Siblings Gracie And Clyde Lawrence On Touring And The Meaning Of Home

Apr 13, 2017
Originally published on April 15, 2017 7:09 am

Clyde and Gracie Lawrence are not your typical brother-and-sister pair. For one thing, they're in a band together: As Lawrence, they've toured across the country performing soulful pop songs. Though the two have been playing music together since they were toddlers, they say it was their more recent experience on the road that made them appreciate their relationship to home.

"We're such homebodies and I get homesick constantly," Gracie Lawrence says. "So I think now I can appreciate how much affection we really have for our family and our home."

"Home is a huge part of who we are," her brother Clyde agrees. "The question of how fluid of a concept home is something that ... I'm constantly thinking about, and that is being tested all the time. ... [Touring] redefines my sense of home in that I'm with family and I'm with my closest friends."

Hear the Lawrence siblings share more stories about life on the road and the songs on their Eric Krasno-produced debut, Breakfast, at the audio link.

Radio producer Christina Cala produced the broadcast version of this story.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DO YOU WANNA DO NOTHING WITH ME?")

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Clyde and Gracie Lawrence aren't your typical singing sibling pair.

CLYDE LAWRENCE: The question that we get most often is, how can you possibly work and live and tour with your sibling, you know? And they're always like, I hate my brother, and I'm like, oh, I'm sorry for you.

GRACIE LAWRENCE: (Laughter).

CORNISH: Clyde and his younger sister Gracie front the band Lawrence. We caught up with them at the annual South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin. They were born and raised in New York. Their debut album, "Breakfast," came out just last year, but Clyde and Gracie have been playing music with each other for as long as they can remember.

C. LAWRENCE: We were always playing together from the time I was 4 and she was 1 or something like that.

G. LAWRENCE: Yeah. It's never really been, like, a conscious, oh, we're going to walk over to the piano now and, like, start playing music.

CORNISH: When they were kids, the Lawrences wrote music imitating love songs they grew up singing, complete with love and loss they'd never experienced for themselves. But by the time Clyde left for college, they found themselves with enough life experience to write from a real place.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAWRENCE SONG, "COME ON, BROTHER")

C. LAWRENCE: There's a song I wrote called "Come On, Brother." When I was a senior in high school, I got into the college that I wanted to get into, and everybody was celebrating and really happy for me. And weirdly my brother was, like, in the corner crying. And when I asked him why he was so upset, he had thought that if I didn't get into that first-choice college that I was not going to go to college in general. And so I ended up that night writing a song called "Come On, Brother," which is me consoling him about me leaving and also coming to grips with my own feelings about leaving.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COME ON, BROTHER")

C. LAWRENCE: (Singing) Come on, brother, please do not feel alone. I promise that I'll be home before you know.

I think that's something that everybody kind of feels. They distract themselves with other things or consoling their parents or, you know, whatever it is. But really they have their own deep insecurities about leaving, whether it's for school or for a job or anything else. And I think that that is especially, like, important to me because it's a family band, and so that's really just about how close I feel to Gracie and the rest of our family and home and New York City and everything.

G. LAWRENCE: I feel like the whole album is kind of an ode to New York because that's just naturally what comes out of us. The song "Misty Morning" feels very New York to me. The chorus is misty morning on our avenue, sometimes I wish that I could stay with you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISTY MORNING")

G. LAWRENCE: (Singing) Misty morning on our avenue, sometimes I wish that I could stay with you.

It's literally about the New York that, like, I grew up in and leaving that chapter and maybe going to another place or whatever it is. And, like, we're such homebodies. And, like, I get homesick constantly (laughter) so I think now I can appreciate how much affection we really have for our family and for our home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISTY MORNING")

G. LAWRENCE: (Singing) I'll miss those times you'd corner me back when we learned geometry. Do you agree?

C. LAWRENCE: Home is a huge part of who we are. And the question of, like, how fluid of a concept home is is something that at least I'm constantly thinking about and that is being tested all the time while we are starting to live this touring life on a pretty intense scale. The touring thing has been really interesting because, in a way, of course I get homesick all the time. It also sort of redefines my sense of home in that I'm with family and I'm with my closest friends.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHERE IT STARTED FROM")

C. LAWRENCE: (Singing) Can we take a minute, pretend it all is just the same?

CORNISH: That's Clyde and Gracie Lawrence, the brother-and-sister team behind the band Lawrence. Their debut album is called "Breakfast."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHERE IT STARTED FROM")

C. LAWRENCE: (Singing) If anything has really changed... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.