Sometimes the most extraordinary talent comes, seemingly, from nowhere. John Newman is only just 23 years old, but his voice and his songs cut through with a depth and a richness that’s way beyond a couple of decades and some change. A true force of nature, John writes, produces plays, performs and remixes his own music, as well as writing his own video scripts and designing his own clothes. This is a seriously larger than life character.
In 2012, a year before his first solo material had even seen the light of day, John Newman scored a number 1 single, appeared on both Later with Jools, and the Christmas Top Of The Pops, and had written and sung on two of the biggest dance hits to storm the UK charts in years: Rudimental’s massive number one “Feel The Love” and the powerfully anthemic follow up “Not Giving In”. Those who enjoy life’s savage juxtapositions will appreciate he was in hospital recovering from surgery to remove a (non-cancerous) brain tumour when he heard the song on national radio for the first time. “I woke up and heard my song on the radio,” he smiles. “That was quite surreal. The nurse was quite fit too, so it was good to turn around and say, ‘That’s my tune!’” Shortly after leaving hospital “Feel The Love” went to number 1 in the charts.
After 12 months spent writing, recording and touring with the ‘Mental and Plan B, John is now preparing to release his debut solo single, “Love Me Again”, a huge great melodic and emotional banger that weaves in and out of John’s most beloved influences, the pieces he’s been drawn to since childhood.
Born in Settle, North Yorkshire, to a mother obsessed with Motown and Northern Soul, John never really even knew you could be a singer, that you could express yourself through writing and performing your own songs. No one from where he grew up ever spoke about such a thing; indeed, to bring the subject up among your school friends would only provoke scorn. But as a teenager, having watched his elder brother leave home and form a band, John began to realise there was a whole world beyond everything he knew.