The history of popular music is often the history of amazing instrumentalists, arrangers and session musicians whose impressive musical skills we hear on the record, but because they are not the star of the show, or the face of the band – they go unrecognised in our musical history.
The story of Lawrence Preston‘s musical upbringing is a common one, as the grandson of a Pastor, he grew up in the 60’s watching his parents gospel band ‘The Sensational Travelers’ rehearse every Saturday night at his Grandfathers old Victorian Church in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jump to the very mature age of five years old and Lawrence was made the lead singer in a family group called ‘Fantastic Four’ who were dubbed as ‘the Gospel Jackson Five.’ Spending his teenage years trying out a variety of instruments, becoming skilled in lead guitar, trombone and, his true musical vocation, the bass.
At the age of 19, his skill with the instrument was spotted by Freddie Stone, founding member of Sly & the Family Stone, who encouraged Lawrence to try out for Dorothy Morrison’s (of “Oh Happy Day” fame) Gospel band. He played Bass for Dorothy for several years in the early 80’s, it’s here he developed his craft and his talent for the bass solo’s for which he is perhaps best known.
Having found his vocation, Preston found work throughout the 90s as a session musician for a number of Bay Area Gospel groups and artists including noted jazz pianist Ricardo Scales. In 1995 Lawrence established his own independent record label Gemstone Records and released his first single, entitled, “A Little Vanity” followed by his first full length album “And Now, Lawrence Preston” in 1997.
In the years that followed Lawrence became a skilled studio producer and musician, honing his craft and developing his own unique sound; an integration of Old School Soul and Gospel sensibilities with a contemporary powerhouse spin, this blend of music he confidently calls “Eclectic Soul“. And now, accompanied by significant industry excitement and extensive radio play, Lawrence Preston has released his latest single, Stood Up: with smooth vocals and his signature slap-bass sound, the gospel star and session musician is finally finding the platform and recognition he deserves: