AT just 23, John Newman has achieved more than many solo artists could dream of.
Two number one singles and a number one album have all come within the first year of releasing music. Quite an achievement.
Like many solo singers these days (see Sam Smith, Ella Eyre), he first broke into the mainstream as a featured artist.
Firstly on Rudimental’s massive Feel the Love, a tune which basically owned summer 2012, and then on the slightly less massive (how could it ever be as BIG?) but nevertheless silver- certified single Not Giving In.
Looking, and sounding, like the lovechild of Boy George and Rick Astley (if indeed that were possible but, either way, it’s most definitely a compliment), Newman took to the Guildhall stage with a presence that didn’t hint at the fact that this was the first gig on his first major UK tour.
Starting with the album title track Tribute, his showmanship, and, it has to be said, slightly crazy but excellent dancing, shone from the start.
And as he took us through most the tracks on his platinum-selling debut album, we were left in no doubt that here was a man with the potential (perhaps only fellow featured artist Sam Smith has more chance) to become the male equivalent of Adele, or Emeli Sande – and let’s face it, we’ve not really had one of those yet.
Throughout the gig you couldn’t help but feel that everyone was wondering if he’d do the big Rudimental numbers – and he didn’t disappoint.
Prior to the encore of Love Me Again he performed a brilliant version of Not Giving In.
It was a nice touch that Newman has remained humble enough to give a nod to the band that got everything started for him.
With gigs like this, and the hope of a strong second album, there’s no reason why he can’t become as big as the aforementioned female stars – he’ll certainly give critics’ darling Smith a ‘run for his money (on my mind)’!