John Newman Talks About His Return to Dance Music Roots with New Single ‘Hold On To My Love'”

From his megahit ‘Love Me Again’ to massive collaborations like ‘Feel The Love’ with Rudimental, ‘If You Really Love Me’ with David Guetta and MistaJam, and the huge smash single ‘Blame’ with Calvin Harris. John Newman has become one of the most sought-after names in today’s music business. But whilst his reign as a pop/soul star hit incredible milestones, including over 2.5 billion streams and nine #1 records as a songwriter and artist. The young artist, who grew up on a council estate in Northern England, DJing on borrowed gear, is about to come full circle. Returning to his dance music roots, John Newman has reimagined his career and musical direction with a cutting-edge hybrid set encompassing his signature live vocals and DJing ability. After signing with One World Artists and DJing at Tomorrowland Winter, John Newman released his new single dance track ‘Hold On To My Love’. We caught up with him to find out all about it.

On first spin, you can feel the energy exuding from ‘Hold On To My Love.’ What does the single mean to you? And what inspired the track?

‘Hold On To My Love’ marks an exciting new chapter in my career with the backing of a new team. The track idea came about very organically and quite randomly, as most of the best ones do. I was partying backstage at Tomorrowland presents Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike at Ushuaïa in Ibiza, and the vocal just popped into my head so I grabbed my phone and sang the lyrics and a rough melody into my voice notes. It’s really cool to listen back to that voice note now that the track is out in the world.

Congratulations on your recent signing with Tomorrowland, how did this come about and what are you most excited for in your new partnership with one of the world’s biggest dance imprints?

Yeah, it’s really exciting. I have been working towards this new stage of my career for three years, like at full steam. I knew when it came to looking for the right team in the management department, I needed someone that would fully understand my vision and to help me develop that into being a main stages dance festival headline position. I’ve known Nick Royaards for a long time and really respect what he and the team have achieved with the likes of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Lost Frequencies, and others. So together with the whole Tomorrowland family we’re working to make this achievable. Their focus and attention to detail in helping me roadmap my career is really inspiring and gives me a lot of room to focus on being creative. Already, our partnership feels very strong together.

Tell us more about your hybrid live show which combines vocals and DJing. What can fans expect?

Yeah, it’s big!! I wanted to create a show that sat in and amongst the people I have collaborated with throughout my career, so I know it must be on that top level. I first debuted the “JN 2.0 era” at Saga Festival after the lockdown and far more developed version of the set recently at Tomorrowland Winter on the mainstage. The best way to sum up my sets are big stage productions, high energy dance moments, overwhelming emotions and huge euphoria. Like I said, I aim to be up there headlining alongside the likes of David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Calvin Harris. That’s my aim with where I am heading.

Who are some early DJ/producers that inspired you?

Growing up I would spend most of my hours going on the train into Leeds to going to the record shop to take vinyl’s back home to DJ with my friends. I used to love those Kevin and Perry trance vibes, a lot of Balearic inspired trance music and electro/funky house. Growing up in my house it was also the sounds of northern soul and Motown, which I tended to lean on more in my early work, but still would try to show my dance influences also. For me, ‘Love Me Again’ is a good example of 90’s house meets soul.

How does your creative process vary now that you’re producing dance music compared to your previous pop/soul tracks?

To be honest it’s the same gear in the studio I have always had. However, I’m leaning more now on my vintage synths and my pioneer set up. I still write songs on my piano or in that same format I always have. I still believe that the song starts with true lyrics that mean something and a strong melody.

As a producer, are there any genres of dance/electronic music that you’d like to explore more in the coming years?

Yeah, completely and I think with every track and every live set I will develop more. My favourite track I have ever released is always the next one! It’s about moving with the development of the music and trying to be there to help develop that, and the only way you can do that is by allowing yourself to grow. Really into this luxurious quality that is now getting stronger in the dance space, Swedish House Mafia’s latest album being a great stamp on the level that quality that is now coming through more and more.

Generally speaking, the music industry can be one for labels. How have you found the process of developing your artist identity from the chart-topping singer/songwriter, to DJ and producer?

If people are used to you being presented as one type of artist, to then move into a new space it does take a bit of time for people to adjust but surely it would be boring if we stayed in the same lane forever?

I’m just super grateful to be working with a team who encourage creative freedom and are happy for me to crack on making music that feels authentic to me.

Also, I generally tell myself, you’ve got this every day! Course I’m going to have days that feel difficult and challenging and like everyone is slow to see change and my vision, but yeah once they have seen my show, they get it.

Where do you hope to see your career in five years time?

Don’t want to limit myself on where I can take this with trying to say haha, but yeah, I am a big believer in the law of attraction, and positive thinking, I go to sleep and vision me headlining the likes of Ultra, Coachella, Exit, Creamfields, and Tomorrowland. Obviously, I’m going to need a lot of hits along the way to do that.

2023 is off to a great start for you, what’s instore for the rest of the year?

Festival season is shaping up nicely, one of my biggest shows coming up is my debut at Tomorrowland 2023 in July. I’ll be joining the mainstage, which is crazy, but I can’t wait.

And of course, I’ll be working on plenty new music. Stay tuned.

Written by Magdalena

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