JOHN NEWMAN ON HIS VISION AS AN ARTIST – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE UNTITLED MAGAZINE

John Newman: Photography by Bryan Adams for The Untitled Magazine.
John Newman: Photography by Bryan Adams for The Untitled Magazine.

“I started DJing in my bedroom from the age of ten and just stayed in all the time mixing on turntables.” Out of the mouth of anyone else, this statement would perhaps require the suspension of disbelief. What ten-year-old arrives at the idea to begin DJing? However, once you get John Newman chatting about the arc of his career as a musician, DJ, and producer, it suddenly seems totally conceivable.

“This year is about me becoming an artist that works worldwide and that is respected for a long time. So I’m going to carry on touring like I’ve been doing, to concentrate, and keep working on new material, because music is the number one priority.” Never one to slow down, Newman recently played Coachella Music Festival in California, headlined the Colors of Ostrava Festival in July, and will be playing the V Festival in the UK August 16 and 17th.

Check out our interview with the upcoming artist and make sure to click here to pick up a copy of John’s cover and 6-page exclusive photographed by the legendary musician Bryan Adams for The Untitled Magazine‘s “Legendary” Issue 7 now or download the free Legendary” Issue App on iTunes now!

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Photography for The Untitled Magazine

Indira Cesarine: How did you get started in the music industry?

John Newman: It was kind of just a hobby, like it is for everyone. A lot of my friends at the time were DJing and my brother was a musician as well, so all of the arrows pointed at me to do something about it as well. I was DJing in my bedroom from a very early age of about ten and I just started going out record shopping, and staying in mixing on turntables and that wasn’t enough of me, because all of my friends were doing that, and like I said I’m a competitive person. The way that I dealt with that, and the way I stepped above that, was by introducing interludes and mash-ups, and things that made me different from everybody else. That’s kind of how I started getting into the world of production, and when you start producing from day one, and you go the extra mile, you have the ability to add your own music. That requires learning keys, and studying the piano as well, and once I’d done that and once I was at the level where I was comfortable doing that, and knew my way around certain software and I always wanted to go further, and learn about music to be able to express myself more, and be able to get more creative around that subject. That’s when I started hanging out in the music room more at school, and playing drums and piano more, and play the piano and also the guitar as well; because I wanted to learn certain tunes, and also that it was an easy way of just sitting down at the sofa and making music, and I kind of just positioned from there until the point where the older you get, the more you can express yourself in terms of music, because the more you can say. You become more open about certain things, and so that’s when the real fun writing started, when I was about fourteen or fifteen, where I started maturing a little bit, and I learned I could talk about these subjects, and people do appreciate it… because there are artists doing it! Listening to it from the songwriting world, like Ray LaMontagne and Damien Rice, on top of the house and hip hop was making this weird sound that I still live by today. II kind of kept doing that, I wanted to be a mechanic and that was just a hobby, and it was just a way of like…like a poet would do: sit in a room and just write to express themselves, or like anybody does to express themselves. We live in the modern world now, where people use social networks to express themselves, but we didn’t have that so I kind of went to more creative sources, and that’s what I did until the point where my brother (who I mentioned earlier) he’s a musician said, “Look you need to get out of this little town, you and need to go out and study music properly, and you need to learn theories behind music and how to really go with this and get comfortable with performance and things like that.” And, that’s what I really did get from going to music college. I got that confidence, and the knowledge to talk the talk and be able to get fully involved in every area of production; songwriting and performing as well. But that’s the thing, when I get asked this question, I never get asked the full of it where people kind of say “Where did music start for you?” but now I do a lot more from music and I love that so much more. Because I was in a smaller town, there was no contacts, nobody wanted to be a photographer there, nobody wanted to be a graphic designer there, so you kind of have to do it yourself. I think that’s why I started setting up my own photo shoots and using timers, and making sure I had the right clothes on for that, and then going into the graphic design side of it, how I wanted my website to look and everything like that and that continued for a long time because I am a person that, I do make contacts but I believe in my own work more.

IC: It’s been well documented in previous interviews that you’ve done about the struggles you had growing up, with your father leaving you guys and one of your friends in school who died in an accident. Obviously, that dramatically affected your music and work. Can you tell me a little bit about some of the struggles that maybe you were overcoming that you sort of put in your music. Did you use music as a channel to deal with those things?

