Danko Jones: “Tarvitsemme takahuoneeseen vain vettä ja pyyhkeitä.”

Spotify on ylpeä voidessaan esitellä Danko Jonesin kaikkien aikojen ensimmäisen livealbumin, joka äänitettiin tänä kesänä Tukholman suurimmassa huvipuistossa. Kysyimme Danko Jonesilta keikasta, kiertue-elämästä ja tulevasta studioalbumista.

danko_730

Miten Gröna Lundin keikka Tukholmassa meni?
Kerrassaan loistavasti. Ymmärrämme Gröna Lundin historiallisen merkityksen, ja meistä oli upeaa tulla kutsutuiksi sinne uudelleen. Palaamme mielellämme kolmannenkin kerran, jos vielä kelpaamme.

Mikä livetallenne on oma suosikkisi ja miksi?
Jos täytyy valita, niin Solomon Burken Soul Alive ja ZZ Topin Tejas-albumin kakkospuoli. Ne ovat uskomattomia esimerkkejä todella virtuoosimaisista esityksistä.

Mitä vaaditte aina kiertueraiderissanne ja miksi?
Vettä ja pyyhkeitä. Perusasiat, joita tarvitaan aitoon esitykseen. Jos takahuoneessa on liian mukavaa, hyvä show ei onnistu. Meillä voi kyllä olla raiderissa jotain muitakin vaatimuksia, mutta ne ovat todennäköisesti muita varten.

Kerro kaikkien aikojen ensimmäisestä keikastanne!
Ensimmäinen virallinen keikkamme oli Montrealissa paikassa nimeltä Looneys. Meidän lisäksemme siellä esiintyivät Sit N’ Spin New Jerseystä ja legendaarinen Spaceshits. Spaceshitsistä syntyivät myöhemmin King Khan, Les Sexereenos ja Mark Sultan. Ei suinkaan paras esityksemme, mutta hyvin mieleenpainuva.

Mitä voimme odottaa Danko Jonesilta seuraavaksi?
Saimme juuri valmiiksi uuden studioalbumimme äänitykset. Albumille on jo keksitty nimikin, mutta se on vielä toistaiseksi salaisuus.

Kuuntele albumi täällä:

Spotify Landmark: Nas’ Illmatic

Spotify Landmark – our series documenting music’s greatest moments in the words of those who made them – is back. This time around, we bring you the ‘aural history’ of Nas’ Illmatic – considered by many to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. On the occasion of the album’s 20th anniversary reissue, Queens, NY native Nas, his producers and his A&R executive recount the making of this timeless gem.

Uncover the story behind this iconic album with Spotify Landmark here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Peter – one of our community’s Rock Stars

Peter+Daniel(1)Have you ever wished you could reach out to an expert with questions about Spotify? The Spotify Community has your man.

A few months ago, we were incredibly happy to have our top community Super User, Peter Doggart from the UK, visit our headquarters in Stockholm. Peter alone is responsible for answering almost 30,000 questions for customers in our community! Peter received a tour of HQ, a day trip around Stockholm, and one-on-one time with Daniel, Martin and several top members of our organization. He was thrilled to be there and so appreciative of the opportunity to really get to know the Spotify team!

When asked why he helps out in the community so much here’s what he said:

What was the first time you came to the community like?

“I am almost certain I came to the community like the majority of current Spotify customers, looking for some help. Even now as a Super User, we need help with new features on occasion, but we are the lucky ones who can bug the staff team directly for answers! Whilst I was on the community myself, I noticed a topic from another community member which I could answer, so I did! The rest is history.”

Why did you keep participating in the community?

“I know music is an important part of peoples’ daily lives, knowing that I have helped someone overcome an issue which means they can enjoy their music, or anyone who says thank you for helping, those are the people who make me smile and make what I do worthwhile.”

Peter_Martin(1)

What was the best part of your journey to Stockholm?

“The best part of my trip was definitely meeting the people who live and breath Spotify. I have never been in an organization where I have seen so much passion and energy from the people before. It was really a dream come true to meet the founders of the company, as well as the product teams and of course to finally meet the wonderful community team I interact with daily. I feel like I am even more part of the Spotify family now!”

