Jamie Lawson had the perfect sounding board as he wrote and recorded his new album while on tour with Ed Sheeran.
The singer is signed to Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records label and managed to get instant feedback from his boss as they toured massive stadiums and arenas across the UK and Europe.
“He looks after us well and is a lot of fun to be around,” Jamie tells The Sunday Post. “He’s always got time for you. The bonus of him being my boss is that I got to play him songs as they were being written and recorded.
“He’d never give anything a thumbs-down, but is always positive about what he likes. That seems to be his way. It’s always good to have someone with that level of success give you advice.”
Jamie has fond memories of their weekend stop in Glasgow that saw over 100,000 people descend on Hampden to see Sheeran in action – even if the rain and an awkward mistake could have clouded the occasion.
“I loved those shows,” he says. “The second day it rained heavily and everyone was in different coloured macs and it was beautiful. It was the only show of the tour that rained!
“I remember making a massive faux-pas, I kept saying ‘hey Glasgow’ but suddenly I said London and I’ve no idea where it came from! Thankfully the crowd were very forgiving…”
Jamie will swap the national stadium for the Queen Margaret Union across the city on May 9, and says he’s looking forward to playing more intimate shows again.
“Ed’s tour was a lot of fun. It was a very different experience to doing my own tour and playing the venues I play – you’re playing to over 50,000 people,” he says.
“I really enjoyed it but I’m equally looking forward to doing my own shows again, playing the new record. You get to see people, meet people and shift things around when you want, which you can’t do when you’re opening for Ed.
“The show seems to go down well in Glasgow every time we tour. The crowd are always up for a good night and are always willing to be a part of it, to sing and let you do your thing. It should be good.”
The tour is in support of the album The Years In Between, which Jamie started writing in February of last year after taking a trip to Nashville.
While on tour with Sheeran, he started rehearsing and recording on various stops around the world.
“It feels like it was a very long, strung-out process but it’s got a cohesive sound and it’s come out really well,” he says.
“The title track is about my dad and the time that’s passed between him passing away [Jamie’s father died when he was 19] and now and the fact that he didn’t get to see any of this stuff. That’s pretty sad really.
“The album itself though is quite upbeat and probably the most collaborative I’ve made so far but it still feels very much like a Jamie Lawson record.”
For the album, Jamie worked with a number of different songwriters including Nashville’s Natalie Hemby and KS Rodes, as well as collaborating with old friends Turin Brakes and producer Ruadhri Cushnan.
He explains: “One of the reasons I wanted to do it was that, for some reason, when you work with someone else’s music the lyrics you write are slightly different to what you’d write if you were also playing that music.
“I don’t know why that is. It just fires you off in different directions, and also people can then take your ideas and put them in a direction that you maybe hadn’t thought of.
“The Answer, I thought, would be a very gentle love song but ended up being this really upbeat bouncy pop song. That’s purely because I was co-writing it with Ollie Green. I like how collaboration does that and how it changes things around. It gives different perspectives.
“The fans seem to be liking the album a lot, there’s requests coming in for songs to play on the tour and there’s a couple I’ve not learned so that’s a bit of a worry! We’ll see how that goes…”
One song he definitely does know is his mega hit Wasn’t Expecting That, which sold over a million copies worldwide after being released back in 2011.
It saw him scoop the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically ahead of Sheeran and, while many would try to recreate the formula to score another hit, Jamie recognises that’s just not possible.
“I would argue that you can’t replicate it,” he says. “It’s a unique one-off song, If I tried I’d just get slated for trying to replicate it.
“It’s one of those types of songs, it stands on its own a little bit really. Dan Wilson from Semisonic is a songwriter I follow on Twitter and he would argue that they like your biggest hit for a reason, just write it again, it’s ok.
“But I don’t think that’s possible in this situation. I’ve never tried to write Wasn’t Expecting That again.”
Jamie Lawson, QMU, Glasgow, May 9, Tickets at jamielawsonmusic.com/live