Lawrence Lebo Biography
“I’m an OLD SCHOOL GIRL, that’s the way I roll!”
Lawrence Lebo is classic Old School Blues! In the title track of her sixth release OLD SCHOOL GIRL Lebo writes “I’m an Old School Girl from head to toe”… and indeed she is! From the sultry wail of “You’ve Got A Secret” to the flirty laid-back groove of “Give Me A Try”, Lawrence delves deep into soul-blues territory reminiscent of the classic Stax records style. Ms. Lebo picked Rich Wenzel at Ardent Audio Productions to mix and master the CD for his familiarity of Old School ways of record making. Pulsing with classic Hammond B-3 organ and rock-solid bass lines, OLD SCHOOL GIRL is sure to please.
Lawrence is a consummate performer and entertainer who takes her audiences along on a magical journey. In their live concert review MUSIC CONNECTION MAGAZINE wrote, “Ms. Lebo took complete control of the stage. She was a comfortable performer who worked her audience well, often at times offering humorous as well as educational explanations for her choices. She had style, spunk and charisma! This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.”.
Daughter of a Sears & Roebuck shoe salesman, Lawrence grew up in a middle-class suburb of Los Angeles, far away from the entertainment industry. She worked her way into the business the hard way, by singing in bands in every gritty little dive bar, all while she struggled as a single mother. She isn't rich. She isn't privileged. She isn't related to anyone famous. She's never had the help of an established record label or an agent. She does it all on her own and she stays in the game by relying on her talent. While her recordings receive airplay internationally, raising a family kept Lawrence's performance schedule mostly local. She is well known and loved in Los Angeles. The LA WEEKLY awarded her BEST BLUES SINGER in their famous annual BEST OF LA 2014 special addition. The LA WEEKLY wrote "Lebo remains one of this country's greatest living blues singers".
Lawrence has always relied on the strength of her music. In a career that has lasted several decades Lawrence was a successful self-releasing artist long before any artist ever dared consider doing such a thing! In 1989, before everyone had a computer and access to the internet she released her debut EP on her label On The Air Records from the kitchen of her tiny rent-control apartment, using just a typewriter and her Rolodex!!
All of Lawrence’s body of work contains the element of Old School. Her artist journey began with her critically acclaimed debut Ep titled “LAWRENCE LEBO and her LITTLE BIG BAND:DON‘T CALL HER LARRY ”. The debut release garnered national and international airplay, press, and landed her a feature on NPR’s WEEKEND EDITION SHOW. It was later re-released on CD as "DON'T CALL HER LARRY, VOL. 1".
The success of her first endeavor sparked her second release "DON'T CALL HER LARRY, VOL. 2". She swings, scats and moans her way through both originally penned compositions, and originally arranged classics that run the gamut from rocking electric blues, acoustic swing, to contemporary jazz.
In “DON’T CALL HER LARRY, VOL. 3 : AMERICAN ROOTS” Lawrence continues to explore the depths of American Blues & Roots music, reinterpreting her songbook in a duet setting, featuring herself and bassist Denny Croy (Lawrence Lebo, Doug MacLeod, Fiona Boyes, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Moon Martin). Stripped down to an organic setting, the stellar vocalist creates vivid imagery with her texturally diverse vocal styling. In an age where singers are manipulated with technology and slick production, Lawrence goes bar-room-raw, minimal, and shows us exactly what she can do. CASHBOX MAGAZINE wrote, “With equal parts Etta James and Bonnie Raitt, Lawrence Lebo’s voice is made for the ages. She would have been packing them in 60 years ago at the most happening spots out there, and her style should translate into quick chart dominance today.”
Lawrence followed with, “THE BEST OF DON’T CALL HER LARRY: BLUES MIX”. Here she handpicks the best of her blues tracks from her three previous releases and melds them into one body of work. A Blues DJ favorite, UK disc jockey Ian McHugh, host of Blues Is Truth wrote, "She (Lebo) has a way of phrasing a line that could never be anyone else, her voice sliding into and out of notes in a way that’s amazingly blue, microtonal in the way that people like Muddy Waters were ". And BLUES BLAST MAGAZINE wrote "Lawrence possesses one of the better female blues voices out there today."
Ms. Lebo has worked long and hard at developing her craft. In addition to her more than 25 years of experience as an accomplished vocalist, band leader and songwriter, Lawrence was driven to expand her education. In the 1980s, she had attended the vocal program at Grove School of Music in Los Angeles, California. With this educational background, a steady performance schedule and raising family, she returned to traditional academia in 2000, earning an Associate of Arts degree in music at Santa Monica College, and then transferring to UCLA to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2005. "An education at UCLA was not something I could afford,” says Lawrence. But hard work paid off. She received two of UCLA’s highest honors, including a Regents Scholar and a Gold Shield Alumni Scholar, that covered her entire tuition.She graduated from UCLA with Latin Honors and became the first in her family to graduate from higher education! Periodically she teaches a Blues singing techniques workshop at world famous McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, as well as at other venues in conjunction with her concerts.
So … sit back, pop a cold one and take a magic carpet ride along with this OLD SCHOOL GIRL ..…… Lawrence Lebo! Let the journey begin!