To find out more about how to contribute to the community and earn rewards, check out our new Spotify Rock Star Program.

 

Martin Garrix – The Spotify Interview

garrix
 

Martin Garrix may be 17 years old, but the Dutch DJ is not lacking in experience. He’s been producing since he was eight years old, yes… age eight, and has been in the international spotlight since signing to seminal electronic label Spinnin’ Records in 2012. Since, highlights include being officially asked by Christina Aguileira to remix her track, “Your Body,” as well as producing a number one song in three different countries, in addition to huge amount of top tens, with his hit, “Animals.” Martin came by Spotify’s New York City office to talk about his earliest roots in electronic music, what his current listening habits are, and what his sound is progressing towards.

Martin has always been musical. He grew up playing classical Spanish guitar from the age of four. It wasn’t until he heard Tiesto’s monster track, “Traffic”, that he knew electronic music was for him. “It was on his album Parade of the Athletes and was played at the [2004] Olympics. I saw that and just had to buy the album and other electronic albums and compilations. But “Traffic” really drew me in because the melody is really simple and minimalistic, but the track has so much power and feeling to it. It’s just really, really great.”

We all have to unwind, right? So does Martin, he just has to do it in between jetting around the world for shows or intense days in the studio. “Sometimes I’ll stay for the after party, but usually I’m immediately going to the hotel or wherever to get some rest and recharge for the next show. After a long day in the studio I love to just chill out with family and friends… Flume’s remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me” is probably my favorite track to just relax to.”

You know when there’s that one track you can’t get out of your head? Well, the Dutch DJ usually has a few. “Picking one is hard, there are a lot of songs going on up there [laughs]. I really like “Aztec” by Julian Jordan. It has a catchy melody, and without noticing it I sometimes whisper the melody. I really like the track.” We asked Martin to pick one thing outside of his genre that he’s been into lately. “Once again, I’d have to say that album by Flume. His stuff is really refreshing. Yeah, it’s crazy. I really love that album.”

The best producers tend to have certain recognizable sounds, we wondered if Martin had any that he thought were unique to him. “I really like to work with that super plucky percussion sound [he mimics it by flicking his cheek with his mouth open, then quickly laughs]. But honestly, I’m trying to get away from it – I’m a little tired of it now. I used it in “Animals”, I used it in “Wizard”, I used a kind of similar sound in my remix for “Project T.” I’m looking for a different sound to start working with more. But I really like to work with just… silence. But with big sounds on top. The more trance-y kind of sounds, which you’ll hear in my new stuff.“

Martin Garrix’s brand new track, “Wizard”, was just released this week on Spotify. You can hear that, and more of Martin’s picks, in his Favorites playlist here.

 

Our Interview with Daria van den Bercken

Daria van den Bercken
 
“I’m not interested in changing the music, just, sometimes, the context…”

Dutch/Russian classical pianist – and Eddie Izzard fan – Daria van den Bercken recently performed a series of pieces by Handel while being towed by a car around Amsterdam. Last year she appeared at the Virada Cultural festival in São Paulo, Brazil where she played 25 meters above the ground – at midnight – and gave a highly entertaining TED Talk about the power of music, so, as you can imagine, when Daria came into record a Spotify Session in Amsterdam there were a few things we wanted to ask her,

Why is Handel so important to you?
There is a relationship here – some music just fits you and Handel fitted me perfectly. His music is energetic, it has melancholy and energy, and it always has a positive undercurrent. You can feel each small pain and wish. I like those contrasts and I enjoy the physicality of playing it. But also Handel is kind of underplayed. Beethoven and Mozart are both played a lot, so there is a whole world of information you have as a musician with all the different interpretations of their music. With Handel, it was just me and the music, because there’s a lot less baggage, a lot less perfomance history. The crucial thing is to spread the music, it’s not about stunts.

Unless they’re super exciting.
Well, yes. An Italian promoter has already offered me twenty shows flying over crowds, but I don’t want to become The Flying Piano Lady. I don’t want to be a gimmick.

