The chances are you have already heard the rather extraordinary voice of the rather ordinarily named John Newman, even if you hadn’t put a face to the name or a name to the voice. The twenty one year old singer from Settle, Yorkshire who is now based in London provides the unmistakable vocal on Feel The Love by Rudimental – a massive number 1 hit in the UK. So in some ways featuring Newman on a new music blog when he’s already topped the charts is a little bit wrong, but there’s three things to remember here. First that the internet is global and that 40% of Breaking More Waves readership is based outside of the UK where it’s unlikely many have heard of Rudimental or Newman. Secondly Newman may have been a guest vocalist on Feel The Love, but his fully fledged solo material has yet to see the light of day; he’s currently working on his debut album. Third this is a music blog, there are no rules, we can write what and how we like.
So what can we expect from Newman’s future music? His website references James Brown, Prince and The Black Keys, ambitious reference points perhaps, but reaching for the stars is surely preferable to the gutter. Imagine if we were told that Newman took the music of Brother or Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong as his inspiration. Exactly.
But whatever Newman puts out as his own solo material, what’s going to hit you is his phenomenal vocal. A raw crackle of a voice, the kind of smoke-thirty-fags-a-day arse-clenching soul sound that James Morrison aims for but fails at. It’s pretty special. Huskily special. With the likes of Michael Kiwanuka delving into the catalogue of Bill Withers and The Milk reinventing the sound of Stax and Motown for a modern generation there seems to be a hunger for this deeply old fashioned but incredibly powerful sound again – maybe it’s a reaction against the deluge of synthetic faceless pop that clutters the UK charts ? Whatever it is John Newman looks like being the next most likely British soul man. It may be that his guest spot with Rudimental isn’t his only and last hit. Listen to an acoustic version of Cheating below and you'll see why we think this. You can also download another song Stay The Night which for the moment is free using this link (although you'll have to 'like' it before you've played it.)
John Newman - Cheating (Acoustic)