Brooklyn Duo rose to prominence in the music world in 2014 after releasing classical interpretations of two popular pop songs, Shakira'sEmpire and John Legend'sAll of Me. Marnie and Patrick Laird, a married couple who met in 2006 and married in 2012, have been playing piano and cello respectively, for a long time. Patrick and Marnie both attended prestigious music schools and worked as professional musicians for a few years before deciding to release the covers that catapulted them to prominence.
Today, Brooklyn Duo releases classical-pop mashups on their YouTube channel while also staying true to their classical roots; in 2016, they started another YouTube channel called Brooklyn Classical, where they perform strictly classical music with high profile guests and live performances! Hailed as “the cello and piano power couple,” their covers being used on multiple TV shows, and artists of whom they’ve done covers of recognizing their talent, Brooklyn Duo has shown the world how the genres of pop and classical can be masterfully combined.
Brooklyn Duo is a musical force to be reckoned with, and they're not slowing down any time soon!Heartstrings, their latest album available exclusively through Legendary Vocals, is one you won't want to miss. This CD is truly a delight for the whole family, with timeless classics likeBlackbird andLa Vie en Rose, as well as songs that will soothe your soul likeHallelujah andAve Maria.
Where did the name “Brooklyn Duo” come from?
We were living in Brooklyn when we started making our videos and we needed a name…we aren’t very creative!
We see Marnie grew up in Vancouver, Canada and Patrick in New Jersey. How did the two of you meet?
We were both performing at a classical summer music festival in Maine and ended up meeting through music-making.
What is your favorite track on the CD and why is it your favorite?
MaybeTrue Colors, because it’s our daughter’s favorite and she asks for it every night when she goes to bed.
What is the most challenging song on the CD for you to play?
ProbablyCanon in D. When we arranged it, we tried to include most of the lines from the original score (which was written for 3 violins and basso continuo). As a result the piano often has 3 or 4 lines that are a little tricky to play together, and the cello is playing a part that was originally written for violin. So there are some passages that are a bit awkward.
What song are you most excited to perform?
Shallow is a really fun one to play. It has such a beautiful, introverted opening and then grows into a huge chorus. It highlights both instruments so well.
Do you ever write music together?
Our arrangement process usually starts with Marnie writing a first draft of the arrangement, and then we sit down together and play it and figure out what works and what doesn’t. When we make arrangements for larger groups like Brooklyn Duo plus string quartet, Patrick takes the lead on the string writing and then we fill in the piano part last.
What is your favorite song to perform together?
We have an arrangement ofBohemian Rhapsody that we like to close our sets with…everyone always ends up singing along and it’s really fun.
Marnie, how did you decide you wanted to attend Julliard since you hail from Canada?
When Patrick and I met, we began dating long-distance. Soon after, though, I decided to continue my studies, and I set my sights on Juilliard, which is one of the best music schools in the world. It also happens to be in New York City, where Patrick lived at the time. Juilliard also has an excellent collaborative piano Master’s program that I was interested in. I was very excited to be accepted and I enjoyed my time studying there and living in New York!
Patrick, do you still perform and write music with Break of Reality?
Between Brooklyn Duo, having two kids, and of course the pandemic, Break of Reality has taken a bit of a back seat these days. But we did just release an album in collaboration with the famous Turkish composer Toygar Isikli…you can find our music videos on Break of Reality and Toygar’s YouTube channels.
What’s coming up next from the Brooklyn Duo?
We’re working on editing a bunch of videos that we made with our friends, the world-renowned Dover Quartet, and those will come out this fall. We’re also working on an album of lullabies!