Ed Sheeran's First Label Signee Jamie Lawson on His 'Very Wise' Boss and Why He Can't 'Party as Hard'

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Jamie Lawson and Ed Sheeran visit the SiriusXM Studios on September 29, 2015 in New York City.  

Ed Sheeran protege Jamie Lawson talks to Billboard about being the pop star's inaugural Gingerbread Man Records signee -- and why he just can't hang when it comes to partying with him.

Name: Jamie Lawson from Plymouth, England

Singer-songwriter Lawson, 39, released his debut album in 2003 after starting out in a cover band in high school. But he didn’t land his first real success until 2011, when moving folk-pop single “Wasn’t Expecting That” found some radio play in Ireland.

Ed Sheeran heard Lawson’s hit that same year and was blown away. In early 2015 he convinced Lawson to become the first signee to his Gingerbread Man Records; Lawson’s self-titled debut is due Oct. 16. “Ed didn’t want me to be any different,” says Lawson. “Now I get to do what I’ve always done but on a bigger platform.”

“Wasn’t” entered the top 40 in Australia and New Zealand last June; Gingerbread and partners Elektra/Atlantic are pushing the song to adult and mainstream top 40 radio stateside, and Lawson is opening for One Direction’s upcoming tour in Britain and Ireland. Lawson is for “real music lovers,” says Sheeran. “I picture his album being played at my dad’s dinner party.”

Tomorrow's Hits: Jamie Lawson, Colonel Loud & Rainey Qualley

Lawson admits it’s a little strange taking career advice from -- and hanging with -- a 24-year-old. “For being so young, Ed is very wise,” he says, “and I can’t party as hard. Hangovers affect me far worse than they do him. I have to be more careful!”

Listen to Jamie Lawson and more artists featured in the latest issue of Billboard below.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 17 issue of Billboard.