Today FM, tomorrow . . . the world?
Jamie Lawson became an overnight sensation when Ian Dempsey played his YouTube song on air. The chain of events since has him in a spin, he tells Brian Boyd
I’ve been a struggling singer-songwriter for the last 15 years – sometimes getting by, sometimes not, and always broke. I have two albums out which weren’t exactly hits, but early in January I started to write for my third album. One of the songs, Wasn’t Expecting That, I put up on YouTube and it got a modest amount of views, but on January 17th it got played by The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM. There was no physical release of the song, so they just played the YouTube audio, which isn’t the best – but apparently the phone lines lit up and loads of people were ringing the station asking about the song. The response was really phenomenal. playing a gig with an Irish musician called Mark Dignam, and he invited me to Dublin. This was in 2004, and I ended up staying a few years. I was really attracted by the music scene and how you seemed to cherish your musical acts. I was playing gigs, but I had a job in Tower Records. I used to play my own album, and sometimes people would come up and ask who was playing and that they wanted to buy it. I never told them it was me. It tells a story and it has a situation that most people either have experience of or they know someone in that situation. There’s a sort of twist in the tale. I remember Today FM telling me truck drivers were ringing in saying they were stuck in traffic and in tears because of what the song is about. It’s now got almost 300,000 views on YouTube.