Jamie Lawson talks new album Happy Accidents, working in America and his relationship with Ed Sheeran...
Almost everything Ed Sheeran touches turns to gold, just ask Jamie Lawson. For the first 20 years of his career, Lawson was largely unknown, quietly releasing three studio albums and touring relentlessly to a small, but hardy band of followers. Then enter Ed Sheeran.
Sheeran made Lawson the first signing to his new record label Gingerbread Man Records and took an overseeing role in the shaping of his 2015 self-titled album, which, upon release, went straight to Number One.
Now established with a much bigger fanbase, Lawson has acted quickly to make a follow-up, Happy Accidents, which arrives on shelves this week.
To celebrate, we spoke to Lawson about making the album, living and working in Los Angeles and his continuing relationship with Ed Sheeran…
How did you want Happy Accidents to move on from your last album?
“It’s interesting to think about, because I went in with a very clear idea of what I wanted and I ended up something else entirely. I wanted a rootsier, dirtier, more sawdust on the floor type record, but we’ve ended up with something very different to that. The people that I involved really helped shape the record, the musicians definitely did and I was happy to that happen. My main aim was to make this a step up in terms of musicality and production and I think we’ve definitely achieved that.”
You recorded in Los Angeles, was that something you wanted to do? Or just how things worked out?
“It was purely down to my producer being there. I worked with Joe Chicarelli, who's done some incredible records, Morrissey, Rufus Wainwright, Frank Zappa, and he works out of Sunset Sound in LA. I knew about the studio from The Doors and Prince records that were made there and it was quite daunting. It took me at least a week to get over being there and to stop thinking ‘What am I doing here?’ and get some confidence and get going.”
How did you find working in Los Angeles? It’s a city with a lot going on...
“There is, but I knew that we were going there to make a record and there’s no point going there to make a record and then spend your time doing something else. I’m quite a disciplined person, I pretty much drove to the studio every day at 10.30am and drove home at 10pm and then came back the next day. I didn’t go out and do anything glitzy, I just made the record. On Sundays, which were the day off, I just went to record shops.”
What kind of album do you think this is lyrically?
“It’s a weird one. It’s a record of extremes. A record about the opposite ends of love, the early flirtatious period, first meeting someone, falling in love, then there’s the other end, people leaving, passing away, there are a few songs about that, both the person leaving and being left behind. All the songs are from those extremes and I don’t know why.”
When did the title come to you?
“Quite late in the process. I got married during the making of this record and I was looking back over things that were connected to that. The first message that my wife sent to me had the line ‘Hooray for happy accidents’. She’d walked into the wrong room when she was supposed to be a stand-up comedian and I was singing my songs. She thought I was quite good, but not very funny!”
What involved did Ed Sheeran have in the making of the record?
“He’s very, very hands off. In terms of making the record, he just lets me gets on with it and I’ll play him things towards the end and he’ll give me advice on any changes. That’s it. It’s nice to be on a record label that offers so little interference. He just lets me make the record I want to make.”
It must be nice to have someone have that much confidence in you?
“Absolutely. I think it’s probably why he’s got me and Foy Vance, we’re both artists that know what we want to do and understand how to write songs. I’m sure if either of us turned in a bad song he’d be the first to tell us, but there’s been none of that so far.”
When will we see you headlining again? And what kind of live set are you planning?
“Hopefully that’ll be next year, early next year if we can. I think it’ll be skewed towards the last two, most people don’t really know the early stuff, a few fans have gone back and I’m starting to get messages from people wanting to hear the earlier songs, but it’ll be geared towards the newer tunes.”