JN: Definitely, and that is one reason why you do music, or we all as music listeners are able to do that. Through this interview, I’m probably expressing myself or expressing this or anything about fifty times around that subject because that’s what it is to me, and that’s why I can deal with things like that. When I was six my dad left. That wasn’t a thing I needed to express in a sad, sorrow way. Or, in a way, I think that was a thing I expressed through life, and that’s how I got my drive and that’s how I work everyday now, and stay sane almost… because around the house there was no man to do the DIY so I learned how to do that. I was the guy. I mentioned I did mechanics before, and I would do whatever I could to get my hands on. I would start building go-carts and things in the back shed. Just straightening myself out, just wanting to do things for myself. That’s kind of where I got my drive, and that wasn’t a subject that I wanted to talk about. I never want to give my dad any praise. I never want to give him anything back in my work. And when people ask me about him in interviews I never want to give him praise, and I tell them that the reason that I appreciate what my dad did, is because I am the person I am now because I gained a certain drive from him. But, I never want to give him praise, because I don’t have to speak about that subject in a way that makes me look like I care almost. Because I don’t which made me who I am.

IC: Did you ever reconnect with him?

JN: I tried to, but it’s like talking to a stranger, he left when I was six years old. I don’t really know the guy, and I don’t want to hear a guy call me his son, when I did so much without him and I learned how to do so much without him and I’m so proud of that, you know?

IC: Yeah you re a survivor. Do you remember the first time that you performed live?

JN: I can’t! I mean., I remember singing in a school assembly when I was really, really young…But that doesn’t feel like the start of me performing. Then I got into high school and I studied drama, because I didn’t like my music teacher. I’ve kind of done art…I’ve done kind of DT, like design technology and stuff, and there was a third option and everyone else did physical sport, and I didn’t want to do that, and I went for music. But, I didn’t like my music teacher and I knew that I could do music at home or go into the music department after hours and stuff, so I studied drama because I thought that it would give me confidence. It’s in the performing side of things where I could try and bring my music into that maybe, and it worked. I performed like the the end of school kind of thing, and I remember performing, that Mario tune“You Should Let Me Love You” I did a cover of that, and then I performed the first ever song I wrote as well. That was what kind of fueled me to get out of there, because I performed and people laughed at me, and people said “What is this guy doing?” and that was the point where I was like “I can’t deal with these guys… this is bullshit.” and I was listening to people that I like, and I I mentioned Ray LaMontagne and Damien Rice and stuff, and that was enough for me to realize that these are mature songwriters, and that they can express themselves and why can’t I in front of people… then I realized that it was the place I was, and that other people would respect it elsewhere you know?

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IC: Do you feel like you had a breakthrough moment with your work where all of a sudden just like you knew that that was like a turning point?

JN: Yeah. I think so yes. When somebody tells me some good news. I was quite naïve as a kid, to take it and try to pursue it. I’d take any opportunities that came to me, I wouldn’t look for opportunities, but if they came to me I would take them and I would pursue it, and I got quite a lot of those when I was living in Leeds, because we were doing a lot of gigs and getting a lot of magazine articles and stuff but nothing industry wise. Quite a lot of people would come, like yes-men and bullshitters, telling you they could do whatever and that they could help you out, and I’d kind of go with that. Then I’d always get done over, and not hear from them again, and I learned from that. I learned to just concentrate on music, and I didn’t care what anyone else could do for me or anything. I could do all of my own things and keep doing them like when I was a kid, and continue to do that. So there was one day where a management company from London were looking to build a boy band, and they were touring around all of the music schools and doing auditions, and you had to book into them and they were actually building a band called The Wanted. I went up to see what all of the fuss was, so I ran downstairs when I was studying in music school, and grabbed my guitar, and walked in and said to the lady watching “I’m not gonna be in a boy band and I’m not going to sing you a cheesy love song. I’m going to sing you a song about one of my friend’s dying and I just want you to hear it.” That went really well, and then I moved to London because I believed that she could help me, but she couldn’t… but that kind of got me there and started things off. I think it was that moment when I kind of opened up my eyes back up to opportunity at about the age of eighteen. I realized that I want to move to London and in terms of me becoming a professional musician because it was kind of like, that’s when I finally started really making music. Because the music people were there to hear it.

IC: I know that you were featured on two of Rudimental’s singles that were highly successful. How did you meet the guys from Rudimental, like how did that collaboration begin?

