Philip Lawrence (songwriter)

Philip Martin Lawrence II (born July 17, 1979[1][2][3]) is a producer, entrepreneur, voice actor, dancer, actor and songwriter best known for his work with the songwriting and production team The Smeezingtons, as well as with Bruno Mars.[4][5] He has won eight Grammy Awards for his work. Lawrence's latest recording project, 24K Magic, won at the Grammys in the categories Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance.[5] Lawrence is co-writer and co-producer on the majority of the songs released under these ventures. He also sings vocal with The Hooligans band who tours with Mars.

Philip Lawrence
Birth namePhilip Martin Lawrence II
Born (1979-07-17) July 17, 1979
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
  • Songwriter
  • record producer
  • dancer
  • actor
  • entrepreneur
Years active2004–present
Associated acts
  • Bruno Mars
  • The Hooligans
  • The Smeezingtons
  • Shampoo Press & Curl
  • Jean-Yves Ducornet
  • Michael Diskint

Lawrence was first widely recognized in 2010 when he received five nominations at that year's Grammy Awards, including his first nomination for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Between 2010 and 2012 he received ten Grammy nominations, and in 2013 won his first Grammy award with Bruno Mars for “Best Pop Vocal Album” for Unorthodox Jukebox.[5] In the same year, he also released his own solo album, Letters I Never Sent. He followed by participating in the second-largest viewed Super Bowl Halftime Show performing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, receiving 115.3 million viewers.[6] He returned again to the Super Bowl in 2016, performing parallel to Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Coldplay for another Halftime Show performance. Along with composing and producing hits for Bruno Mars, Lawrence has produced or composed for Adele, Flo Rida, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, CeeLo Green and others.[7]

Lawrence appeared in the Blue Sky Studios animated film Rio 2 as the character and voice of “Felipe”. He also wrote, performed, and produced the song “It’s a Jungle Out Here”, as well as co-wrote “Welcome Back”, for the soundtrack performed by Bruno Mars.[8]

Lawrence is building Ziast Media Group, a multimedia venture that combines music, film, television and theater production in one space. In 2016, he purchased Record Plant recording studio in Los Angeles, California.

Life and career

Early life

Philip Martin Lawrence was born on July 17, 1979 in Evansville, Indiana, United States, to Philip Lawrence Sr. and Cheryl Lawrence. As the son of a gospel choir director and a radio DJ, he began performing when he was four years old and started writing songs during his teen years.[9] He began taking songwriting seriously in college, and developed his core entertainment skills during his time as a performer at Disney World Florida.[7]

Meeting and partnership with Bruno Mars

Later, in California, Lawrence worked various jobs as he attempted to break through as a songwriter and performer. During this time he began establishing himself and building his musical network, which lead to his meeting with Bruno Mars and composing songs with him and other artists.[7]

Over the course of the next year, Lawrence and Mars began working together writing songs for themselves and other artists. Their first successful songwriting project with a recognized artist was 2008's “Long Distance” by Brandy. Shortly afterwards they co-wrote Flo Rida's “Right Round”, which proved to be their breakout project and resulted in many more production opportunities and acclaim in the industry.[7] Not long after gaining their foothold in the industry, they met and partnered with Ari Levine to form the songwriting and production team, The Smeezingtons.

The Smeezingtons

The Smeezingtons were a songwriting and record production team consisting of Lawrence, Mars and Ari Levine. From 2009-2015, the trio were responsible for more than 16 Gold and Platinum records, some reaching 5x Platinum.

Lawrence met producer Ari Levine and was the first guest at Ari's new recording studio in Hollywood, Ca., known as LevCon Recording Studio. Lawrence later brought Mars to the studio and the three of them hit it off quickly, and they soon began writing songs and producing music together.[10] Over the course of the next 6 years, the team wrote and produced chart topping hits for a variety of musicians including Flo Rida, Matisyahu, B.o.B., CeeLo Green, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Adam Lambert, Adele and others. During this time, the trio also built the foundations for Bruno Mars and the Hooligans.