How did you begin playing music?
I guess my parents noticed how I loved music, so I started piano when I was six and began to sing in a choir at seven. My parents always had music playing in the house too. I’m half Russian, so we had a lot of Soviet records! I remember going to concerts and hearing a piano concerto and being totally swept up by it. I wasn’t a ‘Wunderkind’, I learned many things gradually and over time. I had time to think about it and I worked hard. So I had a talent, but I wasn’t a prodigy.

In your TED talk you touch on that constant state of wonder that kids have. Are these events your way of trying to reinstill that sense of wonder in adults?
Exactly. I wanted to reach out and catch people unexpectedly! I played at a bank the other day – they don’t usually do that kind of thing, but I know a lot of people would not normally listen to the music I love, so I wanted to reach out to them, take the music to where they are?

Does the perfect piece of music exist?
I love that question! I’d have to think about it. Beethoven wrote some music that was so weird and gripping that it could have been written fifty or a hundred years from now. There is a piano sonata, Opus 101, that goes beyond anything you’ve ever heard before. I don’t understand it, but I love it. True art reaches forward. Radiohead have almost done that, I think a lot of their music is for later generations, maybe we don’t understand all of it yet.

Finally – crucially – what’s your favourite noise?
Oh, it’s one combined with smell. You can hear people mowing their grass, then you get the scent and that for me is the best. Then it goes silent and you’re left with only the scent. But I also love one beautiful chord being followed by another one – my internal strings are definitely struck by that!

 

Jake Bugg – The Spotify Interview

Jake-Bugg-730

Jake Bugg has taken the UK by storm. At 19 years old, he is the youngest male solo artist ever to reach the top of the album charts! He’s now released his second album and is ready to take over the rest of the world. We met up with him and spoke about the new album, his influences, and what matters most in his life.

Charismatic, retro-inspired talent Jake Bugg has not only been nominated for the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year and Q Award for Best Solo Artist, he’s now won the Q Award for Best New Act and is quickly becoming a favorite of elite musicians and legends including Noel Gallagher, Lily Allen, Damon Albarn, Chris Martin, and Elton John. Jake just finished a European tour and released his second album, Shangri La, on which he collaborated with the legendary super producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC, Johnny Cash).

JB: It’s been going ok. I’ve played many shows much bigger than I’ve ever played before; that was fun. We’ll see how this album goes. I’m quite, a little bit, apprehensive about how it’s going to be received, but excited at the same time.

Shangri La is named after Rick Rubin’s studio in Malibu, Los Angeles, where the 19-year-old singer-songwriter recorded the album. Rubin produced the album, and it features Jason Lader on bass, Matt Sweeney on guitar, and Pete Thomas on drums.

JB: It was great to work with Rick! He’s a very nice man. I didn’t really know of his work before, so I wasn’t like in awe. I just went and met him for the person that he is. He’s a very nice guy, very relaxed. The place that we recorded the album was very relaxed too, Zuma beach. I didn’t want to leave to be honest. I was there for two weeks and I heard that’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place for the last two years. So it was like a holiday for me, recording this album. It was pretty nice; the purple sky when the sun’s going down and then some lemon trees growing around –very beautiful. It was like a dream.

Influences
Jake’s main influences as a songwriter are Layne Staley, The Beatles, OasisDonovan, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, and Nick Drake. This influence from older artists really shines through in his music. At home, Jake has a lot of old guitars – including a particularly special 60-year-old guitar that he bought in Nashville, Tennessee.

JB: It was something that I wanted for ages, but I never thought I’d earn such a thing. It’s quite a rare guitar, but I’m very happy that I own it. I own quite a lot of guitars… I probably have about 20.

Yes I Do
This year, Jake played the Glastonbury Festival, not once but twice. First on a main stage and then a smaller, more intimate gig on an acoustic-only stage. One of the songs he played that day was “Saffron,” an old song that he wrote when he was about 15 years old. About halfway through, he noticed that something was going on in the crowd…

JB: I saw a lot of people start looking at this woman. Then this guy stood up and she hugged him and he proposed to her. He asked her to marry him in the middle of my song. So, halfway through the song I said congratulations. That’s very nice, but if I were going to propose, I wouldn’t do it at a Jake Bugg gig.

