How losing a brother to cancer inspired an album: My Story. Pt 1 ~ Monkey Bars.

What’s your first memory? Mine’s falling face first off a set of monkey bars, inadvertently piercing a tooth shaped hole in my lip. I was four, and at the time it was the most painful experience I’d ever had.

I was born two minutes after my twin brother Dan. Two minutes isn’t a lot of time over the course of a whole life, most of us spend longer than that brushing our teeth (or should do). I’ve always wondered what it must have been like for him to spend one hundred percent of those first few minutes without me. I mean, realistically, he was probably crying and weeing and screaming, but having been with me for almost nine months prior to that moment, he must have felt a disconnection, a longing to be next to me again.

Anything before the age of about ten feels like a weird hazy dream from some 90’s b-movie to me. I remember that period fondly but with little clarity and definition. It was only around the age of eleven that I remember feeling more self aware, conscious of who I was in this big world. The 9/11 attacks happened days after my tenth birthday and there dawned a period of time where my juvenile naivety was slowly eroded. Growing up is a disappointment.

High school sucked! Okay well, a lot of high school sucked. It’s not hard to stand out when you’re a twin, especially when you like spending time together and doing similar things. Truth is Dan and I were complete opposites in a lot of ways. No literally, we’re mirror twins, which happens when the original embryo splits perfectly down the middle like a book. I’m left handed, he was right handed. He was left footed, I’m right footed. The crown of our hair even goes the opposite way. Similar but different, and isn’t that true of so many of us, that we can enjoy the same things but view them in completely different ways. It was certainly true for us as we navigated those turbulent teenage years. Growing up is confusing.

At some point in our teens we delved into music. Without realising it at that age, music had a pull on me in a way that nothing else did. I would listen to everything from Eva Cassidy to Phil Collins, classical to rock and find a tangible connection with it, something that has never left me.

I wanted to be a drummer, but both our cousin and best mate had just started learning those, so guitar was the next option. I remember staring at our Church Ministers son as he wielded his bright red stratocaster and thinking, ‘I want to do that.’ Dan picked up the bass and we formed a band with the two drummers (yep — two!). Honestly, we made some pretty awful music, but during that time I started to develop an ear for melody and a slightly coarse approach to lyric writing. We played gigs anywhere we were allowed to and began recording DIY demos. It led us to some really interesting places and people, eventually recording a few E.P’s in our late teens and playing some pretty cool shows. Growing up is an adventure.

It was around this time too that I met my future wife, Mel and Dan and I started to dabble in other creative outlets. It was the beginning of an era I remember warmly, we were finding our stride and the big wide world was there, ready for us to explore.

Pt. 2 ~ Coming on October 28th 2021.

I’m currently crowdfunding to make my debut album ‘O Wide World’ ~ my story of finding hope after losing my brother to cancer. This album is full of big indie folk rock songs that will speak to your soul.

Follow this link to help make it happen!

Keep on moving.
~ Ben

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Ben Lawrence

Ben Lawrence

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I’m Ben, a songwriter and filmmaker from Norwich, UK. I’m currently on a journey to record an album of songs written after losing my brother to cancer.