BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: The chart success Jamie now enjoys has not been built upon his new material.
By Geoffrey Rowlands
Jamie Lawson thought his friend Ed Sheeran was joking when he said he was going to start his own record label and make Jamie the first signing.
“We were on a night out,” explained Plymouth-born Jamie. “Ed was obviously under the influence of having a little too much to drink so I thought everything about having his own label and signing me was all just wishful thinking.
“I took it with a pinch of salt never believing it would actually happen. But he sent me a text on the following day. It just said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ Everything has happened from there.”
Ed and Jamie formed their friendship after meeting on the UK folk music circuit long before Ed became famous.
“We met in London at a venue called The Bedford. Ed was obviously very talented and he liked my songs so we had this musical bond. But we lost touch as Ed became a huge star. Then, about a year ago, I got a text asking me to open for him at a show he was doing in Dublin.”
Ed had been in Ireland to attend the wedding of his cousin. While there, he saw a poster advertising Jamie’s concerts and was reminded of his old friend.
“It’s funny how fate plays such a part in your life. The only countries where I’d had significant success with my music were Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Ed probably wouldn’t have seen my poster anywhere else.”
Performing at Ed’s Dublin show saw their friendship rekindled. But there was no losing touch this time. Ed was so impressed by Jamie’s new songs that he was invited to be the opening act on his world tour.
Yet the chart success Jamie now enjoys has not been built upon his new material. He initially released Wasn’t Expecting That as the lead single from his album of the same name back in 2011. The song became a top three hit in Ireland but was cruelly ignored in the rest of the world.
“Ed knew the song. In fact, he said he listened to it a lot during the time he was making Afire Love. He told me it helped him to get the tone right for his own song.”
Recognizing the quality of Wasn’t Expecting That, Ed suggested it should not only be included on Jamie’s self-titled fourth album, his first on Ed’s Gingerbread Man label, but also be the lead single. Backed by the right kind of promotion, the song has become a smash hit thus far peaking at number six in Britain and number three in Australia.
Jamie’s newly released album has fared even better. It stormed straight to pole position on the UK chart.
“I still can’t quite believe it. I’m so grateful to everyone who bought my album. Someone asked me what it was like to become an overnight success. I’m 39 now, I don’t think there are many people of my age who could be called an overnight success and I’m certainly not one.
“I’ve been playing on the folk circuit for all these years. I put my songs online for the first time in 2000 so I think it’s fair to say I’ve paid my dues in the music business.
“There were times when I wondered if I could ever become successful. But there was only one point where I decided to get a proper job. I worked in a record store but soon realised this wasn’t for me. Even if audiences and record sales were small, I still wanted to perform my songs to however many people appreciated them.”
That number has now increased dramatically. Jamie’s album has attracted universally positive reviews and hit the upper reaches of the charts in numerous countries.
“My songs are simple, acoustic-based music. They are folk but not traditional folk songs with an emphasis on telling stories in the lyrics. I hope listeners find them warm, open and inviting.”
American audiences will be exposed to his work when Jamie makes his first major US television appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on November 10.
“I’m really looking forward to that performance. It’s funny to think that the first time I had a song played on radio was in America. It was in 2001 on Louisiana State University’s student station, KLSU. I hope there might be a few more American radio stations playing my songs in the future.”
Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John has held a high profile in recent days. Apart from conducting post-race interviews with the top three finishers at the Formula 1 US Grand Prix, he also announced the release date of his 33rd studio album.
Co-produced by Elton and T Bone Bennett, “Wonderful Crazy Night” will be issued on February 5. Every track was co-written by Elton and his long-time song-writing partner Bernie Taupin.
Lead single, Looking Up, has just been released. No official video has been made as yet but an audio posting of the song can be heard at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr0aCFDayyk
It’s difficult to categorise the music of Grimes. Experimental pop, synthpop and electronic have all been used though her third album, “Visions,” won the 27-year-old Vancouver native the 2013 Juno Award for Electronic Album of the Year.
The eclectic nature of her music is perfectly presented in her latest single, Flesh Without Blood/Life In The Vivid Dream. These songs are not a double A-side. They are effectively two songs which form one. The former is around four and a half minutes of uptempo dance while the latter is a two-minute piano ballad.
The official video is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv9YoYCKNoE
Links to more Grimes videos can be found on this webpage.
The new single is taken from her fourth studio album, “Art Angels,” which will be released digitally on November 6. Her previous albums, “Geidi Primes,” “Halfaxa” and “Visions,” are all posted in full on YouTube. Gain access by typing Grimes followed by the album title in the website search box.
Considering they have only been around for three years, American rock trio PVRIS have had a pretty chequered history.
Formed in their home town of Lowell, Massachusetts, they were originally a fivepiece metalcore band named Operation Guillotine. One member quit, their name was changed to Paris and their music became post-hardcore. They released a self-titled EP in March, 2013.
Legal problems concerning their name saw the band become PVRIS, although still pronounced Paris, before the release of their second EP, “Acoustic,” in April, 2014. By this time, they had also become a trio.
An almost constant round of North American and world-wide touring enabled them to build the kind of fanbase which saw PVRIS voted Best International Newcomer at the 2015 Kerrang! Awards.
Their debut album, “White Noise,” has just been released. It can be heard in full at www.youtube.com/watch?v=01mWLqVFEws&list=PLEzAPNbTzTPAZEsFp_1VEgEXW2cyaATje
This posting includes the official videos for their singles, St. Patrick and My House. Videos have also been made for three more album tracks. Holy can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktgKzlJ1EiU; Fire is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1y0y1EDcHM; while the title-track is available to view at www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ3jl794mGs
Earlier singles, The Heartless and Waking Up, can also be found online. The former is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf_Yiv8-RE8 with the latter at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPEHHkF1SpY
Rap fans may be aware of Yak Gotti. He shared the microphone with Young Thug on Dream and teamed with Lil Duke on the hot track, Migo.
Both songs are included on his newly released free mixtape, “Mind of a Maniac.” All ten tracks can be heard and downloaded at www.datpiff.com/Yak-Gotti-Mind-Of-A-Maniac-mixtape.741378.html
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