JAMIE LAWSON is preparing to play to a combined audience of around 200,000 at Hampden this week.
While it will be a special and memorable moment, it’s a tiny venue in London that will forever hold a special place in his heart.
The singer-songwriter has finally made a breakthrough in the charts over the past few years after a long period of trying.
Currently touring with Ed Sheeran, Jamie was also the first signing on Ed’s record label.
He’s since had an international hit single in Wasn’t Expecting That, a number one album, won a prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award (beating Sheeran to the title) and has a huge 238 million combined digital streams of his songs.
But it wasn’t too long ago that the 42-year-old from Plymouth was playing tiny venues like The Bedford in London, a famous stop-off for aspiring singers working their way up the ladder.
Not one but two life-changing moments happened in the venue for Jamie.
“I was on the same bill as Ed one evening at The Bedford,” explained Jamie.
“It was the only time we met but we got on really well and we admired each other’s songs. He really liked Wasn’t Expecting That.
“He became big not long after.
“Five years later I received a call from him saying he was playing a secret gig in Dublin and wanted me to support him.
“We hadn’t kept in touch, so the call came out of the blue.
“After that Dublin show he invited me to go on his arena tour and I played 20 minutes at the start of the shows.
“He let me jump on his tour bus so that it didn’t cost me any money and it was during that time he began talking about starting a record label and signing me. Then we launched the album with the Wasn’t Expecting That single in Australia.”
A year or so after meeting Ed, fate dealt another card at The Bedford once again.
“I met my wife there one night,” Jamie smiled.
“She had come to see a comedian but had gone into the wrong room and I was playing at the time.
“She sent me a message later telling me I wasn’t very funny but hooray for happy accidents, which is where the title of my latest album comes from.”
Jamie played in a covers band while still at school and by the time he was 17 he was on the acoustic circuit, playing pubs and bars around the UK and Ireland.
He always had confidence in his abilities and was lucky that he was able to make a living from music without having to take on another job to supplement his income, but he did begin to wonder where it was leading.
“I never thought about giving up,” he insisted.
“I did wonder what level I could achieve, but I always received a very positive reaction to my songs when people heard them, so it just seemed if I reached enough folk it would be OK.”
He received a taster of that when he became big in the Emerald Isle.
“I played a house concert in Ireland a few years previously and my friend, the owner of the house, knew a producer of a radio show.
“He asked him to play Wasn’t Expecting That and it received a massive reaction. So much so that they flew me over the following week and I ended up on The Late Late Show on TV. It was amazing.”
Jamie was picked up by an Irish record label, but the success didn’t travel beyond the Irish border until Sheeran signed him four years later.
In between, Jamie watched as Ed became a huge star, but it wasn’t the first time he’d seen that happen within his circle and it helped him to remain upbeat rather than browbeaten.
“Ed took off but I’d seen other acts do similar – Lucy Rose, Damien Rice, Turin Brakes – so I felt I was around the right people, but it just took so much longer to happen for me.”
Following three nights at Scotland’s national stadium, Jamie has four nights at Wembley Stadium, a place few musicians have the chance to play in their careers.
“It was never on my bucket list to play Wembley, it was too big of a prospect for me to even dream of, but saying ‘hello Wembley’ will be a great feeling.”
Jamie Lawson, Hampden Park, Glasgow, Fri-Sun