Introducing

Interview: UK Singer/Songwriter Jamie Lawson talks ‘An Acoustic Round’ Tour, Music, Appearing on Neighbours, being Signed to Ed Sheeran’s Label Gingerbread Man Records and More

Jamie Lawson is a UK singer/songwriter based in Plymouth and was the first artist to be signed to Ed Sheeran’s record label Gingerbread Man Records in 2015.

Later that year Lawson released his self-titled third album, featuring the international hit Wasn’t Expecting That, which has to this day been streamed over 250 million times. The album hit #1 in 26 countries. Since then, Jamie has won an Ivor Novello Award for ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’, gone on a stadium tour with Ed Sheeran playing 52 dates throughout Europe and continued to tour extensively, most recently as support on the critically acclaimed Deacon Blue UK Tour although he had to miss many shows due to Covid.

This May, Lawson embarks on an Acoustic Round UK tour alongside Gemma Hayes, Richard Walters & Laura Zocca.

Much like a songwriters round, each artist will perform a song, followed by the next act, the show will move around from artist to artist, like a tag team of traditional signing troubadours! The show will feature well known folk & acoustic pop songs to sing along to plus original brand new music from each of the acts.

Purchase tickets here

We caught up with Jamie to discuss this tour as well as talk about his music, career and much more.

Hi Jamie – How are you?

Tired but very good thanks.

How has your week been?

Not too bad, managed to write a new song so that’s always a bonus.

Did your son turn two this week? If so did he have a good birthday?

Thank you for noticing, yes he did. We all sang Happy Birthday to him, he had no idea what was happening and he cried. It was all a bit too much for him. Apart from that it great, although we did take him to a soft play centre and it was closed. Ah well.

So are you really thinking of doing an off cuts album? If so, is there a stand out song that you are particularly eager for people to hear that you have never released?

You’re very well informed. It’s definitely an option and I’ve started putting a playlist together of songs that might work for it. They go back to the first album so it turns out I have quite a few to chose from. There might even be an option of ‘Off Cuts Vol 2 and even Vol 3!

Some might think if a song didn’t make the record in the first place then surely it’s not good enough but some songs just don’t fit the album you’re making and that’s why they get left off. Don’t Be Afraid Of Love, Considerable Care and Can’t Get Over Getting Over You are a few of my favourites.

How hard or easy is it for the selection process of an album or EP?

At the moment I’m working on Album No.6. I’ve written a lot of songs for it, over 50 or so and they seem to have fallen into two different styles. The choice is either to have those two styles sit side by side or make two albums. The styles seem to be gentle, acoustic, folky and then more upbeat, tempo, indie-ish. I haven’t yet found a satisfying way of sitting them together so I think it’ll be two separate albums, starting with the folkier one.

So let’s talk about the acoustic round tour that will be happening in May – What can you tell us about it? Is it similar to a songwriters round?

It’s going to feature Gemma Hayes, Richard Walters, Laura Zocca and me all on stage at the same time, sharing stories about the songs, very similar to a songwriters round. As a touring idea I don’t think it’s been done too often before so it’s very exciting to be a part of. I’m a huge fan of the other artists so it’s literally touring heaven for me.

https://youtu.be/Y-lI_tgQMMk

How do you decide who you want on this tour and so on?

It was really about finding a line up that would work well together musically. I think we’re going to try a few more of these other the next few years and this is a brilliant way to start and showcase the idea.

How do you decide where to play? Obviously there are the obvious places such as London but what about other places?

This is mainly down to the agents, but you do need to find venues that are accommodating to the idea of the tour. They’ll mostly be seated shows because the shows will be quite gentle, intimate and hopefully very relaxed. You do your best to get around the country but it’s not always possible. We haven’t managed to get to Scotland on this tour which is a real shame, although we are still working on that.

Will you be playing songs you don’t often get to play?

I haven’t worked out what I’ll play yet. I’ll be looking for songs that have a good story behind them or that I can talk about in some way. There a few songs that I have no recollection of writing at all so unfortunately they won’t be getting played!

