NEW SINGLE, VIDEO FROM LAWRENCE GRAY
He is often perceived as a 'festival' singer by most people, but Lawrence Gray's musical journey has seen him explore several different areas over the years. He's fronted big bands, orchestras and even a rock band for a while, yet while he still aspires to represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest one day, he's also been working on something new these past few months. The first fruit of his latest endeavour is an adult-orientated pop ballad titled The Call. Written by Gray with music by former-Tenishia producer Cyprian Cassar, the new single has been receiving a lot of local airplay, further to which an accompanying music video has just been released. MikeBugeja.com caught up with Lawrence Gray to talk about the singer's journey so far.
You started singing at a young age. What was it that got you started so young?
I dare say that music has always been with me, a part of me from a very young age. I loved the sound of music and more importantly, I loved the way it made me feel. I still do, of course, and to me, there can be no life without music, which is what made me decide to pursue a career as a singer, a songwriter. It has been a beautiful adventure, one that I hope to continue as long as I can.
I recall you fronting the rock band Meer at some point. What are your memories of that time?
I started my career fronting Meer. We played gigs in several rock clubs, bars and venues all over the island at the time. It had always been a dream of mine to front a great rock band. Meer was that band for me, and to be completely honest I still dream that one day Meer will get back together. Being a solo artist gives you a certain freedom, but the experience of being in a band teaches you a lot; what real music is and what it means, and how it can bring people together. After the band split up, I went on to work on various different projects. I did a lot of musical theatre, participated in several festivals and even travelled to a number of countries representing Malta. In my heart however, I do love rock music and I do hope to have the opportunity to front a rock band again at some point.
I'm sure you're aware that a voice like yours could have a great future in the world of musical theatre, but you're still quite passionate about the Eurovision Song Contest...
First, let me just say that I really would love to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest. This may sound like a cliche', and maybe not everyone will agree with me, but this event is practically the biggest platform we have for artists to aspire to in terms of exposure, locally and abroad. I'm proud to have come close to winning it twice, in 1999 and 2003, but ended up in second place. In 2004 I was even approached to represent Cyprus after winning an award at a festival there. I turned down that offer because if I do get the opportunity to sing in the Eurovision Song Contest, I would like to do it for my country first. I'm still hoping that day will come, but of course, in the end I am artist and if the right offer, and more importantly, a good song comes my way, I will consider my options. The festival aside, I feel blessed to have a career in show business and to earn a living from music. I sing in different places, entertain different audiences, and as I said before, I do love my rock music too. I really want people to realize there is more to Lawrence Gray than just the festival singer.
Your latest single The Call is the first in a very long time. What attracted you to release a new single, what audience are you targeting and what other plans are there apart from the single?
Being a bit of a workaholic, I've actually never stopped working on the different aspects of my musical career, but having recently hit 40, I realized that the music business has indeed given me a lot but it shouldn't only be about work. I wanted to do something that wasn't work-related, to have fun making music and creating something without any pressure. I love working with other people, so I got in touch with Cyprian from Tenishia, who is not only one of the best DJs in the world, but a fantastic musician, composer and producer too. The Call is the result of our collaboration, the first of several other songs that will form part of my ongoing project. I'm pleased that the song is doing so well, as this means people are getting to hear a different side to the Lawrence Gray they might have been used to.
What's your greatest wish as a singer?
As I said before music has already given me a lot. I've had the opportunity to work with many brilliant musicians and artists, both locally and abroad. I will never stop making music for it is my life, and since becoming a father to Liam three years ago, I honestly don't want much more other than to be respected and appreciated as a singer and artist by my peers. To have them believe in me would make me proud, as proud as I am of all that I have achieved in my career so far.