JN: This the part of the interview that someone brought up the other day, and he said “We often go from the period where I was at music school, and I tell that story about how I got down to London and my brother was also living in London. And that management dead end, and I moved on and then there’s the period where people say, ‘So what happened?’ Where is this kind of 2 years of no John Newman?” Where I just disappeared almost, and then next minute I’ve got a number one single with Rudimental. It was that period where I kind of stayed in my room, and knew that I was a little fish in a big pond, and that’s where I worked, worked, worked, worked, and at that time I was living in a warehouse, and I was working in a pub, and kind of just making music and making friends, like loads of friends that were into music and I didn’t know what types of friends were making music, I was just doing my thing and trying to get noticed. I got a band together with of the people I met and one of them was Piers from Rudimental, and he played keys in my band and we had like a really strong friendship going all around this area in London. Obviously that moved on, I lost my job at the pub and Piers had by then become like a brother of mine, and he said you know “Move in with the family, man, and concentrate on your music…live off of government benefits pretty much.” and again and that’s what I did. Me and Piers would just make music. In his bedroom we made a song called “Not Giving In” about a close friend of ours who endured a tough time in a rough little studio in East London, and we wrote this song called “Feel the Love” and it was like that’s the stuff I was doing, and then just kind of just re-building almost from being in all of the newspapers and everything in Leeds, and doing all the gigs but then having nothing in London and rebuilding. But, when it came back it came back better than ever, you know?

IC: Absolutely. How would you personally describe your sound?

JN: It’s always hard. Growing up as somebody that’s unknown, I mean you always knew that kid that goes “Yeah, I do music” yet, the stereotypical question though it’s so hard when you meet them and say “Who do you sound like?” or “What is your sound?” and that was really hard for me. I still to this day can’t answer this question, no matter how much I’ve done, or how much I’ve been in that music for so long, and I still can’t explain it. I think the reason why is because literally, I am a music listener. I will listen to any music that inspires me, whether it be soul music, or knowing the history of Motown, or Stacks, or Michael Jackson, or Prince or going on to like hip hop or I really appreciate film pieces, and cinematic pieces, and ethnic-ness kind of feeling, and stuff like that and I really appreciate pop music for what it is, and dance (like I was djing house records.) All these things, I just let them out into my music, and the only way I can explain my music is saying my influences, and that I just make music.

IC: You can say it’s highly diverse.

JN: Yeah in the pop realm though, I think it’s still pop music. Which is good.

IC: You were mentioning the musicians that inspire your work, can you elaborate a little bit on that a bit more?

JN: Yeah. As a kid my mom was kind of playing…you know my first video for “Love me Again” where I wrote into there this kind of soul scene in a club, and that’s where my mom came from, the soul scene, so she’d listen to a lot of that which was B-sides of Motown records that were shipped across the Atlantic. She’d be listening to a lot of Motown compilations, which I didn’t really realize it at the time, but when I went to music college at sixteen I realized that once I started learning more about theory, and songwriting, and producing you kind of realize that that is some of the best music that’s ever been made. That’s where I really started researching that. I can listen to a Motown record now and tell you whether it was recorded in Studio A or Studio B from the stereo field of the drums. So that was kind of where I went back, and started learning the history of music almost from the sixties and before that, and worked out who created music like Ray Charles, and like Sam Cooke, and like Wilson Picket, who massively inspired me, and obviously Otis Redding, who had a massive impact on me as a music listener and me and my music career. I followed through the careers of people like Michael Jackson going through The Jacksons, then going on to be Michael Jackson by himself; and Stevie Wonder, coming from Motown from Little Stevie; and Diana Ross, coming from there. You can just follow the careers of people, and that is what I did, and then when I got elements of all that kind of stuff, it led on to different music, and when anybody asks me what is the best way to get into any one type of music, I just buy a compilation of music and then buy every album of the artist on that compilation. you know what I mean? It was kind of like a big branch and a big tree kind of stemming out. I put on my album a tribute to it.

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IC: So your album “Tribute” has been described as a bit of a break-up album, which is inspired by a rather autobiographical experience you were going through. Can you tell me a little bit about um some of that sort of where that songwriting was coming from and what influenced that album?

