Patrick Lawrence works hard to build his brand as a singer/songwriter. “I’m doing all I can using social media,” says Patrick, who has 12.7 thousand followers on his Instagram page. “I started making recordings at home and playing them for friends and family on Facebook. Surprisingly, I gained a following that way.”
Raised in Belington, West Virginia, Patrick was born legally blind and with a condition known as albinism. That didn’t slow the rambunctious youngster down. “I had a great childhood. My love of music came from my grandparents, who I spent a lot of time with. They liked classic country and bluegrass, so I listened to a lot of that kind of music as a child.”
While in elementary school, Patrick joined the marching band and was drawn to the drums, especially the snare drum. His Uncle Greg bought him a drum set, and one of his sister’s friends came to the house and taught Patrick to play. Soon he was picking things up and creating drumbeats. As a teen, Patrick got his first guitar and learned to play. “We had a classic country radio station at my high school where I worked,” he says. “I started listening to artists like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Dwight Yoakam, and I tried to sing and play like them.” Yoakam became a musical role model for young Patrick. “I think Dwight Yoakam’s song, ‘Guitars and Cadillacs’ from the album of the same name may be the best country music song of all time!”
As a disc jockey on the school’s radio station, Patrick realized he wasn’t shy.
“I discovered that I loved talking into a microphone,” he says. “And I loved the music. As a person who can’t see very well, I tend to focus on the sense of hearing. I pick up all kinds of nuances in songs that many people may not hear.”
Patrick began playing with jam bands and progressed to open mic nights and fundraisers. “I have wanted to be in the music business for a long time,” he says. “I began recording myself and putting my music on social media.” That exposure led to a recording contract with Country Roads Records. He later signed with Nashville Entertainment Weekly Records, an independent label located on the infamous Music Row in Nashville.
Patrick describes his style of music as bluegrass and outlaw country music. Known for his unique style, he prefers to perform his original songs, although he will sometimes perform covers during a show. “I only record my original music,” states Patrick. “I enjoy songwriting. It is something that seems to come naturally to me.”
Like many other creative souls, Patrick says he often comes up with tunes while in the shower. “I’m not sure why; maybe it’s because when I’m in the shower, I’m not thinking of anything else.” Patrick wrote his first songs as a pre-teen. “I’m kind of embarrassed now, but I started out writing rap lyrics. In high school, I took a creative writing class, and we had to write a song. That was a turning point for me. I have always liked poetry, and I think poetry and songwriting go hand in hand.”
Patrick considers himself a competitive songwriter. “When I hear a song I like, I want to write one like it, but with my own twist on it. I almost always like my song better! I’m often inspired by other songwriters and songs as well. For example, my song ‘The Storm Song’ was inspired by Porter Wagoner’s ‘Big Wind.’ I heard his song, and I wanted to write one better than that. My song doesn’t sound at all like his, but Porter’s song definitely inspired me to write my song.” Patrick was recently named a finalist for the best outlaw song in the Winter 2022 World Songwriting Awards for his song, “The Storm.”
The singer/songwriter gets inspired the most when something good happens in his life. “I am not a disciplined songwriter,” he muses. “I tend to write when the inspiration hits.
For example, I got the idea to write ‘Blackjack Jay’ from a friend who gambled too much. He didn’t like that his experiences inspired my song, but he ended up liking it.” Patrick says the lyrics come first, and then he gets his guitar to come up with the melody.
While focusing on building his music career, two eye surgeries sidelined Patrick. “I hope to get things going again soon,” he says. “I’m looking to play at churches and fundraisers but would love to book some festivals for more exposure.” Patrick is thankful for the support he gets from his family and fiancé, Sara. “They have all been super supportive of my dream of being a professional musician, and I am so thankful for that.”