John Newman is a remarkable kind of pop star. He can write, sing, arrange, play and produce his own work and direct his own videos too. He's as happy to design a stage set as he is to design the clothes his band will wear on it. His platinum-selling debut album Tribute introduced him to a world hungry for huge pop thrills, but that chapter was closed at the end of another sell out UK tour in November 2013. After the last gig John went home with a hard drive marked Tribute with all the music, artwork and everything associated with the album. That night it went into a folder where John keeps all his old material.
Recorded in LA, London and Miami, his last album Revolve was recorded single by single - an approach John learnt from his friend Calvin Harris. "It's important to really get to know a song," John says. "To go back home for the night, to not touch it, don't think of it, just let my head do the work. Each song was constructed as a complete piece before another was started. "My dream is that Revolve will be smash after smash after smash," he says. "It feels like I'm finally in a place where I'm established and where I've got the groove. I'm not sat here thinking about myself being amazing: I'm sat here thinking about how proud I am of this music that I'm making."
John taught himself how to stop falling asleep when he's right on the brink - it's an out of body moment. "The brain relaxes and you get the most crazy shit going into your mind," he laughs. At this point it's worth remembering John Newman is 24 years old and in a very short time he's gone from being a sensitive kid from a small town in North Yorkshire, to a guy who lives in Los Angeles and records at Michael Jackson's old studio. This is also someone who believes in honesty and Revolve is a very honest album. This is an artist with a huge amount of drive and ambition, an artist who started writing and writing and writing a few years ago and just hasn't stopped and now he's never going to stop because he loves to write for other people too. "I consider myself a songwriter," he says, "not just a singer and I'm finally in a place where I've got rid of the extras, and now I can just really enjoy what i do.”