JN: Yeah massively. We split up before, but you know my dad, and my friend dying and my other friends dying, and these situations that we talked about… how I lost my job from the pub money, and I went on government funding and stuff, because I didn’t have any money. These are all subjects that are quite, not rare, I mean everybody leaves somebody sometimes, but not that everybody can relate to. I think Adam and Eve probably had a break up, and the last few people on earth will have a break up or will get together, and that’s why the subject of relationships is so common within music. Because when you’re driving home from work on a nice night, you don’t want to hear about how people have died on the radio, you know? So it’s why I try to make negative music that’s about subjects in my life that aren’t too touchy and probably is at the moment. So that’s what I did with the record. Not that I intended to, it was just that at that period of time it was a subject that was perfect for putting into music. I was happy in relationship, we kind of lived in this warehouse where I spoke about, around the time I was working at the pub and that year we moved into a house together. When I got my record deal, and we kind of built this house together this really strong relationship, and as soon as I’d had a hit with Rudimental, I’d been really ill as well, and she helped me through that, and once I got out of that and started touring the world with Rudimental it obviously started tearing the relationship apart. As a kid, that was the first time I’d been properly in love with somebody, and properly lived with somebody, and coming out of that was quite traumatic for me. The only way I could really express that was through my music, and quickly enough I had an album together.

IC: So did it help you get through it?

JN: Massively. I think it it makes you numb about subjects, that’s the weird thing about music. Once you’ve expressed yourself you’ve spoke everything about it. You know, you’ve let it out. That’s what I’m saying, there’s nothing else to sing.

IC: You can move on.

JN: You can move on because you’ve let it out. Because how I write is; if somebody’s upset me, straight away I’ll write ten pages if this person’s pissed me off. It doesn’t matter what I write, I’ll just write it. I’ll just scribble it all down and then I’ll look back at it and put it into groups. Kind of sort it out into sections, and then I’ll go back and then I’ll write one page of these sections, and what the main point of these sections are and then I’ll turn them into verse, chorus, whatever… so it tells a story. Then I’ll turn them into lyrics after that. So it’s like the amount of time I spend on writing lyrics after I’ve done that, I’ve fully expressed myself I’ve fully said everything I need to say about a subject, so it does make you feel quite numb and it really did help me. Really, really did help me move on.

IC: How did you feel the first time you heard “Feel the Love” on the radio. I heard that you were recovering from being ill?

JN: Yeah. Like I just said, then I was really ill just before that period before Tribute really started coming, and I think I did have my record deal then…but basically what happened is my girlfriend at the time… I was going blind like I couldn’t see the TV anymore, and things starting to jump around the room and I definitely couldn’t see anyone on either side of me or anything, and it started getting really bad and the whole time I had just been going “No, I’m fine I just need glasses.” To the point where it go so, so bad to the point that I went “Alright, I’m really scared I think I’m going blind like actually going blind.” and she said, “Right, you’re going to the optician.” And so I went, and they did a scan and told me the worst, they said “Look there’s something really bad here. Your eyes are really, really bad.” So they sent me to the eye hospital immediately, in case it was some crazy disease or something, and I was going blind and then the eye hospital said “Looks like you’ve got no disease in your eyes, and you haven’t got diabetes or anything like that. We think it’s in your in your head.” So I went to see a neurosurgeon, and they told me I had a benign brain tumor which was crazy, and very, very, scary because I’d never even had an operation before. I sat waiting actually for a very long time, so I sat waiting for the final meeting before I got called into the hospital to tell me how they were going to operate, when they were going to bring me into the hospital. It was going to be the following week, and what they were going to do and I was so, so scared. Because it was like confirmation it was happening, it was like this is actually true, this is real life, and I was so scared waiting for the surgeon: at the time my girlfriend, she knew that music was the only thing that could ever chill me out. I did have really bad anxiety because my hormones were all fucked from my tumor, so I used to get really bad anxiety and the only thing that chilled me out was music. She knew that so she put it on, and they were about to play “Feel The Love” for the first time on the radio, and that was it. The moment after that I was so positive, and I was like “Right let’s get it over with. Let’s get it done.” and my friends the Rudimental boys were there they were all in the hospital with me trying to get me through it, Everyone was there, trying to get me through it because we all knew what was on the wall, and there was a wall on the other side, and the hit single and a chance to tour the world for the first time.

IC: That’s pretty amazing. It must have been a really unbelievable thing to get through, but I think hearing your music gave you the strength to kind of get through that?

JN: I am a person that puts the positive on things now, and I think that was the thing that did it. Although I think back, I think wow that was crazy, I think what an experience though, you know? How much it threw me open, how positively I look at life now. Where it’s like, if somebody bumps me in the street I’m like fine, it’s not as bad as what I’ve been through, you know?

IC: Absolutely. So you’ve done a lot of work with Rudimental. Do you plan on collaborating with any other musicians?

