Having read a recent article by Paul Lester at the Guardian suggesting that this extraordinary talent had come seemingly from nowhere, we were under the illusion that no one had really heard about the numerous things that are great about Settle in North Yorkshire. After all, there’s the Settle to Carlisle railway that includes one of the most idyllic viaducts known to man, a traditional Tuesday market that has been going since 1249, the glorious countryside that has been cast in many a movie, inclusive of the infamous 3 Peaks and rugby players galore, such as England's rising stars Chris and Jack Walker.
And then... there's John Newman. A young gentleman that no one quite anticipated had this blissfully unique voice that would transpire into something so powerful, so great and so chart topping! How wrong they were to doubt.
Where should we start?
Avoiding the open mic nights clumsily put together by some of Settle’s less musically orientated tourist attractions in its local public houses and to avoid certain comments made by peers, John's talents and ambition have come from the heart and soul of his family; his mother. She has not only been cast as a somewhat Wigan Pier and Motown maverick, but was one of the very few people that has allowed this raw talent of a music magician to come to the forefront of every local person's lips, a nation's downloads and many millions of fans ears throughout the world.
So much soul, that no one can deny the hard work and self-belief of this rising star truly holds credit to the stereotypical saying of, 'if you want something so much, the opportunities will arise to make it happen.' After all, this is no ordinary story behind the uprising of John Newman; John sadly lost two of his dearest friends to a car accident and only after surgery to remove a brain tumor did he realise his collaboration was the hottest track of the week on Zane Lowe's program on radio 1 and soon to be topping the UK Top 40.
It comes across as wherever John was and no matter what his fellow peers were saying, his songwriting capabilities and undeniable vocal talents have followed. If you're into intimate gigs, unearthing the next big musical mastermind prior to anyone else, enjoy the acoustic tracks that have leaked onto Youtube of John and do this all in the mighty town of Leeds, then you could well have stumbled across John Newman somewhere along the way. Without a care in the world in his garden, living room or bedroom, John would happily play tracks he had written about anything he had an emotional attachment to. Combined with a hand-picked selection of renditions from the likes of Otis Redding, Lionel Richie and Marvin Gaye, each and every time I have had the opportunity to attend one of his gig's, I've been dumbfounded as to why this powerful voice wasn’t doing the circuit of the O2’s throughout the country.
How very wrong I was. A triple platinum selling collaboration with Rudimental, a top 10 collaboration with Rudimental and Alex Clare, a debut single number 1 and having played live to crowds reaching 80,000 people this summer, it’s fair to say that the newest and hottest voice on the circuit is here to stay and has surpassed all expectations I ever made.
After divulging in a splendid Chinese courtesy of China, China in Settle and having sat down on a Friday evening awaiting John Newman's appearance on the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage, I was taken back by what followed. This was a back to basics performance of amazing Motown-esque vocals accompanied by excellently executed keyboard playing that only those with astronomical ability could ever deliver. Whilst the nerves were understandably evident in the opening few seconds, what was to follow was difficult to compare anything to. This was the true John Newman, doing what John Newman does best. It was brilliant.
Here was a man that could barely be heard by a small community, let alone Pennyghent, Ingleborough or Whernside, yet now here is a man that is destined to go on and achieve extremely incredible things and in response to Lester’s Motown junk or retro R&B genius comment, there is no doubt that John Newman is a combination of the following: Motown, R&B and genius..
Whilst ‘Love me again’ is an absolute smash hit, glimpses of John’s album keep spouting up all over Youtube and there’s no denying, we’re all in for a real treat with what is to come.
Things to look forward to: John’s debut album is set to be released in the coming months. Buy your signed copy via his website for just under £13.00 delivered.
Click here to buy now.
Where to watch: The Cockpit in Leeds on the 3rd of November 2013 is as close to home as we’re going to get. Guaranteed to be an absolute sell-out.
Click here to buy your tickets now and view John’s live shows.
Best John Newman Gig Attended: John’s last ever gig at the Milo Bar, Leeds.
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