What do you enjoy about these acoustic rounds the most? Especially being on stage with fellow artists and friends?

It’s a really supportive idea. It takes a lot to do a tour on your own. It’s hard work, there’s a lot of driving involved, it can be very lonely and more often than not you end up losing money. This way we’re all in one van and we all get to sing our songs to people that may not have heard our songs before. Fans of Gemma’s may not be aware of my songs and fans of Richard’s may not have heard Laura play. This is a brilliant way of introducing our songs to like minded music lovers.

How do the crowds differ on this type of show?

I’ve only done one show like this before and the audience seemed to really enjoy the format. For me personally it doesn’t feel very different audience wise. I’ve always been very lucky to have a listening audience and I think that’s what these types of shows are great for.

How have the last two years been for you as I understand you were unfortunate to get Covid?

How did (apart from health wise) that affect your life? Did I read you were on tour with Deacon Blue at the time?

I did and I was. I tested positive on the 2nd day of the tour and had to head straight home and isolate. I missed almost half of all the shows due to Covid in one way or another.

It’s been  a very tough couple of years and the music industry, especially the live sector, is very far from being out of the woods yet. People are still, understandably, very nervous about going back out to live shows. I’m hoping by the time our tour comes around things will have settled down a fair bit and we can get back out and celebrate together.

https://youtu.be/zLzPbQrtntw

I have to ask what it was like being on Neighbours? And were you expecting that? (pun intended) Did you meet any of the cast and if so who was the friendliest?

It was surreal to say the least. I’m always surprised about how many people mention it. I got to meet Dr Karl and Toadfish. I went to Lassiters coffee shop and walked around the sets of the houses. It was very odd but a lot of fun. Everyone was very nice.

Tell us a little bit about The Years In Between?

The Years In Between was the last full length album I made. In hindsight maybe it was made too quickly, trying to capitalise on the back of doing the big stadium tour with Ed Sheeran. There’s a couple of songs on there that maybe shouldn’t be, but if I’m honest, I think that about most of my records. There’s always something I’d change. I’m proud of most of the songs, especially the title track which I wrote out in Nashville with Joseph Patton. It’s a song about my Dad who passed away when I was 19. It’s odd to write such a personal song with a complete stranger but that’s how it went. Joseph was brilliant and very kind in helping me sing about something important to me. It’s very rare to find those sorts of co-writers, most people just want to write ‘bangers.’

What can you tell us about the single Can’t See Straight? Having seen that you said you have been reading Paul McCartney’s book on his songwriting and that you wish you remembered all the places you wrote your songs and can you remember not just this song but have you any particular stand out moments of writing some of this album?

I remember writing this one because it was written with Ed Sheeran and Johnny McDaid (of Snow Patrol) at Ed’s house. We’d written one song already that morning and Ed came back after lunch and said we should do something like this and pretty much sang the whole chorus. I changed a few chords to make it move a little more and then we worked on the verses which have a lot of word play in them, so that was fun. I even managed to get the word ‘discombobulation’ in there, which as far as I know hasn’t appeared in any other song.

Writing with Ron Sexsmith is probably one of the biggest stand out moments of my writing career. I’m a huge fan of his so getting to sit opposite him and watch and listen as he worked was a big thrill. We wrote the song Sorrow Town together which appears on the Happy Accidents deluxe edition. Similarly writing with Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue was a big deal for me too. I’ve been a fan of his band since I was a teenager so that was very cool.

I have to ask what it is like being on the Ellen Show because it looks like it would be mad? In a great way.

Very mad indeed. My main memory though is getting nervous half way through the performance. I could feel my toes start to shake and then the shaking started shifting right up through my body reaching my voice on the last few lines. I wish I’d gotten to re-do the performance because of that but I didn’t. I’m still too nervous to even watch it back.

What else are you planning this year?

Hopefully making a new album. No idea how or when but that’s the main plan. And then maybe another tour on my own to support that album, so fingers crossed.

Thank you so much – I am so grateful for you taking the time to do this.

Hopefully I can catch a show soon!

I hope you can too.

Take Care

 

Hannah

 

 

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