Ira Lawrence played a haunted electric mandolin that belonged to his estranged grandmother… until 2017, when it broke beyond repair at a sleepaway camp in rural nowhere. By day, he taught songwriting and recording with 8-18 year olds. By night, he adopted an Autocrooning Alterego called Mr. Sunglasses. CAMP FAMOUS, is an accidentally invented, purposefully poptimistic, tastefully cheesy, Autotune experiment for the end-of-summer. Recorded alone in the basement of a theater with no ghostlight, after the campers were asleep, CAMP FAMOUS is a direct product of it’s cheerily eerie environment and sounds absolutely opposite to the emotive post-folk that haunted Ira Lawrence’s two albums and lone Ep.
The summer camp was populated by sporty kids in David Bowie shirts who’d never heard Ziggy Stardust. Camp radio playlists were regulated tightly with “STICK TO THE STATUS QUO” from High School Musical in heavy rotation.
“I was mobbed by children daily. I couldn’t go anywhere without ten kids at a time SCREAMING OR SINGING AT ME. I was the first music teacher at the camp in decades. I felt like Bieber, but it was also very disorienting and sometimes I wanted to hide. Mr. Sunglasses was my escape. My way of privately dealing with the isolation of accidental fame and my beloved broken mandolin. I endeavored to be a radio friendly unit-shifter for kids who might never know Nirvana.” Ira Lawrence, 2018
Influenced by Beyonce, Fever Ray, Max Martin, Johnny Marr & Maus, Katy Perry, Postal Service, Bruce Springsteen, & the suicide of Chester Bennington,
Mr. Sunglasses sings low-key anthemic Autotune-summersongs about masks, ghosts, and self doubt for children. The first single, “United Stasis”, muses on complacency in the face of political uncertainty.
GHOST ROOM is an immersive theater piece where audiences conjure spirits and receive life advice from the dead. Ira Lawrence portrays a masked ghost interpreter and Siobhan O'loughlin is his supernatural spirit. GHOST ROOM was performed at the former Vanity Fair offices for the 2017 Chashama Gala. The video is directed by Cole Smothers and features "Lurking From The Sidelines" - the first single from Ira Lawrence's sophomore Haunted Mandolin album, YOUNG & PARANOID.