When screenwriter Marc Lawrence was working on “Miss Congeniality,” he and the film’s producers were at a standstill trying to find the perfect music to play during the film’s pageant scene.
There was no shortage of submissions, but the team struggled to find the perfect musical accompaniment. Puzzled by the situation, the screenwriter explained the conundrum to his son Clyde, who was just 6 at the time.
Clyde Lawrence, who had been composing original music on the piano since he was 4, came up with his own song, a grand yet catchy number that William Shatner sings in the film: “She is beauty, she is grace, she is Miss United States,” Shatner sings.
Clyde, now 26, has since helped score “Music and Lyrics,” “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” and “The Rewrite.” He and his 22-year-old sister Gracie provided the soundtrack for “Noelle,” a Christmas movie starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader that’s available with Disney’s new streaming service Disney Plus.
When they aren’t film scoring, the siblings perform a zesty mix of funk, soul and pop as Lawrence. Lawrence will perform at Tellus360 on Saturday.
While both siblings are musical, there are no professional performers in their immediate family. But, they were raised by creatives. Clyde’s mother was a dancer — not a piano teacher, as their Wikipedia page has past mislabeled — and his father worked in film.
Lawrence the band started in earnest while Clyde was a student at Brown University, with friends who still perform with him today. While the band often performed to robust crowds at house parties, he noticed the shows were always bigger and better when his sister Gracie, a high schooler at the time, was able to play with them.
Once, while in Brown’s library, he overheard two girls saying that they hoped Gracie would show up at that weekend’s show.
“I thought to myself, all right, that’s it — if she’s the star of the show to drive in from three hours out of town and I’m the one who actually goes to the school, there’s no question that this would be a good idea,” Clyde says.
Plus, the siblings find balance in their strengths. Clyde’s heart has always been in songwriting, while his sister — an accomplished actress in her own right — has focused on performing.
“I think that we kind of, just through growing up together, started to learn those skills from each other,” Clyde says.
After cutting their teeth at countless weekend gigs, Lawrence released “Breakfast” in 2016. The album effectively captures the spirit of those formative live performances, and the raw energy caught attention from music critics and listeners nationally and internationally.
With “Living Room,” the band allowed itself more space to explore the songs in a studio setting. Because of his history scoring for film, Clyde has no problem envisioning a song’s full orchestration from its early stages. But as of late, he’s enjoyed intentionally leaving room for others to collaborate and share their visions.
And that cinematic experience lends itself to how Clyde and Gracie think of their albums.
“We often think of the writing of the Lawrence music of being almost like a sitcom or a television show where Gracie and I are the two primary characters, and each album is the next season where it’s just like, what are we going through that season?” Clyde says.
In this metaphor, each song is an episode.
“One episode is going to be about a breakup that we’re going through,” Clyde says. “And one episode is going to be about a fight we’re having with a friend … and one episode is going to be about eating hot sauce that gives you heartburn.”