Artist: Chris Lawry
Born in Cornwall, UK in 1978, Chris is a freelance composer and arranger, musician and consultant.
Music has always been central to Chris’ life. A multi-instrumentalist, he learnt piano, guitar, brass and percussion from a young age, studying with excellent and inspiring teachers which have contributed to his passion and commitment to music.
Chris studied composition and orchestration with renowed composers Patric Standford and Robin Hoffman, and is currently studying for a postgraduate fellowship diploma in composition.
An Associate of Trinity College London, he is also an experienced teacher, musical director, accompanist and session musician, working with theatre companies, performing arts groups, media companies and schools in a wide range of production genres.
A passionate fan of film, media and concert music, current compositional services and genres include writing for:
– Concert Music (Choir, Orchestral, Chamber, Instrumental)
– Songwriting (Contemporary pop/rock and art song)
– Sacred/Liturgical/Worship (Choir, Vx, Contemporary Song)
– Media (Film, TV and Game Music)?
– Educational music
Other work can also be provided, do get in contact with compositional requirements .
Personal and study projects currently include a large concert work based on poetry by Longfellow, some classical crossover work, and some experimental art rock.
Sheet music can be purchased via www.chrislawry.com or at Moonhouse Music, Amazon, Masquerade Music and JW Pepper, with more publishers and distributors to be announced in 2013 when a major review of catalogue work is due to be completed.
Recordings of Chris’ work can be found to listen to on this site, and also to purchase via iTunes, Amazon, Last fm, Spotify, We7, Deezer amongst many others.
Been professional now for around 4 years. It takes a SERIOUSLY long time to get anywhere, so whatever you do STICK AT IT!
What Music activities are you involved in? Recording artist, songwriter, composer, producer, engineer?
The bulk of my work is composing and arranging, although I also teach privately, do consultancy work in the HE sector and still perform and accompany.
What aspect of what you do musically, do you find the most fun?
Composing. I NEVER get tired of it. Each piece is different and although it can be daunting at first, I love putting pen to paper or fingers on keys when I start something from scratch.
How would you describe your music?
Mainly concert music. I’m on the commercial side of things really as I’ve always wanted to write music that people will play, whether that be educationally or in a concert situation. In this genre, I’ve been noticed more for my choir and vocal composing, but I also write for woodwind, brass, and orchestral music amongst many others.
My music is always tuneful and either filmic/cinematic in quality or quite quirky.
How long have you been playing music?
I’ve been playing music since I was 9, and haven’t stopped really since! Although I had a lot of experience in composing at a young age, it wasn’t until I was around 27 that I started to seriously get into studying composition and orchestration and went back to college/university. Never stop playing. Never stop learning!
What are you trying to say through your music?
I write in so many genres (concert music, media, educational, film/tv) that it depends what I need to say with my music! I suppose there’s is usually a rather thoughtful edge to whatever I do, but my solo piano music tends to be much darker, sometimes very relaxing, and my orchestral music tends to be more lush and cinematic.
What artists do you sound closest too?
Piano music: Yann Tiersen / Einaudi / Glass – Choir: Gielo / Rutter – Orchestral: Elfman / Horner / Holst ish! – Woodwind/Brass: Goff Richards / Darrol Barry. All very broadly speaking!
How did you become interested in music?
I’d always been interested and moved by different types of music but I really became interested by several teachers at school who encouraged me to explore different instruments. Find a good inspirational teacher and that’s half the work done!
What is another genre of music, different from the one you play, that you like?
Alternative Rock / Indie or whatever it’s classified at the moment. The Pixies, dEUS, Katzenjammer, that type of thing.
Do you get nervous when you perform?
Only very very slightly, and only around 2/3 hours before. There’s never any point worrying really, just start playing, before you know it, it’ll be done and THEN you can do your worrying!!!
Do you think music is an important life pursuit?
I’ve always felt you have little control about being a musician. If you are supposed to be, you’ll never be able to escape the pull and drive that will make and keep you doing what you should. Music chooses you I think.
Do you consider music art, or a commercial product?
Both really, depending on the situation. Music, of course, is art, and I don’t care what genre where talking about, it just IS art. Some of the more snobby factions in the music industry will sneer at say Film Music as inferior and not worthy of the same accolade as perhaps academic avant-guard music. They fail to see that each piece, and style of music has it’s purpose and therefore some, if not most, will have to be commercial. Even the greats, Beethoven, Mozart etc ALL wrote to order. Plus, it’s a necessity if you want to eat! Still very much art though.
Do you use social media to share your music with others?
Yes yes and oh yes. You’d have to be pretty shallow minded not to these days. We have the most powerful social marketing sites ever in Youtube, Soundcloud and the like and it’s a great way of getting your music to another audience. For instance, I get enquiries regarding my pieces from all over the world (strangely not much in my own country!) and that would never have been so easy to do without social media. There is a market for everything out there, there’s an audience for all.
What instrument or instruments do you play?
Piano, guitar (rhythm), bass guitar, drums, trombone, euphonium, tuba and organ. I dabble in others but not to any great extent.
How long does it take you to write a song from start to finish?
That varies. I usually write very quickly and sometimes that means I can finish quickly. However, sometimes you have to realise that it’s not flowing and to push it on will probably end up with the piece/song getting worse. Then just stop and you’ll be surprised, the correct solution will just pop into your head at a random point. Inevitably, you’ll also end up with lots of ideas on the back burner, sketches in books etc., they’re really handy when you’re not feeling inspired. Very recently, I woke up in the early hours of the morning, twice in two days, with complete pieces in my head from start to finish, I just had to write them down. That rarely happens to me, and is very weird when it does.
Did you ever take music lessons?
Oh yes, and very glad I did. I had instrumental lessons from 9-18 and then again from 27-29 as a refresher. I studied theory of music from 10-18 and then at university.
It’s always good to go back to a teacher or mentor for some time, to help with something, they will have another way of looking at something that WILL open doors (in your mind and otherwise). Very very useful.
Do you ever get burnt out working on music?
No. But I’m a slave to music. I NEVER get tired of it and if I ever do, then I’ll probably stop. But I can’t see that happening. Now, other people you work with on music can have a tiring effect on you, and that’s where you find out who and want you shouldn’t be doing!
How do you deal with writers block when writing music?
Sketchbooks. See above. You can do the same with a voice recorder or sequencer to just record your snippets of ideas. Store them and come back to them at a later date.
What sort of musical training do you have?
Elaborating on the above, instrumental lessons with ABRSM grade 8 practical qualifications, ABRSM grade 8 theory, Trinity College AmusTCL theory diploma, BA (Hons) degree in music and composition. Other courses in cinematic orchestration, media music and songwriting. Also working on a postgraduate fellowship diploma portfolio. It’s good to stretch yourself.
My final thoughts to inspire young musicians:
Do as much as you can. Listen to as much, and as varied types, as you can. Find other musicians to play with and learn from. As my younger brother says ‘Educate yourself and start a revolution’. Also: Never. Give. Up.
Thank you on behalf of Listening Edge Records for taking time to share with us your thoughts on music, and helping inspire musicians of all ages.Trevor Baron President Listening Edge Records