When British singer-songwriter John Newman sat down to write his debut album he never intended it to become a breakup album.
Before he took the solo route, Newman collaborated with fellow British band Rudimental and had a hand in writing and singing on their No. 1 hit “Feel the Love” and their popular follow-up “Not Giving In.” His debut single “Love Me Again,” off his upcoming yet to be titled album due out October 7, also went to No. 1 on the U.K. charts and the catchy dance track with a full-blown horn section details the breakup with his ex-girlfriend. Though the split was difficult, Newman said it opened the floodgates, something he’s grateful for.
“I went through a really big breakup with a girlfriend at the time [and] it hit me,” he told Radio.com. “But it was amazing because straight up the music started coming. ‘Love Me Again’ was part of the breakup where it was the first time where I started messing up in the relationship and I wasn’t very nice to her. It’s a song that sums up me as a producer and a songwriter and an artist and that’s why it’s the first single.”
His first No. 1 U.K. hit as a solo artist, “Love Me Again” will also be his first U.S. single. While Newman hopes Americans will also embrace the track, he says the topic is classic and timeless.
“Breakups happen all the time and people are in relationships all the time so people can relate to it,” he said. “Of course this is my first time experiencing it and getting it off my shoulders and when you’re expressing yourself you’re really passionate about it.”
With the promise of his first full-length being a breakup album, it comes as no surprise that Newman is influenced by the queen of breakup albums. ”Adele, I think is incredible and I look up to her as an artist, as a personality, and massively as a songwriter.”
In addition to writing and producing the album, Newman also has complete creative control in the artwork and music video scripts.
“The artwork, I really paid attention to every detail. I wouldn’t let anything go past me. I wouldn’t let anybody make any decisions without me or create anything without me advising,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure it was right in my own head and it was the album I wanted to make.”
Another track off his album, the soulful “Cheating,” which Newman wrote years ago, also embodies a personal story about his experiences with dating.
“It’s about me being a kid that was paralyzed with girlfriends because I lacked self-confidence and how this girl I thought was cheating on me but I didn’t mind because I couldn’t do any better in my own mind,” he said.
The album embodies different aspects of his breakup like “Losing Sleep,” which is about being paranoid while lying in bed alone. He wrote the song with Benny Blanco, who has written hits for Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Britney Spears. Newman said working with the American producer was incredible.
“We got along really, really well. It was a little strange because I’m a British songwriter and he’s very American in that sort of way but we came together quite well,” he said. “We developed a really nice friendship. The music we were making was quite good.”
Newman was inspired by Blanco’s work ethic and observed that the clock didn’t mean anything to him.
“He worked right through and it obviously works for him. He’s very hard working and very passionate about what he does and has a great team of people working around him,” he said. “The way that he writes songs and makes songs and works with other people, it’s nonstop. And he gets to work with such amazing artists by being such a lovely guy.”
The album helped Newman through his own breakup and he hopes it does the same for listeners.
“When you have troubles, writing about it, it’s like sitting down and having a conversation. It’s letting it out there and getting it out of your chest,” he said. “That’s why it’s therapeutic. It frees you up to feel good again. You express how you feel and it’s out of your body a little bit. It’s music; you can always go back to it and think about it and not have it all welled up inside.”
John Newman’s debut album drops October 7.