The strings off his acoustic guitar strum softly as the camera pans to show a room full of comfortable couples and soon-to-be smiling lovers. Jamie Lawson makes his way to the stool in the center of the room and begins singing, “It was only a smile/But my heart it went wild/I wasn't expecting that.”
It’s hard not to swoon — even if your only companion is a rude cat and a Netflix account. That's the setting for Lawson’s newest music video for his single “Wasn’t Expecting That.”
The UK native is taking names and stealing hearts with his latest song, particularly because of a certain red-headed charmer (no, not one of the Weasley brothers) attached to the project. Lawson is the first artist to be signed under Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records label, and his new self-titled album is set for a worldwide release on October 9
The partnership between Lawson and Sheeran blossomed over the first leg of Sheeran’s tour last year. Sheeran heard Lawson’s single and invited the fellow musician to open for him at a small, secretive show at a Dublin pub. “We played to about a hundred people,” Lawson recalls over the phone from Australia, where he had just completed the last night of his own tour. “And from that, he offered me the opening slot on his tour in the UK and Europe.”
Sheeran quickly became one of Lawson's biggest fans. The gingerbread man himself has even performed a cover of "Wasn't Expecting That" during his tour this year. Lawson says the song took over Ireland a few years back, but it never really gained enough momentum to leave the island. But now, with someone like Sheeran taking the singer under his cinnamon-dusted arm, it’ll be hard to contain any of his greatness to any one continent.
Although the two Brits tour together often, they don’t spend much time in the studio together. “Ed said to me very early on, ‘The best person to make a Jamie Lawson record is Jamie Lawson.’” And since then, he has been given plenty of creative freedom when it comes to his record. “I think he had a lot of faith in what I do and he has liked all the songs. We’d listen to the songs together or I’d send him over some demos, but he really just let me get on with it.”
Lawson has been recording music since the early 2000’s and has released three previous albums: Last Night Stars (2003), The Pull of the Moon (2009), and Wasn’t Expecting That (2011), the latter of which was a combination of songs from Pull of the Moon and newer material.
Commenting on the gap of time between albums and singles, Lawson says with a laugh that it was certainly not for a lack of trying. “We kind of struggle on as musicians...although it seems those years in between it was just me doing my best and not really getting anywhere,” chuckles the songwriter. Assuringly, he adds, “All I was ever doing was being a musician – I’ve never done anything else.”
Lawson describes his newest album as a culmination of a particular idea he had in his mind. “The idea for me was to just try and make the warmest record I could — the most kind of comforting and comfortable record I could.
“This record is not going to be challenging to your ears, it is hopefully going to be something you can kind of settle in with — if that makes sense.”
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After his album drops, Lawson will embark on a European tour in November and already has plans for more show dates in the U.S. and Australia in 2016.
So give him a listen, but when you find yourself warming up to your honey (or your cat, we’re not judging here) humming one of Lawson’s songs, we can’t say that we weren’t expecting that.
Ed Sheeran with Jamie Lawson and Christina Perri. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 9, at AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 786-777-1000; aaarena.com. Tickets cost $75 to $90 plus fees via Ticketmaster.com.