First Listen: Stephen B. Lawrence - Country Style
By: Jeremy House
Hey, country music fans! With a new EP ready to drop and a tour in the works, Stephen Lawrence is taking that scene by storm. We sat down with Stephen to talk about his new album and future plans.
Rock Island: What would say was your major inspiration for getting into country music?
Stephen Lawrence: Blame it on my mother. I am the youngest of 5 boys and as a child, maybe not the easiest to deal with. My mother would lay me down between two speakers and put on Kenny Rogers records to soothe me. Also growing up in Newfoundland our local radio stations would play a mixture of everything. It's not like it is today with stations dedicated to certain genres. You heard everything from Merle Haggard to the Bee Gees to Elvis Presley and everything in between. So, we were exposed to different music. I wouldn’t consider my music just Country because there are definitely rock influences in my music as well and a hint of pop. I grew up in the 80's so the 80's were, of course, an influence. Groups like Bon Jovi, Poison, Billy Idol being one of my favourite. I am more of a fan of the newer country music because it has that Country/Rock/Pop. Not really into the tear in my beer country, and although I'm not into it that doesn't mean some of it ain't good. That’s just my preference.
Rock Island: Can you tell us a bit about your journey to World Music Records? What were some of your experiences on that journey?
Stephen Lawrence: I have been performing on stage since I was 18 years old. First as a bass player then I started singing some backup harmonies. Then in my early 20's I started getting the nerve to sing a couple. Alan Jackson's Mercury Blues and Dwight Yoakam's Fast as You were two of the first songs that I learned how to sing. I picked up guitar around 23 because people were always asking me to play when I was at parties and I would say sorry I play 4 strings, not 6 so I decided to pick up the acoustic and start learning a bunch of songs. I believe Every Rose by Poison was one of the first. Then one night our lead singer at the time couldn't make a show so I was thrown to the wolves so to speak. Well, it was either that or cancel. I still remember some missus yelling out that’s not the band I know lol. People are always hesitant to change that’s human nature.
I signed with World Music Stage Records in August of this year but we were in contact for a month or two before anything was actually signed. I was put in contact with Grant from a management services group based out of BC. Rosner Management Services. They informed us of a publishing deal through World Music Stage Records so I got in contact with Grant mainly for the publishing side of things and after our first conversation he mentioned that he would be interested in a management/publishing/label deal. I was hesitant at first only because I really didn’t know what to think of it. One of my brothers said bluntly "Steve you're 43 years old when will you get another opportunity like this?" so I signed it lol. I am glad I did because since signing with the label I have noticed more action on my social media and I have no doubt will lead to some awesome opportunities to share my music with people who would never have had me on their radar.
Rock Island: What does the future hold?
Stephen Lawrence: I am about to release a 6 song EP as a follow up to my last EP "Make You Believe" which was nominated last year for the MusicNL Country Recording of the Year. As well I am involved with the Rise Up TV Tour, which is being hosted by Rosner Management Services. I will be joining the tour on the eastern leg, starting in Windsor Ontario on the 28th of May then moving on with dates in London, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Peterborough and last but not least Montreal. This will be filmed for TV and will be available in the fall of 2018. You can check out our Patreon page Rise Up Tv for sneak peeks at the artist and discounts on merch and tickets. I am also in the planning stages of creating an Atlantic Tour around the same time as the East Coast Music Award in Halifax early next May. We are hoping to hit as many venues as possible between St. John's and Port Aux Basques and then onto Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and would love to include a stop in PEI. Keep an eye on my artist page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/stephenblawrence) for updates on tours as well as links to purchase my music and merch.