Behind the Spotlight
Jake grew up in Nottingham, about two hours away from London. Currently, the young artist is without an official home base. London would be the obvious choice, but he’s also considering somewhere like Paris or Stockholm. Jake left home when he was 17, so wherever he settles will be the first place he’d live since then. Despite his rapid success and seemingly constant touring, Jake seems to be a surprisingly pleasant and down to earth person. He describes himself as quite cynical, about music and a lot of things.

JB: I think I spend too much time trying to work out everybody else’s personalities. Because I’m very grateful of what I have, I think I can also be quite generous at times as well. I just had my best friend with me on the tour bus for the UK tour, that was quite nice. I think it’s all about the people that you surround yourself with. If you start getting a big head or, you know, they’ll tell you… it’s good.

The thing Jake values most in life is his family, his friends, all the people that he loves, and, of course, the music.

JB: If I wasn’t doing this, I don’t know what else I’d be doing. It’s kind of all that I have.

Embed Code: 

 

The Naked And Famous: The Spotify Interview

-1

The much hyped alternative rockband from New Zealand, The Naked And Famous, have recently released their second studio album, In Rolling Waves. TNAF just began their European tour, which will continue until the 15th of March, 2014. We had the pleasure of meeting with its two impressive vocalists, Thom and Alisia, on their first night of the tour, in Stockholm.

When Thom and Alisa met in 2006 at a music college in Auckland, New Zealand, they formed a songwriting partnership right away, which would become the life force of TNAF. Aron, who also studied at the music collage, soon became a production foil to the duo. Today, he’s the synth player. Actually, all of the boys in the band sort of knew each other from high school. Bassist David and drummer Jesse came on board as full band members in 2009. We asked them how they came up with their amazing band-name, The Naked And Famous.

- We stole it from Tricky! He was part of the Trip Hop scene in the early 90’s. I think he’s from Bristol. He was just someone I really liked, growing up listening to him through high school. He was one of my immediate frames of references as far as music. So I thought, maybe I’ll steal a name, like a verse or a title from something that I really like. That line, “naked and famous,” stuck out to me. It’s from one of his songs called “Tricky Kid,” and at the time it just seamed obviously ironic for us cause we were just a small indie band with small and realistic ambitious. As time has gone on though, I think it’s given it more meaning because we are now a global band and it’s important that, as we’re becoming more well-known, it does still remain ironic. Cause it is kind of trivial and silly, Thom explains.

The Sound
Some people like to describe TNAF as an electronic pop band. Though, that’s not how they would describe their sound themselves. They somehow got lumped into a synth-pop label that has been quite prevalent in the last 4 years.

- I like to call it alternative rock music. That’s the most broad and simple genre. It says enough. I think synth-pop is a very single-oriented terminology that was given to us, just based on our most popular songs on the radio. So, we kind of battled that, but now it’s really dissipated and we’re just seen as a rock group, which is nice. It’s been validating to not still be just part of a little time. There’s been a little bit of an evolution with the music, says Thom.

TNAF started as a very low-fi kind of project. They were a four-piece band to begin with, because Aron wasn’t even in the band when they first started. He was just helping them by engineering recordings and producing. They hadn’t really found an instrument for him to play, but he slowly developed that over time with the music software that he used to play live. There has been a lot of progress in the band’s sound since they first started off.

- This is my first band, so I never really knew how to use my voice properly. This band was my first serious go at writing songs. So, for me if I look at the recordings of the songs from our first EP, to where I’ve ended up on In Rolling Waves, it’s actually quite a development. You can hear it and you can see it. We’ve all been growing as musicians over the years, that’s great, Alisia says.

Who’s the Boss? 
- Thom is the boss, Alisia answers quickly without a single doubt.

- Yea, I naturally am in the position. I’ve always been a very pro-active person, wanting to make things happen for myself and wanting to achieve my desires, my goals. I find myself being interested in being pro-active. I like making things happen for myself. I like making my visions and my desires come to life. That puts you in a position of being in control over things, Thom says.

I asked them if they ever fight with each other, and Thom answers that they fight all the time. He said that there’s a lot of tension within the group, but at the same time they’re all very, very good friends and it’s a healthy, natural part of always functioning as an adult.

