you use with two bars of cell service, and make it happen on a budget.”
Do you get writer’s block?
Gracie:“We go through moods where we are more in the mood to write one kind of song than another.”
Clyde: “But you have to find authenticity. You have to balance your desire as an artist to want to have a balance of songs on your record with songs that are true to what you’re going through.”
Favorite song to perform:
Gracie: “ ‘Make A Move.’ There’s an expectation based on the way that I look that there are notes I can’t hit or songs I can’t sing. I like defying that.”
Clyde:“Right before the show, we all huddle up and dedicate the show to someone in the audience or someone we’re thinking about. And then we say a group chant that’s constantly changing— we like to keep it fresh. It’s usually some sort of weird inside joke.”
Currently listening to:
Clyde: “PJ Morton’s ‘Gumbo.’ “
Clyde:“I wear this Chicken Finger Friday shirt only on Fridays. At college, there were chicken fingers every Friday in the dining hall. My roommate, Danny, printed out these T-shirts that read, “Thank God It’s Chicken Finger Friday.” I literally got the last one. They sold out so quickly, and it’s this disgusting lime green with neon blue letters. Our fans talk to me more about the shirt than our music honestly. There’s a lot of things we always end up falling into. We had a bowling pin we were given at a show in North Carolina once, and we put that on stage every show as our mascot.”
Gracie: “It got stolen.
Clyde: “If anyone that sees this article wants to return our bowling pin… high reward.”
Writer’s note: This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for fit and clarity.