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Interview: John Newman on His Soul Music Influences

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By Courtney E. Smith

We learned a few very interesting things about John Newman when he came by. First of all, he’s a total audio nerd. In explaining the making of his debut album, Tribute, he told us tales of recording on hand-selected vintage equipment and placing mics in water buckets to get a specific sound. Turns out, that sound he loved was the sound of Motown, which sparked a dialog about everything, from their production methods to the community feel of their music production.

“Being in America is incredible for me at the moment, because all my influences are pretty much American. The history behind American music is incredible. Going back to the audio equipment, I get most of my stuff from America. I think music really is American and it’s covered up very well that it is.”

In our interview, above, watch Newman talk about why Motown is such a huge influence on him, from songwriting to the project — and why he loves that Motown singles culture but considers himself an album artist.

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