- And that’s proof that you are good friends because you can fight, and you can say things. There’s bound to be tension if you’re working with a group of people that are all very passionate about what they do, Alisia says with a smile.

Keeping Dreams Alive
The band released their album In Rolling Waves on the 16th of September. Alisia explained that they learned so much from the pursuit of their previous album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, that when it came to creating In Rolling Waves, they just took everything that they had learned, everything that they knew, and just built on top of that. I asked them if there were any songs off the new album that they are particularly proud of.

- For me, up until this point, just having released and finished In Rolling Waves, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and achievement. That’s the type of band that we want to be, we want to create bodies of work and we want to continue to make more albums. That we have our second one out is just so satisfying. The whole album is a favorite for me, says Alisia.

- I feel very much the same, it’s like a collective. They’re all like chapters in a book. It’s hard to just pick one, even though they do stand alone as singular songs. It’s too close to the whole process to have a favorite. The last album was such an eclectic experience. Making a record and being in a band is such a huge achievement. That was really one of the biggest factors for wanting to do the second record, having achieved our dream and then wanting to keep it alive, Thom says.

Presenting “According to Anders Fridén” – lead singer of In Flames

Spotify proudly announces a new collaboration with Anders Fridén, lead singer of the world renowned metal band In Flames. On October 30th, Anders will launch his own playlist, “According To,” exclusively on Spotify and also start writing columns for our blog. We asked him to explain a bit more about the project.

anders_730

Hi Anders! What’s this about?

Simply a way for me to share damn good music. I’m a big consumer of all sorts of music, and I myself love to get tips on something new or something that I’ve I missed.

What kind of songs will end up on your playlist?

I think I will focus on rock/metal, but I may also slip in other genres when I get the feeling. That happens a lot.

You will also write columns on the Spotify blog, what will those be about?

I do not know yet, haha! I shoot from the hip. They will obviously revolve around music: how I got where I am today and what life was like when I was naive and didn’t have to think about what was right and wrong. I probably can’t keep myself from writing about beer, whiskey, food and all that other stuff that makes life feel a little easier sometimes.

What’s happening with In Flames in the near future?

Right now we are writing new hit songs, and we will soon enter the studio to make album number eleven…. Number eleven! Holy shit!

What is your favorite song right now and why?

My label Razzia Notes released the debut album from a band called Dead Soul. There are a lot of amazing songs, but one that stands out for me right now is the song Dead Soul – Kill the Past. As a lyricist, I love when the lyrics marry well with the music, and in this case, such great lyrics! Dark and beautiful.

OK Spotifiers…. October 30th, save the date!

We’ll be launching this feature, “According To,” with Anders Fridén! You will find Anders’ playlist and column on our blog.

 

Benjamin from MGMT – The Spotify Interview

The psychedelic rock duo MGMT are back with new music, and we talked to band member Benjamin Goldwasser about first impressions in college, music that changes your life, and the theme from ‘Ghostbusters’.

mgmt_730

We met Benjamin Goldwasser from MGMT when him and his band mate Andrew VanWyngarden played in Stockholm. Right now they are touring intensively in support of  their latest album, MGMT. Benjamin describesMGMT as pretty different musically in comparison with their previous records. “We’ve been trying some different ways of writing songs. We’ve been more patient with ourselves, and worked on something for a longer period of time until we got this feeling of something happening, instead of forcing it. It’s getting back to the spirit of how the band was when we first started making music together” he says.

Q: You and Andrew met during your freshman year of college. What was your first impression of eachother?

A: We hit it off right away. We were hanging out with the same group of friends and we had both come to college as musicians who were looking for other people to play with. We played in lots of different bands, separate from each other, and started writing music together just for fun. We didn’t really think of it as a band at that point, we were just kind of hanging out and gradually we realized that we were actually in a band. We were pretty close friends from the beginning and went on a lot of road trips together, driving around the United States, going to visit friends from college out in the mid-west somewhere. It was the first time I ever really saw the country. The first tour we did was just the two of us in his pick-up truck, just driving to all of these crazy places. It was cool.

Q: When your debut album came out, it was an instant hit. What was it like to have that major success with your best friend?

