Having previously released hits such as ‘Love Me Again’, ‘Give Me Your Love’ with Sigala, and ‘Blame’ with Calvin Harris, 2021 has been yet another star-performing year for John Newman. Having teamed up with David Guetta and Mistajam, the English artist treated us to the song of the summer, ‘If You Really Love Me (How Will I Know)’. Returning to the stage after 18 months away, we had the pleasure of speaking to John Newman before he stepped back on stage at SAGA Festival.
Hey John, thanks for taking the time to speak with us! After a year of lockdowns and shows being canceled, how does it feel to be back?
“So good. Like, I was so tired of flights, interviews, and hotels, I was tired of everything like I started getting sore like I just want to go home, I want to go home. And then I was home and I was like, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here so I think it’s given me time to like reflect on the better things in life, things to appreciate, and also the better direction and focus in my career. I think it’s been a really positive thing, not for the world, but mentally it’s been a really good thing for me.”
Speaking of focusing on your music. Do you feel you’ve prepared for the return of festivals and shows, are you ready to get back into it
“Yeah, I mean, I’m quite glad, like being here at this festival I walked on stage and it was such a good thing I’m not with my band anymore. Because I’ve like always, always been addicted to dance music and would go and do these dance collaborations or spend my nights at dance festivals or go out clubbing and I was like, what am I doing? Why don’t I do dance music? So it’s been a thing I’ve been working on a whole new live show over this time so yeah, what you’re saying, hat’s literally what we’ve been doing. We’ve been preparing to release this new show. So excited to play and this will be the third time I’ve done it and the reaction has just been mental so I’m so up for it.”
Now you’re committing yourself to be in dance music completely and you’re now performing at dance music festivals, do you prepare for a show like this any differently now?
“No, not really, because, like before I was still going to be mentally challenging myself to a crazy level, but now it’s yeah it’s definitely three times more challenging but it’s activated in my brain in ways that I’m like, I love this I like to be challenged. I just felt like I’d go into studio straightaway with a pair of producers and they’d be like, you sing the song, we’ll do the beat, and I’m like, you know I’m a producer and a DJ and a singer and a writer, but I still felt like I was just the same as the rest of the singers. I don’t feel like that you know I feel like I really treat this as an art, and something that I’ve got so much key involvement in you know.”
You want to be involved in all aspects of what you’re putting out. Do you feel like you’re a somewhat perfectionist when it comes to your releases and does that help with how much high-quality music you put out?
“Thank you. I just don’t want to look back and say I’ve done anything bad, at any point like anything was bad. I am a fan of music, and I want to be able to listen back to my tunes and go, yeah I like these tunes appreciate them all. Like I listen back the other day and I was like, yeah, I mean some of them now I don’t think are that great but that’s progression. As long as I know that I’m doing the best I can, at that point, then that’s hard to put a stamp on it because then that’s, that is me and my best at that time. And if it sounds bad I don’t do it, I wanted to do this for years, and years, and years, there’s no rush, I think people rush to put out things, and the quality drops. I used to say as long as I have one summer banger each year I’m good man.”
Speaking of summer bangers. On ‘If You Really Love Me’, you worked alongside David Guetta where for the first time. How was it working with someone who seems to bring the best out of everyone he works with?
“That’s such a good comment on him. That’s what he does is, and I think he’s amazing at doing that and I think, when we were just talking about making sure you get it right every time, taking time to get it right, and focusing on the better things in life that then make you focus on the right thing in music instead of the politics, instead of the music industry or what the Spotify formula is. I think he is the one that just listens to a good tune and says that’s a good tune. That’s what music is. To work with him he was just so, so interesting and so inspiring to see somebody that thrives so much creatively after all that time of doing it. I was chatting to him about my DJ show and he’s like, just remember I’ve been DJing for 40 years, I was like oh my god it’s mental, you know, it’s crazy.”
Would you like to be in the music scene for 40 years?
” I’ll see how I am. he looks young, I don’t know if I’m gonna look that young at that age haha.”
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything you’d like to announce to our readers?
“I’m working on a lot of stuff, but I’m in no rush. Everyone’s kind of like, oh you should follow up ‘If You Really Love Me’ but I think the records got legs I think it’s, it’s not going anywhere for a little while it’s continuing to rise and I think about focusing on next year and getting that right. And, yeah, doing it properly as I hopefully tried to in the past.”
Check out ‘If You Really Love Me (How Will I Know)’ below: