A chance meeting with Ed Sheeran in Balham supercharged the career of Jamie Lawson, bringing him a number one, an Ivor Novello Award and even a cameo on Neighbours.

After 20 years trying to make it in the industry and too many pub gigs to count, it’s fair to say he wasn’t expecting that (sorry).

Talking about the struggle to get heard, the 40-year-old from Plymouth said: “I had done a lot of different gigs – pubs and clubs and shows where nobody listened whatsoever and only wanted Oasis songs.

“I have done those songs for a long time but always trying to get here and get my songs on the radio and things. It was no lack of trying on my part but I’m glad it happened, that’s for sure.”

Jamie’s big break actually came years ago, not that he knew it at the time, when by chance he shared the bill with an unknown red-headed singer called Ed Sheeran at The Bedford in Balham.

He said: “We were just on the same show. The Bedford is kind of known as a songwriter as the kind of place you should be playing when you are unsigned.

“We were both doing those sort of shows and eventually played one together. It was strange really because we only met once, just before Christmas. It must have been 2010.

“Then four months later his album was number one and he really took off and we lost touch pretty quick.

“It was good of him to remember me.

“He did a secret show in Dublin in a place that I had done a show before so he remembered me and asked for me to open up for him and that’s how we reconnected.”

Sheeran then invited Lawson to join him on tour. From there he has toured with One Direction and his profile has gone through the roof and worldwide, including appearances on Ellen DeGeneres in the US and Neighbours in Australia.

He said: “These little things happen and you think ‘what’s going on, how did I end up here?’”

Lawson’s record Wasn’t Expecting That hit number one and won him an Ivor Novello award.

He said: “It’s a real honour to have been nominated and to have won it is almost a lifetime achievement in a way.

“Somehow I have to put that little statue behind the telly and try and write some new songs without having that hanging over me. It’s an amazing thing to have hanging over you anyway.”

What’s unusual about the win is that the award is kind of late – Jamie first released it in 2011 but is delighted it finally got exposure.

He said: “I always felt that it was a good song and had confidence in it. I thought that from the reaction it had in Ireland when it first came out (it went to number three in 2011)  that it was a universal song so I was very glad when it started doing well in Australia and I started getting shows in the US because of it and things like that.”

Now Lawson – who is currently working on new material - has a big summer of festivals ahead before a headline tour of the UK, which comes to Brixton Academy on October 19.

He said: “It’s a big one for me.

“A few years back I lived in Brixton. I used to live almost across the road from the Academy - I lived behind the police station - so I got to see quite a few shows there.

“It’s an amazing, iconic venue. It’s certainly one of those on the list to play.”

Jamie Lawson plays Brixton Academy on October 19 as part of his UK tour. Go to academymusicgroup.com

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