Newly signed to Ed Sheeran's record label, Gingerbread Man Records, is UK native Jamie Lawson. His most popular work is his single, "Wasn't Expecting That". Recently, 901 Music had the opportunity to interview him before he joins Ed on his USA tour in September.
Nathan: Hey, Jamie. How are you?
Jamie: I’m good, thanks.
Nathan: I know for our readers, you’re going to be a new face, a new name to them. So, I’m excited to introduce you to them. But I wanted to ask you a few questions and get to know you a little bit, so I can pass it on to our readers and they can get to know you and your music as well.
So first thing when you think back to your history and growing up, when was the first time you realized that you had a real passion for doing music and that you wanted to do it as a career?
Jamie: In a way, I’m not sure I ever realized I wanted to do it as a career. It was something I did and I didn’t do anything else. So, it wasn’t a huge realization. It’s just I never took to doing anything else.
I started playing when I was 14 or 15 in a school band. I guess I went on to do a few other things like I went to art college after that, but it was always music that was the thing that made me happiest. And so, it makes sense to stick to that. The idea that I would make a living out of it was a bit farfetched at the time. I just kept at it I guess.
Nathan: Awesome! And what kind of music, artists or genre did you listen to growing up and how do you think some of those artists and some of those records influenced the music that you’re creating now on a daily basis?
Jamie: I guess I grew up listening to my brothers’ record collections. They had things like the Jackson 5 and the Smiths. I don’t know if you know, there’s a band called the Housemartins from the UK. They were all records that had great melody and great lyrics and often, quite upbeat music with quite sad lyrics. Especially Motown, it’s kind of famous, in a way, for its brilliant contradiction of things going on, which I didn’t even realize at the time.
I think that probably took some sense of the analogy with me growing up. And then I got into REM and Crowded House and bands like that, I think anyone with a great sense of melody and lyric. Those kinds of people.
Nathan: How did you get connected with Ed? How did you guys become friends?
Jamie: We met in a pub in south London where they do this acoustic night. There’s a whole folk acoustic scene in London. We were both doing that circuit. And eventually, our paths crossed. We were doing this gig together and we got on really well.
We kind of exchanged numbers and then lost touch straightaway because he went on to become very, very famous. And I didn’t. Somehow, four years later, after he’s released "Multiply", I get a call out of the blue saying, “Do you want to come and open up for Ed in Dublin for a small, tiny, secret gig that he’s doing?” It was a bit of a shock.
So I jumped on a plane to go and do that. We connected and we got on really well and we stayed in touch this time. He then offered me an opening slot on his UK/European tour. So I jumped on a tour bus with him. And all of his crew look after me very kindly.
And over that time, we talked about putting our record out. He said he’s been interested his little label thing saying he was going to go into that side of things. But I think maybe I was probably the first person to make him think quite seriously about it. So here we are now.
Nathan: That’s awesome.
Changing gears into the tour that’s coming up, how do you envision the US tour being different than the UK tour?
Jamie: I don’t really have any idea if it’s going to be any different. I would say from experiencing the UK and Europe and now in Australia, actually, they’re all very similar. They all have this love of Ed, but also, this love of music and the people that he brings along with him.
So, I just go up and do the gig I do as close as I can to the gig that I usually do in a small venue. It’s probably a big arena, so you have to shift gears a little bit. But it’s important to be as close to what you’re doing, proximal.
Nathan: For sure. Are there any US cities that you’re excited about going to and playing just personally, these one or two cities stick out from the rest, “I’ve always wanted to play in so-and-so city.”?
Jamie: Well, I wanted to go to Nashville for a long time. It’s probably the home of a lot of great, great songwriters. It’s a shame I don’t get to come for too long. I think we’re only there a day or two days.But yeah, I’m very excited about playing in Nashville.
I think I’ll say Chicago as well. That would be cool. And Atlanta.
Nathan: Yeah. Absolutely! Well, hey, I appreciate your time. I’m excited to see you in Nashville. Best of luck to you!
You can check out Jamie's music on iTunes, or see him play live with Ed Sheeran in Nashville in September by picking up tickets here.
Photo credit: Pip