Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
A week ago Jamie Lawson was known only by Ed Sheeran superfans and a few people in the music industry. Now he’s on course to achieve his first no.1 hit, after 12 years in obscurity, with a single originally released in 2011. After Ed’s support drove Passenger to worldwide success in 2013, Atlantic noted the power of his endorsement, and gave him his own label. These vanity labels often fail (Gary Barlow and Lily Allen’s both quietly disappeared), but Ed’s background as a sofa-surfing pub act lends credibility when he champions someone similar. Ed also wisely picked an artist with a hit song ready to go, and has committed fully to the project by joining Jamie on the campaign trail, including visits to Radio 1 and BBC Breakfast. While Wasn’t Expecting That is the song of Heart FM’s dreams, Jamie has zero star quality. I considered featuring him here a few months ago, but was put off when I saw his uncomfortably awkward performance at BST Hyde Park. I also thought Wasn’t Expecting That was unbearably dull. But as it became a hit in Australia, and began rising up the UK charts, I realised its serious mum appeal, particularly with the lyrics telling a sad love story. It’s hard to see a pop star future for a dreary 39-year-old, but I didn’t think a geeky ginger Jason Mraz wannabe stood a chance either, so maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon.