MTV Meets Jamie Lawson: "I Find It Difficult To Associate Myself With The Fact I'm Number One"
We caught up with the singer songwriter to chat One Direction and his "big musical duvet" debut album...
Jamie Lawson has had one of the quickest rises to fame we've seen in recent years, but this doesn't mean he hasn't been in the business for a very long time.
The 39-year-old singer songwriter is the first signing to Ed Sheeran's label, Gingerbread Man Records, and although 'Wasn't Expecting That' and his self-titled debut are on track to be very successful, he's been grafting in the music industry for a very long time.
We caught up with Jamie to discuss everything from his One Direction support slot, his sold-out tour and THAT drunken conversation with Ed Sheeran that got him signed...
How does it feel to be the first signing to Ed Sheeran's record label?
“A bit surreal. I thought it was kind of odd because Ed knows everybody. There are a lot of people he knows that are unsigned and probably desperate for this chance. I knew Ed, but only briefly, so when we reconnected and talked about it I was quite surprised.”
To promote your single 'Wasn't Expecting That' you’ve been to Australia, New Zealand and America before coming to the UK, what was the reasoning behind this?
“It was always Ed’s plan to start in Australia, because he thought that they would get it, and if we could have a hit there, we would probably have a hit everywhere. It’s the same way that Passenger started, he took off in Australia before anywhere else and I think Ed saw that and thought that it would work for us too.”
Doing interviews and promotion can be quite daunting, has having Ed with you helped ease you into it?
“Yeah it definitely has, it’s a lot easier mainly because Ed does like to chat, he will take over a question at some point, he doesn’t really mean to, but he does. I think the huge scale that it’s on, and because Ed is involved, obviously there is a lot of media attention. It is nice to have him there and to bounce of him.”
You've been a singer-songwriter for a very long time, the writing and performing side isn’t new to you. How many songs have you written overall and was it hard to select which ones you wanted to put on your new album?
“I don’t know how many I’ve written exactly, but I’ve written a lot, that’s fair to say. In terms of choosing songs for the album, I knew the single was going to be ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’, that was the main the focus, so there were certain songs that were drawn to that more than others. It actually came together quite easily in that sense.”
You've said the album is full of love songs. How did you want it to be received?
“I refer to it as a very chilled record, I guess it is quite calm, that was the idea. I wanted to make this very warm, open record that was inviting and would give some comfort. The last thing I wanted was for it to have any aggression, or any hard edges, I didn’t want any of that.
"There’s too much of that around already, and if you want that, there is plenty of choice. I wanted to make a softer record and I achieved that but I imagine it will get slated for the very same reason. I think people will miss my point in the sense of that I wanted to give it some warmth, love and kindness.”
If you could describe your sound in three words, what words would you choose?
“I would describe this album as a big musical duvet!”
You've said in interviews that when you first got the call about being signed you thought it was a bit of joke and that Ed was drunk. How did it feel the next day? Were you pinching yourself when you realised he wasn’t joking?
“Well yeah, Ed sent me a text the next day saying ‘I am serious’. I was like, oh okay, how’s this gonna work then? You’re the biggest star on the planet and you’d like to take my songs to the world, I’m not quite sure how this all happened. Ed’s very headstrong, he makes things happen."
"We went through the songs together, chose someone to work with and we went and did it! Even now I have a hard time comprehending what’s going on. I find it very difficult to associate myself with the fact that I’m number one in the album chart.”
You're currently doing a huge support slot with One Direction, how have the crowds been for you?
“I went into it with apprehension, as a solo act just playing some folky songs I did wonder how they were going to take to it but it’s been overwhelmingly positive. We do these meet and greets, just after I play my set and before the boys come on, and the queue for that has got longer and longer each time."
"I have just been so grateful to their fans because they really have taken to it and they seem to be enjoying it, which is fantastic. The thing with One Direction songs is that you can probably break them all down to an acoustic guitar and vocal.”
So last night’s show [October 20, SSE Arena Belfast] you basically headlined because Liam fell ill, how was that for you? Did you know what was happening?
“I was getting everyone ready, geeing them up for One Direction to come on, I’m the warm up guy that’s my job. Then I did the meet and greet as we normally do, and it was towards the end of that, the security guys just came and stopped it and we thought they were a bit abrupt. Then as we were taken backstage we get told that the show had been cancelled. It’s very unusual, that happens very rarely so he must have been very poorly, bless him.”
Have you had a chance to chat to the One Direction boys at all while on tour? Or has it all been very separate?
“To an extent it is a bit like that, those guys have got odd lives and they’re constantly working. Harry has come by quite a few times to say hello and to say thank you for being on the tour, he’s been very sweet. I’ve started to talk to him about things which is nice, and having watched them he seems like he’s got real charisma, he’s so funny on stage, he’s very natural which is fantastic to see."
"He came in to congratulate me about the album getting to number one which is really sweet and they had just knocked me off the top spot in the singles chart. I was asking him about if he still gets a buzz off it because he must have had quite a few number ones now but he still seems to be excited.”
You played at The Barfly in Camden this summer and Ed Sheeran joined you on stage. How did that come about? Was it all planned or did he surprise you?
“I knew he was in town because he was doing Wembley the next day, I suggested that he could come down to the gig, but not to sing! One of his first London gigs was in The Barfly, it was nice for him to sing there and then do Wembley the next night. We must have had 150-200 people there and then he went on to perform to 70,000 people. That’s a hell of a journey he’s done, he can be proud of himself.”
What vibe can fans expect when coming to see one of your sold out live shows?
“For these shows they’ll be pretty intimate because it’s just me, so it will be all these songs that you hear on the record, very stripped back as they were written. It will be me trying to invite you in and say hello. We’ll hang out!”