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rock nyc's pick for 2014: John Newman

his star will be shining in 2014

Who knows what tomorrow brings and my only ability to find new talent has been sorely tested in the past. But if I had to bet on any one singer to break through in 2014 it would be John Newman. Already a chart topping singer in most of Europe, with lead vocals on a couple of smashes for Ska-Disco-EDM band Rudimental (geddit) and a hit album, Tribute, the 23 year old star was born to sing no plan b.

His January 9th gig is already sold out and this first album is waiting in the wings and it could happen it could push on to a whole other level here. As compared to a DJ like the dreaded Avicii, Newman is a flesh and blood blue eyed soul brother who digs deep into the dark retro soul with the whitest of skin.

Will it sell Stateside? It should, “Feel The Love” broke here and Newman is at the heart of that song, but still I wonder if thereis something too English about him: a Paul Weller – Robbie Williams insularity even while he owes his sound, which is good cowboy soul, beats and horns, synthetic and wooden, swizzled soft downside hip stuff.

The thing about disco bands as opposed to DJs (even though Newman has done his fair share of the latter) is that the pop showcase move and sell of disco doesn’t exist in EDM and Newman is a salesman, he wants to be popular, he wants to sell a lot lot lot of copies.

It is really a UK thing, think of Culture Club for instance, an appropriation of soul taking it from where it was and twisting it to its own ends,  that’s what both Rudimental, Amy Winehouse, Emili Sande –all these soul cats are doing and John is right in the mix there.

I think it will break him big in 2014.

 

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