British singer/songwriter Newton Faulkner first burst on to the music scene back in 2007 with the release of his debut album ‘Hand Built By Robots’.
Featuring the singles ‘Dream Catch Me’, ‘I Need Something’ and a cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’, the album hit Number 1 in the U.K. Album Chart and was certified double platinum.
Since then Faulkner has gone on to release a further 4 more albums, star in the West End musical ‘American Idiot’ (based on the 2004 concept album of the same name by punk rock band Green Day), perform alongside Jason Donovan and Carrie Hope Fletcher in Jeff Wayne’s ‘War Of The Worlds’ and star in the TV-series ‘Relentless Boardmasters’.
To celebrate the release of his new album ‘The Very Best Of Newton Faulkner… So Far’ (out March 15th) we sat down with the talented musician to talk career achievements, social media, his upcoming tour and self reflection…
Next week marks the release your first ‘Best Of…’ collection, which comes 12 years after of your debut album ‘Hand Built By Robots’, have you found that this has become a time of reflection for you, looking at all you’ve achieved in your career so far?
Yes definitely – I mean I’ve had no choice really, as everywhere I look it’s being shoved in my face (laughs). It’s crazy maths, to think that it’s been 12 years since I started out… wow, when you say it out loud like that!
I’ve been doing a mini run down and bio of each of my previous albums on Facebook which has been great and yeah, thinking about it, I’ve enjoyed looking back at everything to be honest. Though I get a bit of a shock when I look at old photos of myself and I think ‘wow, I look REALLY young’.
It’s somewhat of a cliché question, but what have been some of your highlights over the past 12 years?
Oh, it’s hard as there have been so many, so I don’t know how answer that question to be honest… what I will say though, is that early on in my career I set myself a challenge to keep everything I do musically on the same level – so that’s songwriting, singing, playing the guitar, production, EVERYTHING has to be equally as good. But then on the flip side of that, you’re creating more work for yourself, because when you get better at one thing, you have to work harder and focus on everything else so that they don’t slip or fall by the waste side.
I feel like I’m constantly spinning plates and it’s a challenge but I like it this way, and the fact that I feel I’ve maintained that idea and way of challenging myself throughout my career is a personal highlight so I give myself a bit of a pat on the back for that.
It’s always interesting to get feedback from fans on what songs, albums, eras/moments they’ve enjoyed in an artists career, but for you personally is there a time that you look back on and feel like the stars aligned and you created some of your best work?
Each record I’ve made has been a blueprint of where I’m at in my life at that exact moment, so with each of my releases I’ve felt like it was the best of who I was at that time.
I can be quite introspective when making music – at the end of the day I’m a singer/songwriter, and I’ve always written autobiographical, honest lyrics that’s what it’s always been about for me.
I think around the time I released ‘Hit The Ground Running’ (my last album) my vocals were a step up from my previous work, but like I said before that just meant I had to make sure the production and lyrics matched. I’d say my guitar playing stayed the same throughout everything – thats been my one constant.
So we’ve looked back, let’s focus on the here and now and your new single ’Don’t Leave Me Waiting’ – the lead track from the ‘Best Of…’ collection, can you tell us a little bit about the song?
Yeah, I’d say with the single, and all of the new tracks on the album actually, are traditionally Newton Faulkner sounding, but with some new flavours and a suitable hint of where I’m going to go musically in the future. They kind of end the chapter of where I’m at now, but give a glimpse of what’s to come, so it’s exciting.
What we love most about the new album is the inclusion of a second disc, made up of cover songs, what was the idea behind doing this?
Well mainly because I’ve always enjoyed doing versions of other peoples songs really. And I’ve gotta say, I’ve learnt a huge amount doing the covers album – it was a huge challenge but one I’ve really enjoyed.
How do you approach doing a remake of another artists song, do you very much want to change it and make it your own, or is it a case of simply wanting to pay homage to the original?
Firstly, I need to really feel a song, and lyrically there has to be a story to it, it’s all about the emotional journey you take the listener on. Production wise it’s got to be right too because like I said before the production of the songs is so important, it’s a really big deal to me.
Learning other peoples songs teaches you a big lesson, it’s been a good way to push myself as a guitarist. And as a piano player actually – I’m learning to play a lot of Bee Gees covers on the piano at the moment which is fun. I first started playing the piano on my last tour and it really helped my with my songwriting – it’s been interesting to create songs in a new way.
Newton Faulkner – Pure Imagination (Live)
Later this month you’re heading out on tour in support of the album, you must be looking forward to hitting the road again and playing all of your hits… what can fans expect from your new shows?
Yeah I am, I love playing live.
I’m probably going to retire my loop pedal (laughs) but the midi guitar is coming back! People maybe put me in a category and thought I was one type of artist and I’m not, so getting out there and playing live is a great way of showing everyone exactly who I am as an artist.
You’re over a decade into your career now, change is obviously enviable, but would you say have been the biggest changes in the industry since you first started out?
Social media for sure. It’s great and like I said earlier, in the run up to the album coming out it’s been good to use social media to get deep with the fans and share with them where I was coming from and what I was really going through when creating some of their favourite songs.
The more you do, the more you learn – live streaming is so interesting to me as you see peoples instant reactions, you can’t assume anything of people or what they’re going to like or not like.
Newton Faulkner’s album ‘The Very Best Of Newton Faulkner… So Far’ is out on 15th March, available to pre-order now here.
Head over to Twitter (@CelebMix) now & let us know your favourite tracks on the album.