JN: With the Rudimental guys, people always kind of separate us and put pressure on us and sit around and say “Will you ever work together again?” But, the cool thing is that we’re still friends, we still hang out in studios and we still just make music like we always did, which is really good. So there’s probably more coming from there. We’ve been writing together continuously. And in terms of other collaborations….when I was making the album and I first sort of started— I know you’re asking me these questions because in America things are just sort of starting off for me there. Whereas in Europe maybe a year and a half ago, getting asked these questions, at that time I was still making the album, and I’d be sitting around saying “No, no I’m not going to collaborate.” Because I had intentions to finish this album. I wanted to sit there and feel proud that it is because of the work I’d done, not because of Kanye West’s name might have been on there or that, you know? Or somebody else’s name on there; that the only reason it’s successful is because of somebody else’s name. But now that I have had success, and I am proud of what I’ve done, definitely. Definitely, why not see what happens? There’s some great people out there. I’m not afraid of pop music and I’m not afraid of very underground music. What I am afraid of is working with people that are going to force me into just using my vocal, and don’t want to collaborate with me. So, if I collaborate, I want to get into the studio and produce with them. I want it to be a full on musical collaboration and not the modern collaboration they do now.

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IC: Who would you want to collaborate with?

JN: Drake blows my mind. The guy is really, really incredible. Because he is a rapper, but also a singer, and because he knows his productions well, and he’s a very talented guy. I think that could work, you know? In terms of producers, there’s some incredible people… like rappers like Kanye and Jay Z which are both really, really incredible. And Kendrick Lamar I think is really great as well. Then, in terms of producers, I don’t know, I’d quite like to do something really pop, something quite dance-y. Like a dance tune; something Calvin Harris, maybe.

IC: He’s quite fun. You’re working on a new album at the moment?

JN: Yeah, it’s a weird one as people say “Wow you’re working on the next album.” I’ve never felt right in that. I think it’s just how other artists do it, is that they stop and then they start writing a second album, but I never stop. So, people’s perception about how songwriters work has become a bit blurred. They think that they stop, everyone stops— but I don’t stop, I just write through. The thing about making a new album for me is like, with the first, the lines and the Art Deco kind of idea and the white and the gold and the black and the tribute tree and everything based around “tribute” is an idea that rolls all together; it’s music becoming a project and tying everything together. I think I’m writing music now, but I’m not making my next album yet, because it’s when I start getting ideas for that thing that ties all the music together, and that concept that thing that makes all the videos, and makes all the artwork, and everything. It’s probably the title, once I start getting that, that’s when I think I’m making my next album.

IC: So you’re still kind of a work in progress so to speak?

JN: Yeah, but I’m getting loads of ideas for it.

IC: Are you doing a lot of live performance at the moment: What do we have coming up for you with regards to performance?

JN: I’m literally touring my life away. I think my cleaner at home must have scrubbed the work service in the same place about ten times without it being dirty. I’ve not been home for so long. I keep questioning what my cleaner is doing at home, because I’ve not been there in so long! But she’s coming every week, it’s like what is she doing? But, anyway… No, no I’m touring so much, and it’s a really important thing because throughout this interview I’ve spoke about the whole creative thing, and then about second album and the first album and the tribute tree and the Myspace thing. I have all of these ideas; like designing my own clothes and everything, when I have all of these ideas the place that I can put that into if I’m not making an album at the time is my live show. So it’s really important for me to show that to people, and it really excites me! Live shows are the other thing that turn me from being a person that had a hit single or a one hit wonder into being an artist that will stay around for a long time. If you can perform properly, which is important to me. So, I am touring as much as I can. I’ve got an American tour that started in March, and then we’ve got all the UK and Europe festivals. We’ve got an Australian tour, a South African tour, and we’ve got another UK tour that’s just been booked for October. So, I’m kind of touring until the end of this year, at which point I’ll stop to—not write, but bring together the second album. Then all of the ideas that I’ve had floating around, bring them together into a body of work and hopefully go again next year!

IC: You mentioned you’re designing your own clothes, can you tell me about that?

JN: Again, I just like doing it. I like being creative, I like having ideas because I like seeing things in my head and then seeing them happen. It’s the same thing with clothes. Once I have an idea, I’m quite strong-minded about it, because I’m really into it and that’s my clothes. Like, if I have an idea of what I want to wear for a certain night, like the Brit Awards where I made my own jacket or the “Losing Sleep” video, or like the “Love me Again” video; the ones that I’ve all done clothes for. If I have an image stuck in my head, when I get a look in my head and I go out shopping, I just spend hours looking for something that doesn’t exist yet, so the easiest thing was to just to start getting them out on paper and find a tailor to work with. There’s a company called Spencer Hart, and it’s cool, but like, I’m also now just looking to design a piece of jewelry for myself. Yeah, I just like designing, I like being creative. I like drawing, I like writing, and having fun.

