Jamie Lawson discusses Wasn't Expecting That, Sheeran and solo artists

Given it's hit the top 10 around the world, it's highly likely that you'll have already heard Jamie Lawson's sucker-punching single Wasn't Expecting That, but for those that haven't, think the opening sequence of Up repackaged into a devastatingly effective acoustic ballad.

"I've always considered it a happy song," reflects Jamie. "Although it has this sad ending, they have this wonderful life. I consider it almost the dream relationship in a way. It's just that it ends slightly sooner than it should."

You could see that it was harder for bands going on tour, but there was still money as a solo act

The song was written four years ago and has since hit the top spot in Australia and Ireland, but UK/US success now looks imminent thanks to Ed Sheeran hand-picking Lawson as the first signing to his Warner-backed record label, Gingerbread. It's a break of the kind that very rarely occurs in the music world now - but this isn't an overnight success.

"Wasn't Expecting That was a hit in Ireland about four years ago, but it sort of stuck there," explains Jamie. "So I'm glad for this second chance, but I've been playing 15 years, trying to get through, so it's been a while!"

Kindred spirits

During that time Jamie has not only seen contemporaries, such as the aforementioned Mr Sheeran, Damien Rice and Lucy Rose, all get their shot but also witnessed the music industry start to rebuild itself - with solo stars at the helm.

"You could see that it was harder for bands going on tour, but there was still money as a solo act," reflects Jamie. "But as solo performers, we're travelling on our own a lot, so when we find a kindred spirit, we hold on to them. I found that with Ed."

Like Ed, Jamie prizes the song above all else. He's a self-described "straightforward" guitarist - relying on just a Taylor 410e dreadnought and newly acquired Martin. "It's a simple rig and it's a simple music, I think," he says. "It's more about pulling out a few notes in your vocal. Just to give it some flavour and some breadth."

Jamie's still bashful about his prospects, but thanks to some support slots with Ed and a sold-out headline tour of Australia, he's already played to well over 150,000 people this year.

"There's a whole lot of travelling," he concludes. "But the reaction you get is huge. It's weird and it's wonderful. I don't ever expect to get to the stage that Ed's at, he's a machine… but somewhere on the way to that would be amazing."

  • For fans of: Ed Sheeran, Passenger
  • Hear: Wasn't Expecting That
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.