After the breakout hit of ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ (which peaked at #3 and #5 in the Irish and British singles charts, respectively), Jamie Lawson has just followed up with his second album release under Ed Sheeran’s label Gingerbread Records with ‘Happy Accidents’, an album which sees Lawson travel down a similar vein to his previous releases, but sees him delve deeper into his own past experiences.
We spoke to Lawson about the new album, working with Ed Sheeran, and his love of elephants…
COUP DE MAIN: I love the story behind the album’s title ‘Happy Accidents’. Do you think spontaneity, and accidents, make life more exciting?
JAMIE LAWSON: I do but I also think they happen all the time without us really being aware of it. Every happy meeting, friendship or relationship in our life will be the result of some fortuitous circumstances somewhere along the line. I met my wife in a pub called The Bedford in Balham, London; she was in the ‘wrong’ room which happened to be the right room, as we may never have met otherwise. Coincidentally I met Ed Sheeran in the same pub. Two happy accidents under one roof - on different days.
CDM: You recorded the album in Los Angeles at the Sunset Sound Studios - what was the experience like?
JAMIE: It was great, weird, intimidating, nerve-wracking, funny, hard work, tiring, brilliant, beautiful, and ultimately incredibly rewarding. Sunset Sound Studio is where artists like The Doors, Counting Crows, Tom Petty, Prince, and James Taylor all recorded million selling albums so it was a little daunting at first. A guy called Joe Chiccarelli produced it and he’s a bit of a legend so it feels like it has status just because he’s attached to it! I’m really happy with it, I’m sure everybody says this but I think it’s the best album I’ve made yet.
CDM: What’s your favourite song on the album?
JAMIE: I have a couple; I really like 'Can’t See Straight', 'Miracle Of Love' and 'The Last Spark'. They all speak to me in different ways. I love how happy 'Can’t See Straight' is and sounds, I love the soundscapes of 'Miracle Of Love', and as a songwriter I’m really proud of 'The Last Spark', it has very cool and strange chord changes but you don’t really notice them. I like that.
CDM: ‘Sing To The River’ is a really beautiful song - was it a cathartic writing experience writing that song in particular, and other songs on the album?
JAMIE: I guess it was, yes. It’s a true story about what I used to do in the weeks and months after my father passed away when I was 19. It’s taken me a long time to reach a point where I feel comfortable singing and talking about it. I still find it quite difficult but I must have needed to do it.
CDM: Do you find it more difficult to perform those songs that are particularly personal to you? Is there a way you deal with performing those songs?
JAMIE: This will be the first time doing it. So far I’ve only performed it once and it definitely had a bigger emotional charge for me than the other songs. I can imagine some days will be pretty hard, I can imagine some days I won’t want to do it at all.
CDM: What was it like co-writing with Ed on ‘Can’t See Straight’?
JAMIE: It was good. I wrote with him and Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol. Ed is the quickest writer I’ve worked with, but his instincts are spot on. For us it was a bit like a tennis match with ideas going back-and-forth and Johnny being the umpire calling all the best decisions.
CDM: Do you find songwriting a good way to deal with what’s going on emotionally in your head?
JAMIE: Absolutely, often songs come out that are dealing with issues you didn’t even know you were going through, your subconscious is writing them, figuring it out, letting you work through the mist of it. I think I’ve always used singing and songwriting for that.
CDM: What’s the best piece of advice that Ed Sheeran has given you thus far?
JAMIE: “The best person to make a Jamie Lawson record is Jamie Lawson.” In other words, be yourself.
CDM: Do you have plans to come back and play a show in New Zealand soon?
JAMIE: I’d love to. Last time I was there I got to go to Neil Finn’s studio - being a huge Crowded House fan that was really special for me. I’ve got family in New Zealand too; it would be great to see them again.
CDM: If J.A.M.I.E. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
JAMIE: Just Another Man Into Elephants!
CDM: If you were to curate your own music festival, who would you want to play and what would the festival be called?
JAMIE: Ah man! I would have Ed Sheeran headline, that way it would sell out, then I’d have Elbow, Crowded House, Elle King, Angus and Julia Stone, James Taylor for the legends spot, Patty Griffin, Ryan Adams, Paolo Nutini, Natalie Merchant and me, I’d want to play too.
CDM: What is your first proper memory, ever?
JAMIE: Sucking paint through a straw at nursery, I think we were supposed to blow it and make patterns, but I sucked. It tasted awful.
CDM: If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
JAMIE: Ed Sheeran’s talent for writing hits.
CDM: What is your spirit animal?
JAMIE: Goldfish, I have a similar memory!
Jamie Lawson’s new album ‘Happy Accidents’ is out now - watch the ‘Can't See Straight’ music video below…