IC: Do you have a personal motto or words of wisdom that you live by?

JN: “Fuck it, it’ll be fine.” I think in terms of that, I just mean that, as a person that has always been quite naïve, I don’t run by formulas or anything like that, and in terms of being brave and “I don’t care.” because what’s the worst that is going to happen? That this single will fail, or this album will fail, and I’ll just try again until I get it right! I’m not mean as a person. I’m a bit daft, I’m a bit stupid, a bit naïve, but very brave and stubborn and I’ll just go for it. IIf I want to do something, I’ll do it, and fuck it, it’ll be fine

IC: What do you think about when you hear the word “legendary”? What does that define to you?

JN: Certain words that come to my head straightaway are “timeless” and “classic” and somebody that you can’t put under a certain time. If something is a legend it’s something that will live on, and the reason it lives on is because it started somewhere and then it lives on after that, because you can’t put a time to that thing. It will be there forever. Whether it’s an artist, whether it’s an object, a piece of art, or something, if it’s legendary than it evolves to the time that it’s seen, even though it was created a long time ago. It will always be its own thing, and respected as that, you know what I mean? That is what legend means to me. The big artists that have been around for a long time that are legendary, they’re doing their own thing, so they don’t have to stick to a time.

IC: Who would you consider to be some of your favorite legendary artists?

JN: From saying what I’ve just said, I think people that have recently become legendary are the likes of Amy Winehouse. I think was very legendary, she comes in very timeless and could have been around for along time. Adele is the same. Then, in terms of older people, we’ve still got Stevie Wonder among us who has never changed the times: he’s always done the same thing. Nile Rodgers; the guy plays the same licks every time, but he’s Nile Rodgers, it’s something that the guy you hear, that guy play the guitar and you know it’s him: he’s never changed that, and he’s always doing so well. Quincy Jones… Berry Gordy who started Motown, he’s a legend in my book. And Ray Charles, if he was still with us. They’re all legends in my book

IC: Can you give me a little bit more information about what you have going on this year and what we can look out for?

JN: Last year I had a hit single, and I had a number one album in the UK, but I’m still scared because it was because of that single, but I don’t want to be that artist… I don’t want to be that artist to have a hit single and then be singing on a cruise ship in ten years, because I only had one. That’s not me, and the way that I’m proud of my work, and the people that around me are. I think on the album there is better, so we need to get the most out of that, and give people time to cool down over “Love Me Again” and realize that there are more songs there, and the way to do that is just to keep releasing singles, keep pushing them, and keep touring. I want to become an artist that…we just spoke about legendary, we spoke about timeless longevity, and these are all things that I want to do. I’m not in a position to just disappear tomorrow morning, I want to keep doing these things, and whether it be in the future I’m just a songwriter or whatever, but it’s all just making a name for myself. So, that’s really important to me. This year is about me becoming an artist that works worldwide, and that is respected for a long time. How I’m going to do that is to carry on touring, like I’ve been doing. To concentrate a lot on America, because you guys are really good at making longevity, and realize and you always help—you respect artists, and it’s incredible. And keep working on new material, because music is the number one priority

IC: Amazing. What festivals in particular do you know you’re definitely doing?

JN: Coachella. I think that’s a new one. Coachella, which is great, it’s one of the biggest festivals in the world and there’s a bit of the British Invasion this year which will be amazing to be a part of. Glastonbury, we’ll be doing Glastonbury and we’ve got quite a lot of cooler kind of festivals in Europe, and stuff where we’ve been given opportunity to headline and because why not, because it would be cool! There’s some other really, really, really big festivals and there’s still more to be announced.

IC: So we’ll keep an eye out for that

JN: I’ll be a bit mysterious, and hold back on things and keep giving people exciting news.

————————–

For more of our interview with John, as well as exclusive photos shot by the legendary Bryan Adams, pick up a copy of The Untitled Magazine‘s “Legendary” Issue 7!

Interview by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine
Photography by Bryan Adams for The Untitled Magazine
Styling by Lotta Aspenberg
Grooming by John Mullan

Fashion Credits:

Look 1
Jacket by Spencer Hart, a shirt and tie by McQ Alexander McQueen
Look 2
Same as Look 1 with additional trouser by Spencer Hart

Check out more exclusive images in The “Legendary” Issue 7, on sale now.

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