Interview: Talented Jamie Lawson on what he owes to Ed Sheeran

From the gutter to the stars - Hitmaker Jamie Lawson.
From the gutter to the stars - Hitmaker Jamie Lawson.

On the eve of his new UK tour, number one artist Jamie Lawson talked to the Harrogate Advertiser about his long road to fame and his friendship.

The huge 17-date autumn tour, including York Barbican on October 10, follows a year which has seen the British singer-songwriter finally win the plaudits - and record sales - his catchy but sophisticated acoustic songs have deserved.
This seriosu but likable musician first picked up a guitar at the age of eight as a Christmas present and began playing pubs and bars of Britain and Ireland fully 20 years ago or more.
So what's it like to be a overnight success, I ask him on the phone the night after one of his biggest shows top date at Pembroke in Wales.
There's the sound of laughter down the line.
"I've always been busy and always made a living from music, though it wasn't enough to look after me in later life.
"I was always aiming at the next level from the beginning but I didn't realise how long it would take.
"If you are creative you want your songs to hit as wide an audience as possible but I don't think I'm as big as, say, James Bay, for example."
It's as long ago as 2006 that Lawson released his debut studio album, Last Night Stars, through Allotment Recordings; a small indie record label he co-founded.
The moment this Plymouth-born 40-year-old knew he'd finally made it came last year whe nhis self-titled album peaked at number one on the UK albums chart.
The song that propelled him to the top was probably Wasn't Expecting That which, like a prodigal son, eventually broke through, hitting the British top ten late last year.
"I've always had a lot of faith in my songs but from the very first time I played it, Wasn't Expecting That got a different reaction from audiences. But I felt sorry for it that it hadn't travelled."
It was that song, not a new one (it first went public on YouTube in 2011), which was part of the reason for another crucial moment, the moment he signed to Gingerbread Man Records, owned by Ed Sheeran.
I tell Jamie I'd seen Ed sing his praises on BBC TV's Breakfast show and that the acoustic superstar had also said that the key to musical success today wasn't so much talent as sheer work rate.
Sitting on the BBC sofa, Sheeran had claimed if you played live around 2,000 times or more and were any good, someone who mattered would pick you up.
Jamie replies: "To be honest there's a certain amount of truth in that. I don't think I'd be where I am if I hadn't put the hours in.
"When you get your chance you need to grab it. I'm trying to take it for all I can."
How times change. At one point earlier in their respective travels on the same career path, Jamie had been Ed's inspiration.
Now the shoe is on the other foot but it's not something the talented but modest Lawson seems to mind.
"I've picked up a lot of fans through Ed. I wasn't going to argue signing to one of the biggest singers in the world.
"It is a bit of a role reversal but I'm able to look up to him. It's very interesting to watch how he goes about things at his level."
Such was Jamie's determination to find a wider audience he moved to live in Ireland which he loves to this day, partly because "they like a good song and have a history of great songwriters."
What a change from those days of ten years or so ago, the pubs of Dublin to touring Ed Sheeran in the USA in major venues and appearing on American TV.
"It was my first taste of America and it was good fun. LA was magical, partly because of its musical history; I'm a huge James Taylor fan.
"There were a few surreal moments, though, like being on James Corden's TV show in the US."
This fan of 10,000 Maniacs, John Martyn, REM, Iron & Wine, Jeff Buckley and more is a man for the long haul.

He's got music in his blood and I'm not surprised when he tells me he's already written a lot of new songs for his next album which, hopefully, will come out in April/May 2017.
"I was trying to get here for so long I wondered if it's easier in a band, whether it spurs you on.
"I can't decided if I kept going out of stubborness or just laziness. I was never tempted to quit, though. I don't think I'd be good enough at anything else."
Jamie Lawson plays York Barbican on Monday, October 10.