A: We didn’t really expect anything like that. For a while, we didn’t even believe that it was happening. We thought it was just a dream and that we would wake up from it. After a while, a lot of the fame and that side of things started to wear on us, we’re not really the kind of people who care about things like that. It’s great to be recognized for what you do and have people like it, but for people to expect us to be rock starts all the time… It’s not who we are and I think we care more about making good music and giving people something meaningful to listen to. That’s the main priority for us, so we were kind of relieved when a lot of the hype died down and we could just go back to making music.

Q: Tell us about your first gig!

A: It was a talent show in our dorm, we performed the theme from Ghostbusters for twenty minutes. It ended with Andrew laying down, rolling around on the floor telling everyone to leave. That was history.

Q: Oh wow. Had you prepared that or was it just in the moment?

- We had prepared a little bit. We had a loop with the chords forGhostbusters, but that was about it! I think some people liked it and some people really hated it, which hasn’t really changed for us. Except that there are more people listening now. I think we’ve always gotten mixed reactions, but people react strongly to what we do, and to me that is the best compliment.

Q: Have you ever gone back to your college and played?

A: Yeah, we’ve been back a few times. We’ve actually kind of overdue for another visit, it’s been a long time. We still love going back there. It’s a pretty special place and a cool crowd of people. It’s a cool combination of really smart people and creative people who like to have a good time.

Q: Are you a legendary band there?

A: I don’t know what it’s like for them now. When we went to college there, there were a few kind of famous bands or filmmakers who had come out of that school. We heard about them, but we were kind of over it at that point. We wanted to do our own thing. I kind of hope that it will be like that for people there now.  Maybe they’re proud of the fact that we came from there, but at the same time they won’t try to replicate whatever we did.

Q: What would you say is the ultimate goal with your music?

A: Mostly to capture the feeling that we get when we listen to music that we really like. People listen to music because it gives them kind of this visceral feeling that they can’t get from anything else. We just want to make more of that for other people and try to make something different from what is already out there. Maybe expose people to new ideas, new ways of listening to music, or paying attention to the world around them.

Q: Do you remember a song from when you were younger that had that effect on you?

A: One of the first bands that I heard in high school that really got me to start thinking about music differently was King Crimson. I know that for most people it’s not a cool band by any means, but I remember hearing it and at first I couldn’t stand it. It sounded awful to me, I couldn’t understand why anybody would make music like that. Then I decided that I was gonna listen to it until I figured out what was going on, and try to appreciate it because I could tell that whatever they were doing, they meant it. To me, that was an important lesson. If somebody really means something by what they’re doing, it’s worth a try to get into it.

Q: What is next for MGMT?

A: Touring is gonna be one of the big things right now, and we will hopefully be doing some festivals next summer. We really want to come over to Europe and do festivals again, because we kind of missed out on the last tour. We are also talking about how much we want to start working on another album already. Hopefully we will be able to do some work on that while we’re touring. We’re already excited to put more music out.

 

John Newman: The Spotify Interview

Johnnewman-700We had the pleasure of talking to British soul-pop sensation John Newman when he was in Stockholm performing at NRJ’s 20th celebration party at Café Opéra. After a morning in the gym, John chilled for a while on the coach in the library of Nobis hotel, and chatted with us about everything from haters and chaws to the brain tumor that inspired him to try to enjoy every single day that he gets to wake up and do what he loves the most – music.

John has had extreme success with his first single “Love Me Again,” which has peaked at number one on the charts across 14 countries, and top ten in 40 countries! The single has achieved great success in his home country as well, where it has gone gold and dominated the official singles chart for seven consecutive weeks. We asked John how it feels to suddenly be an international celebrity.

- Surreal. Weird. But it’s really nice because I’ve never quite believed things. The day I got it, I didn’t really know how to take it. I went to Paris that evening because we started our three months of promo, which is just about to end. The thing about promo is that when you sit and speak about it, you realize how far you’ve come. It makes me proud, to think of what I’ve done. I’ve worked really hard, every single day. Focusing on day by day, you kind of get stuck in there and forget what’s happing on the outside. But it’s cool, it’s all a bit mad!

