Saturday, March 16, 2024

Interview: Stuart Lawrence

For up-and-comer Stuart Lawrence, age is just a number, and he just lets the music speak for itself. Despite only musically finding himself in his late 50's, Lawrence isn't letting his age hold him back from releasing emotionally-charged cuts and explorative soundscapes.

"Anything artistic makes me comfortable".

The Oxfordshire-born artist has just released his latest track 'Paradise', boasting rich vocals, intricately layered instrumentation and impressive melodies.

Sitting down with Music Is To Blame he delves into 'Paradise', his upcoming record (A Collection Of Short Stories Volume 2) and wide range of influences.

For our readers: who is Stuart Lawrence?

Who is Stuart Lawrence? Well, there are a lot of us, it’s a common name combination, I can only talk for myself but actually, I wish I knew, I wonder who the hell I am myself sometimes. Maybe that’s the problem, I am a great many things all at the same time.  Actually, anything artistic makes me comfortable. Drawing, painting, making, even cooking. Just being creative.


Your most recent release is ‘Paradise’ – what can you tell us about this track?

There is no narrative, no intended meaning but I’m sure there are messages that individuals will imagine from it based on their own experiences. I’m glad that it carries a thought provoking quality.

Writing this song came from an accident. I was playing a Bm on a barre chord without the barre, and that’s how the opening riff/intro came into existence. The rest just followed on from the notes that make up that key. It’s essentially Bm, Am and G but played both at first position and as barre chords at different points. Very simple. 

I haven’t got a clue where the lyrics came from, but you play the chords enough and words leap out that fill in the blank spaces.

I’ve been told that the song has parallels with Coldplay, and has been called old school indie. I would regard Coldplay as one of my influences but would not consciously want to mimic them. I had been agonising over the title 'Paradise' given that Coldplay have a song called 'Paradise', desperately trying to avoid being unoriginal. Finally gave in and let the song be called what it wanted to be called.

It’s taken from your upcoming record, ‘A Collection Of Short Stories Volume 2’, what can you tell us about the album?

The new album will be another twelve song album, but this time there will be six singles. It’s been a difficult process to decide which songs to add to the album. I think I know which twelve I want to include and then I’ll play one of the many other songs waiting to be recorded, or I’ll write a new song, as I did last Sunday, and then I question it all over again.

Are there any artists or bands who have particularly influenced your music?

As an emotionally intelligent adult I’m very well aware of the impact of music on our emotions, and there are many pieces of music, from loads of artists, that speak to my very being. In terms of influence, I try to write songs that affect me personally in the same way. So the influence is more about how it makes me feel rather than genre or style. My lead guitarist Matt Brook is the one I’d probably have to ask about influences as he’s the one who makes the tracks full bodied. Together we come up with a sound for each song but I tend to love whatever he individually inputs to the songs. He is a bit of a musical genius.

In terms of bands I’ve loved, that’s an eclectic mix from everywhere, but I always seem to think The Who are just that nose ahead. Pete Townsend is an iconic songwriter and has a big hooter.

On Spotify, it’s noted that most of your listeners are from Stockholm and Oslo, how does it feel knowing your music has such a wide reach?

It’s good to know, I hadn’t checked that myself actually. If there is anyone reading this from Stockholm or Oslo that want to see me live set up a gig and I’ll be there. The first album has had global appeal especially South America, Spain and Portugal. It’s very early in my music career, I released my first ever recording on the 1st of September 2023, but it’s a good thing that my music is liked outside of my home stomping ground. 'Paradise' has already been used on 30+ TikTok reels so far which surprised me when I found out.

You’ve gotten into music later than most – talk to use about that.

I’m 59 years old and released my first album, followed shortly by my first single called 'Halloween', and now this single Paradise. So what took me so long? I recently discovered I have ADHD, that knowledge has helped me overcome decades of self doubt and anxiety. I kept saying 'I will one day,' but that day never seemed to arrive. And then one day I said, 'if not now then when?' Armed with new determination to overcome the condition I decided that was the day to start.

The ADHD is still there, but I got to release an album, which I never thought I’d ever have the courage to do, and the journey continues. And age is just a number, let the music speak for itself.

What does the rest of 2024 look like for you?

Recording Releasing Performing Recording Releasing Performing… that cycle is not likely to stop for a long while, I have a lot of material to get through, And in June I’ll be 60, so might have a party. I expect to release the second album on the anniversary of the 1st September.


Sum up your sound in three words.

Oh, I don’t know if I can. I’ve just had a review by a magazine oddly called ‘Cheers to The Vikings’ in the US. 3 adjectives they used are: Magical, Lush and Captivating, Also said emotionally charged.

Lana Williams


Image: 'Paradise' Official Single Cover

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