If you’ve heard about Ed Sheeran’s latest venture, a record label endearingly labelled ‘Gingerbread Records’ then you’ll know that his first signing was Plymouth born acoustic musician Jamie Lawson.
Influenced by Jeff Buckley and R.E.M, Jamie’s sound is not unfamiliar, but it is one that he has perfected through years of gigging and a passion for music. I caught up with Jamie whilst he was in a recording studio finishing work on his latest album, he’s been recording for 2 weeks, it’s his third album and he is excited about how the addition of instruments will change his sound and “flesh out and lift” his songs, something he thinks may come as a shock to longstanding fans of his music. He is “listening intently” to the album today and making final decisions about whether his tracks need anything extra to complete them, a necessary but somewhat “tedious task”.
Recently Jamie has been listening to a lot of old soul music including Otis Redding and Al Green, he says he loved the last Elbow single, it will be interesting to see if these influences come through in this album.
Jamie is headed to Brighton this week to play this year’s Great Escape Festival. He’s played in the city before at The Alternative Escape. This year with a very different looking schedule he’s unsure if he can stick around to catch all of the festival but is hoping he will get to see The Dunwells, a band he recommends checking out.
Having recently supported Ed on parts of his tour including Australia Jamie’s gigging experiences have varied massively, we chat about the staggering transition of playing at open mic nights to around 50 people to audiences of 17000! He explains that he doesn’t change much when performing to these larger audiences he just “tries to make it bigger”, open mic sessions have given him the opportunity to practice, practice. You might not have heard of Jamie and this may well because his presence on the music scene has been particularly prevalent in Ireland where his song ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ was being played straight from YouTube onto radio – something he wasn’t aware of at the time.
Whilst we are speaking about his recent stint in Australia Jamie tells me he received an email this week to announce that his single ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ has gone platinum in Australia and is currently number 2 in the charts. It’s no surprise that the song has racked up well over 700,000 plays on YouTube; it’s a beautiful, simple arrangement which pulls you in and touches your heart. He’s not yet revisited since this latest news so hasn’t yet felt the breadth of his overseas success but it doesn’t seem like that will faze him in anyway., he exudes gratitude for his situation and appreciates Ed’s kindness.
What strikes me most when speaking with Jamie is just how ‘normal’ he is, whatever that is. He’s not yet devised a rider of any sort, but we do share a joke about potential requests. He is happily still playing at small open mic nights in Manchester whenever he is able to. This appreciation and humble nature might just stem from time spent living in a caravan in Cornwall 8 years ago, where he explains he had to ‘cut everything down and keep only what was necessary’. Given the magnitude of his promising career and success overseas he is not complacent about what he needs to do to get heard in the UK and it sounds like he’s going to be a very busy man over the coming months.
Jamie is really excited about getting his new album out and ‘seeing what reaction that will get’, he’s set to be travelling a lot and hopes that his dream of playing Paris will come true.
I ask if he would change any part of his journey which has got him to this point, he pauses, it’s a tough question, he doesn’t but he does wish he had known success was going to come eventually.
We’re excited to see what the future holds for Jamie Lawson and watch his musical career flourish.
Jamie Lawson will be supporting Ed on his mammoth UK stadium tour in June
By Ellie Talebian