Ahwatukee Foothills resident Beth Lawrence has performed and written music around the world, including on Broadway, and has 12 award-winning CDs to her credit, but she said her real claim to fame is making a difference in people’s lives through music.
“I’m truly passionate about changing people’s lives through music,” she said. “I see what a great impact it has on people and I love that. That’s so fulfilling to me.”
Lawrence began her own career in music 38 years ago. Her first professional job was at Disney World, signing with a group outside the castle. From there she went on tour with a Disney group, mostly across Latin America. When it was over, she returned to Los Angeles and began singing on songwriter demos.
“It was cool because I would go in one day and do a country tune for a writer and the next day I’d do a Motown style,” she said. “It was really interesting.”
Lawrence said she was always a writer. At some point she got the courage to ask some songwriters if they would work with her to create music for her lyrics. She began to learn the ins and outs of the craft and it led to many opportunities.
One of the more notable opportunities was the chance to collaborate writing the music for the first Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe, “Marilyn, An American Fable.” Lawrence said watching NBC’s show “Smash” is a bit surreal for her, since she feels like she lived it.
“You can’t compare the experience,” she added. “I think I was never as stressed but never as exhilarated as when I did that show.”
Lawrence recalls directors coming to her and her partner and asking them to come up with completely new songs in 15 minutes. That kind of pressure was terrifying and at the same time it taught her so much about the craft.
From Broadway Lawrence went on to tour with many different acts and spent a lot of time performing in lounges on the Vegas strip. She also began teaching voice lessons and developed her own method for getting her students out of their shell.
Lawrence recently moved to Ahwatukee Foothills and is now partnering with the Kyrene School District to share her knowledge with the community.
“When you’re a working musician you have to do whatever work you can get, but that’s been really great for me,” she said. “It has really let me see and learn how to do all of these things. If someone is in the studio and having a problem I can go in and say, ‘Let’s do this with the mike,’ or change the settings. I’ve had a 38-year education in performing and singing. It’s been exciting and wonderful. I’m really happy now to teach other people all the little things that I know.”
Lawrence will be teaching four new enrichment classes for middle school students. The classes will focus on building confidence in performing, auditioning, singing and writing. The classes include “Be a Diva;” “Teen Songwriting 101;” “Teen Idol” and “Seven Easy Steps for Singing Like a Pro,” which is based on a book Lawrence wrote about her method of singing.
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