Arts Q&A: Jamie Lawson on John Irving, Counting Crows and saying no to negativity

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson

Ivor Novello-winning singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson plays the Ulster Hall on Saturday

1. When did you think about a career in music and what were your first steps into it? At art college, aged 21. I was doing a photography course and wasn’t very happy. I went to see a counsellor and she asked me what I wanted to do. My immediate answer was "be a singer" and she said "well, go do that, then". I never thought it was a viable option, and for a long time it wasn't, but I guess I got somewhere eventually.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to? Mark Eitzel, upstairs at The Garage, London, circa 1997; Patty Griffin at the Union Chapel, London, in 2015 and Counting Crows at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1997.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? I had a band at my wedding called The Atlantic Soul Orchestra and they were great – I'll stick with them.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island? Paul Buchanan's Mid Air. it keeps me calm.

5. And the book? A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It's brilliant and beautiful.

6. Top three films? A River Runs Through It, Running On Empty and Big Fish. All three deal with families, specifically father/son relationships that I find very moving and beautiful.

7. Worst film you’ve seen? I feel if you don’t like something, leave it alone. There’s enough negativity out there without me adding to it.

8. Favourite authors? Ian Hamilton (the poet), John Irving and JK Rowling.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? Does pool count? If so, me and my brothers spending the day playing pool is the best entertainment ever. Otherwise, I'm not really into sports.

10. Ideal holiday destination? Cornwall. When the weather's great, it’s stunning.

11. Pet hate? Negativity online, it's so easy. Be nice.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Chicken.

Dessert? Dark chocolate (85 per cent).

Drink? Builder’s tea.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? My wife.

14. Is there a God? I'm yet to see any evidence and I think scientists are pretty smart. So no, I don't believe so.

:: Jamie Lawson plays Belfast's Ulster Hall on May 11 ( and Dublin's Vicar St on May 12. Tickets also available from all usual Ticketmaster outlets. His new album, The Years In Between, is out now.

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