After releasing his fourth studio album, Happy Accidents, in September, Jamie Lawson is on tour with megastar Ed Sheeran for the second time. We caught up with the Plymouth born singer-songwriter ahead of their Glasgow shows in June.
How does it feel to be going on tour with Ed Sheeran for the second time?
This is a huge stadium tour which is different than the shows I’ve done before with Ed, they were huge but it’s now triple, it’s very exciting touring with him again. I’m excited.
What’s the one thing you always take on the road with you?
Ear plugs, I find it difficult to seep on the tour bus, so I always have earphones that block out sound with me.
Do you have any pre-show rituals you have to do?
The main thing I’ve noticed this time on this tour is that I have to warm up for longer to do less which is strange, because the show is only half an hour and more high energy for me than my shows are, which are normally more acoustic and intimate. In an arena tour, it feels like it needs more energy, I have to warm up about an hour and a half to make sure I’m in the right mind set, that’s my pre-show ritual.
Do you get sick of people lumping you in with Ed Sheeran?
No, I think that was inevitable when I signed that was always going to be there. You’re only going to be asked about them when you’re signed to their label, it’s interesting because Ed is a friend and I think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. To do a two hour show solo, and to thousands of people, and have them all on his side is an incredible achievement. I have no disagreements ever for being lumped in with him.
How do you deal with disagreements on songwriting with him?
Not at all, because it’s all opinion really. It’s something you prefer or don’t, that’s just how it is. We normally don’t really talk about song writing really.
How is your relationship with Ed now versus before you were signed to his label?
I would say in many ways we didn’t become friends until I signed, I’d met him once before but it was five years before we met again. We only really become friends since this project started. It’s always good to have friends around on tour, I have my band so I’m cool. I always have friends around now which I prefer to the solo shows which can be a bit lonely.
— jamie lawson (@jamielawsonuk) 28 March 2018
Your fourth album Happy Accidents came out in September, how has the response been for you compared to the success of your self-titled album?
Yeah, it’s interesting as a collection of songs it’s been received as a massive improvement on the record, it certainly didn’t do as well so it’s a bit of a contradiction. I have almost mixed emotions about it, I was certainly upset when it didn’t do very well but I think it’s my best work to date so I’m not sure how to feel.
The album is such a mix of songs you’d hear on the radio with some slow emotional numbers in between, how did you decide on this mix of songs?
It’s just the way the songs are written, I’ve never sat down and said I’m going to talk about this. It’s just kind of what’s coming out. It’s a mix of early flirtation love and passing away end of life stuff.
I don’t really know why those were the two things that were in me. It just seems to be the way I write. I addressed my father’s passing away on the record in a song, Sing To The River, that was strange. It was a surprise that that came out and it did, I’ve obviously been carrying it around with me for a long time.
Since I’ve written that I’ve done more about it and teenage years and how that was. I think it was difficult to write, it’s clearly been on my mind in order to write it, I co-wrote that song with Chris Braide and I have no idea why I could write that personal a song with someone I’ve never met before. He was very understanding and gentle and kind and navigated the way around the song in an understanding way. Letting me find my way in to it and what I needed to write, he was giving in a way which is unusual but the sign of a good co-writer.
You’ve spoken previously about how something your wife said inspired the album title, what were the inspirations for the rest of the album?
For He’s Reading Helena, I was on a flight, and what happens in the song is what happened in real life. I sat down on this plane in the middle aisle and this older couple sat next to me and the husband pulled out a book which was called Helena and his wife put on a film and fell asleep straight away. But they just kept holding hands, so I wrote about that and I finished the whole song by the time the plane landed.
For a few of them I was thinking about how you need to hold on and then you can get through the day and sometimes it feels like in those dark lonely places they’re neverending and they do end.
You’ve spoken before about your cringeworthy high school band, what were the worst lyrics you ever wrote?
I think one of the first songs I wrote was about being at a bus stop waiting for a train, I thought that was genius. I don’t think I wrote a good song for about six or seven years after that, I thought I was so great at it and clearly not.
A fan sent the YouTube link for ‘Wasn’t expecting that’ to Today FM and that’s really where things started to take off. Have you ever got in contact with them?
I do know him: he’s called Adrian. I did a house show at his house and the last time I played in Dublin he came and hung out, he’s a nice guy. I’m grateful to him and to Today FM, but I knew him before that.
You grew up in Plymouth but have lived in Ireland and recorded in LA, where’s next?
I don’t know actually, I live in Manchester now. I expect we’ll do the next record in the UK. The tour takes us all over Europe which is nice, then I might get out to Nashville and do some writing there in October. I still travel a lot but it seems to be calming down, I don’t know where I’ll go next really.
How was the tea in LA?
It’s terrible, why do Americans not know how to make tea? I had to take my own tea bags to almost every session. You have to make tea through a filter coffee machine so it always tasted like coffee, its awful.
You recorded Happy Accidents at Sunset Sound Studios, how did it feel to record in the same studios as the likes of Prince?
Yeah, a bit odd. Prince recorded a lot of Purple Rain there. You know The Doors, James Taylor, Counting Crows, Elliot Smith, numerous bands recorded million selling records there and there I am not quite sure how I got there. Admittedly I was intimidated by the place at first, but everyone was really welcoming. Once I settled in I really enjoyed it and it eventually felt like home, I really liked the place and the people, it’ll be one of those things I look back on fondly for years.
You’re always posting on Instagram, what’s your top Instagram tip?
I use a photo shop app called Snapseed before I post, I like to doctor the photographs. I’m a fan of photography anyway, but sometimes I wonder if I don’t take enough music shots cause I like odd things, I don’t know, I think my top tip would be Snapseed, it’s a good little app to use.
To find out about dates and tickets for Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour click here.
Words by Emma Storr