Love to the Music
John thinks that the best shows are the ones with full live bands, when he doesn’t have to feel like a robot. He likes to have control over things; he is just a massive perfectionist! When performing, John looks like he’s never done anything else, like he was born on the stage. But when we asked him how he feels up there, he answered that it feels like he is about to “have a brain surgery!”

- I have to think about so many things, it’s crazy! I kind of arrange all the music. I spend a lot of time looking after my band. I think about the lightings and the set. Then I also have to think about the crowd and the songs that I’m singing, on top of the technical side of performance. It’s like so many things! But that rush, for about an hour, is just the best feeling ever. I think it’s just because I enjoy it. I enjoy having all these ideas, and expressing them. I really like getting involved creatively in things. But then, I also have a great team around me. They’re all professionals in different areas. So I do listen to people… just, not very well, haha!

John sings a lot about love and relationships, but he told us that it’s not always that easy to put keep all the pieces together when you are as passionate about your career as John.

- Shit went down with my latest relationship. I think it was for the best, I feel pretty good. It’s just hard because I’ve always kind of related to my job, and now my job ruined my relationship – again. It happens quite a lot. Well, the past two relationships, which have been quite big ones. I work so much and my mind is always on overdrive, so I don’t put my all into the relationships. Then it fails and I feel bad. But in the end, I’ve got to keep my priorities right. I’m 23 years old, in the future I can settle down.

Tribute
John will release his debut album, Tribute, on October 14. John reveals himself as not only a singer, but also as a producer and songwriter. The album includes the hit single “Love Me Again” as well as the new single “Cheating,” which was released on October 7.

- I’m so proud of the album! What I mentioned about getting involved in everything – this album was the thing that all of my involvement went into, it’s the final product of everything. To be able to hold it in your hands is an incredible feeling. Just to know that it’s complete and to put a project to bed feels amazing. It’s not like I rushed it, I took so much time with it. I really enjoyed making it and I’ve learned very much. I feel that I’ve done a good job showing myself as both a producer and an artist.

Haters Looking Stupid
John’s musical journey started off at the early age of 14, inspired by his mother’s old Motown and Northern Soul vinyls. With homegrown productions, he performed at local pubs around his hometown Settle. We asked John about his very first live performance.

- It was a bit weird… I grew up in a small town in northern England where if you were different it wasn’t really accepted. It was really hard to perform in front of my friends. They were all kind of macho, liked getting pissed on the weekends and listening to house music. I think the first song I wrote was about how I spoke to my dad for the first time in six years. To sing that to my friends was horrible, I think everyone laughed at me. It went down quite well afterwards though, because I had actually expressed myself in front of them, and that felt amazing. I had to start somewhere.

Newman’s dad left the family when John was only a kid. His mom, who worked as a receptionist, raised him all by herself. It made him really appreciate what he has today… every single penny that he has earned so far. John learned to not care about all of the haters. Today, they’re the ones calling him up. In the end, all these “friends” have actually helped him in a way. They’ve made him want to express himself even more, and mainly about them! It all came to the point when he kind of sat there thinking; Idiots! They began to laugh at themselves almost, since Newman began to write songs about them. It just showed how much they didn’t care since they weren’t even listening to the lyrics, lyrics that were expressing how upset John was getting with them. 

Take Nothing for Granted
A while ago, John Newman suddenly started to go blind. He went to an optician, and they sent him to the eye hospital, which then sent him to a neurosurgeon… John had a tumor in his brain and they had to take it out. We asked him how the incident has affected him as a musician and as a person. It turns out that in between the struggle, some good things came out.

- It matured me as a person, a lot. I definitely cut down drinking and having too much fun. Now I have fun in different ways, like drinking red wine and eating good food, instead of nights out, haha! It’s good!

John has never written about his critical health situation. He has studied pop music, and says that even though the radio may have played it, in the end, people driving home from work don’t want to hear about a person lying in a hospital bed with a brain tumor. They want to hear about things that they can actually relate to.

- In terms of my work, it has made me very driven. I could have not been doing this… I could have not been doing anything! It makes you want to just work everyday because I don’t ever want to not be doing music. It’s inspiring almost, when something like that comes along. You kind of realize that you should enjoy everyday and get the most out of life.