The Edit

Bill Laurance, award-winning  genre-redefining musician

Belong to the legend
By turning his back on pop music and following his own creative instincts, Bill Laurance discovered a distinctive sound that draws on different genres and defies categorisation – winning him multiple Grammy awards and resonating with people around the world.

As an outstanding pianist, producer and composer, Bill Laurance’s talents seem to know no bounds. His unique vibe has a timeless appeal, one that cuts through traditional musical categories. By finding fresh ways to interpret sound, he not only forged his own path and found his authentic self, but he also tapped into a feeling that others want to be part of. 

Music is a way of life

Bill’s memories of his childhood piano lessons aren’t the usual repetitive scales and relentless arpeggios. His first music teacher played ragtime, and it made all the difference to his lessons and his life – instilling a sense of joy right from the beginning.

It was all about having a good time at the piano. I'll never forget seeing my teacher play for the first time – he transformed the room.

Bill Laurance

Yet as joyful as those early music lessons were, achieving the level of international success Bill has today – playing hundreds of concerts around the world, working with greats like Herbie Hancock and David Crosby, and winning five Grammys with his band, Snarky Puppy – obviously hasn’t come without a lot of hard work. 


Bill started piano lessons at seven. At nine he performed in London’s Union Chapel, and by 14 he had a regular gig playing jazz in a Soho restaurant. While his friends were going raving, he was making jazz music. For a time, he tried making pop music, but soon realised he would never feel fulfilled until he was creating his own kind of music. That sound draws on jazz, rock, classical, electronica and grittier contemporary grooves to create something previously unknown.

If I’d carried on down the pop path, maybe I'd have got some recognition, but it wouldn’t have been sincere. Once I stopped trying to fit into a certain mould, I found a sound that was really me.

Bill Laurance

Starting out

While studying music at the University of Leeds, Bill met American musician Michael League and together they formed instrumental band Snarky Puppy. Their early days were spent playing house parties and funding their own US tours, from which he would return out of pocket but having had the time of his life. Those formative experiences taught him a lot about integrity and persistence. For years the band got very little recognition, yet went on to win five Grammy awards.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you keep searching for what you're looking for, then eventually, inevitably, you should find it. It’s just about whether you keep looking.

Bill Laurance

Chance encounter

Although he has met and played with many of his idols, it was a chance encounter with Stevie Wonder that gave him a true purpose. Stevie told him, “Musicians are the glue of society, with responsibility to bring love and unity to the planet.” To this day, Bill still gets out of bed thinking about the power and potential music possesses. 

Once you get beyond making a beautiful song and getting recognition for it, a more important sense of any kind of legacy is the idea of being able to bring a kind of unity to the planet.

Bill Laurance

Music really is the one universal language we all have in common. When Bill’s performing, he feels a kind of ethereal power and a sense that magic can happen. As audiences around the world continue to resonate with his genre-blending vibe, we trust he’ll retain that touch of magic and let us continue to enjoy his music for many years to come.

Bill Laurance’s inspiring story is part of our Belong to the Legend series. Look out for more unique stories coming soon.