John Newman scores big with debut CD

John Newman

John Newman took his native Britain by storm last year with his number one single, “Love Me Again.” The catchy tune was a top 10 hit in over 10 countries in 2013. When the 23-year-old British artist released his album, “Tribute,” on Oct. 21, 2013, it charted at No. 1 in his native country the next week. The album was released in the United States in January; and the single, “Love Me Again,” soon made the top five on the iTunes chart. The song continues to grow in popularity as it is now heard regularly on pop stations. Newman has made appearances on the “Ellen” show, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and “The Today Show.”
I first saw Newman on the British show, “Later... with Jools Holland,” and after hearing only 15 seconds of “Love Me Again,” I was hooked. I purchased the CD that week and played it non-stop. I could not get the hit song out of my head, but surprisingly I found the other 11 songs just as likeable. “Tribute” is an album that flows and plays well as a unit, unlike many of today’s pop songs that are only a string of singles compiled on an album.

Newman starts the album off with the song, “Tribute,” a heartfelt acknowledgement to all his musical influences. The song sets the stage for the rest of his R & B- and soul-influenced numbers. Newman, who was born in Settle, North Yorkshire, England, was exposed to Northern Soul and Motown when growing up.  He broadened his musical interests by playing his mother’s records from the 1970s and ‘80s and started loving other varieties of music including punk and hip-hop. I heard the influences of ‘60s soul, ‘70s disco, ‘80s alternative, ‘90s house, and although Newman’s songs sounded familiar, they still have freshness about them.  They include many dance music elements, which make it hard to stand still when you hear them but that have more substance. Part of the music’s appeal is the way Newman pours out his emotions as he mourns a recent breakup and relationships gone badly.  Despite the lyrics, the songs are still lively and upbeat with Newman’s booming, husky, soulful voice standing out. He is a new artist of promise and one to watch.

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