Yorkshire, U.K.-born soul artist John Newman had his Otis Redding-inspired tone brought to the fore on the two 2012 singles that effectively introduced the London drum'n'bass act Rudimental to the mainstream. Released in May 2012, within a couple of months the powerful and upbeat "Feel the Love" had reached the number one spot in the U.K., while the anthemic "Not Giving In" -- also featuring London-born singer/songwriter Alex Clare -- followed that November. Newman's assured vocal on both tracks was in part due to the fact that he had co-written each piece. Brought up on a diet of Motown and Northern soul by his mother, Newman built on the hip-hop and house experiments of his teen years before gigging regularly during a three-year stint at Leeds College of Music. Inspired by his elder brother, who had also left home to pursue a career in music, Newman next made the jump to London, where he formed his first band with a pre-Rudimental Piers Aggett.
The eventual success of "Feel the Love" turned 2012 into a busy year of writing and recording for Newman, who also landed prestigious support slots with Plan B. By May 2013 Rudimental's debut album, Home, hit number one in the U.K. album charts, placing Newman's already celebrated guest vocals alongside performances by artists such as Emeli Sandé and Angel Haze. By this point, the first fruits of his solo recordings had emerged online, such as the piano-driven track "Love Me Again," which became a U.K. number one single that July. A few months later, after the success of his collaborations and single, Newman released his debut album, Tribute, which went straight to the top of the U.K. album charts upon its release. In 2015, Newman went to the top of the U.K. pop chart -- and the Top 20 of the U.S. Hot 100 -- as the featured vocalist on Calvin Harris' "Blame," then returned with his sophomore album, Revolve. Recorded in Los Angeles with a handful of producers including Greg Kurstin (Sia, Beyoncé), the album also featured collaborations with Harris and the Gap Band's Charlie Wilson. ~ James Wilkinson