The trio has since separated amicably, with Lawrence and Mars continuing on with Bruno Mars and the Hooligans, and forming a new production company named Shampoo, Press & Curl with Christopher Brody Brown.[11]

Bruno Mars and the Hooligans

Lawrence has played a key role in Bruno Mars and the Hooligans since their inception, serving as songwriter, producer, composer and lead singer. Since 2010, their music has received worldwide commercial and critical success, winning a number of awards.

Their first album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, was the group's first official introduction to the public, and was released to commercial and critical success. The album was written and produced by The Smeezingtons and netted the group's first three Grammy nominations, including a nomination for Album of the Year. Between 2010-2012, they completed their first world tour, The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour, which gave the group the opportunity for mass exposure in multiple countries across the world.

For their second album, Unorthodox Jukebox, The Smeezingtons once again handled the songwriting and production duties. Their sophomore effort was also their first opportunity to branch out into more varied genres of music, which ultimately allowed them to reach a wider ranging audience. This was an important factor for the group, as they felt it was necessary to have the freedom to record in whichever styles they were inspired by.[12] The success of this album earned the group their first Grammy Award in 2013 for Best Pop Vocal Album. The world tour for Unorthodox Jukebox was the Moonshine Jungle Tour, which further spread their worldwide exposure and secured a $156 million box office gross over the course of the tour. It also marked the group's transition from theaters and ballrooms to stadiums and arenas, due to their increasing popularity and the success of their debut tour.

Their third album, 24k Magic marked the group's first album with the new songwriting and production team Shampoo, Press & Curl, consisting of Lawrence, Mars and Christopher Brody Brown. This has been the most successful album of the franchise, and swept the 2018 Grammy Awards, taking home wins for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance. Along with their success at the Grammy Awards, the group also completed their most successful world tour to date, the 24k Magic World Tour, which has grossed more than $350 million worldwide.

In early 2018, Lawrence left the 24K Magic World Tour tour due to an injury.[13] He did not return to this tour, instead focusing on his other creative and business endeavors. He also wanted to be present to spend more time with his family and young children. He is married to stylist, dancer, and fashion designer Urbana Chapa Lawrence. He credits his wife as the inspiration for many of the songs he has written. They have four children and currently reside in Los Angeles.


Lawrence has composed and produced in a variety of musical genres and styles throughout his career, such as Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop, R&B, Reggae, Funk, Soul, Folk. He attributes his abilities to his upbringing in a very musical home.[9][14]


Main article: Bruno Mars discography

Studio Albums

  • Letters I Never Sent (2013)

Tours and residencies



  • European tour with Travie McCoy (2010) (European select dates)

Opening act



  1. "Philip Martin Lawrence II - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  2. Mars, Bruno [@BrunoMars] (July 17, 2013). "Everyone wish @philsmeeze a Happy Bday!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on December 7, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2013 via Twitter.
  3. Levine, Josh (January 9, 2010). "Hot producers who (heart) beats". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  4. "Philip Lawrence". March 17, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  5. "60th Annual GRAMMY Awards". May 22, 2018. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  6. "Bruno Mars' Super Bowl Halftime Show Attracts Record Audience of 115.3 Million". Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  7. "Philip Lawrence: Bruno Mars' Right Hand Man Goes Solo « American Songwriter". September 4, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  8. "Rio 2". Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  9. "Interview: Philip Lawrence - talks new Album, Smeezingtons / Hooligans, Fedora hat collection... - - New R&B; Music Video, R&B; Soul News Interview, Emerging Undiscovered Unsigned Talent". 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  10. "The Smeezingtons - THR Names Music's 35 Top Hitmakers". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  11. "Who Is Bruno Mars' Mystery Producer Shampoo Press & Curl?". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  12. "Bruno Mars to Release 'Unorthodox Jukebox' Dec. 11: Exclusive". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  13. lawrence, philip (18 February 2018). "...injuries always happen at the perfect time missing being on stage with my guys but…". Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  14. "Q&A: Philip Lawrence Talks Recording Debut Album With Bruno Mars". 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
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