James Newman was due to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam with “My Last Breath”.
He was selected under a new collaboration arrangement between British broadcaster the BBC and James’ record label BMG.
And now we’ve compiled 10 facts about James Newman. Let’s do this!
United Kingdom at Eurovision 2020: Facts about James Newman
1. He’s from Yorkshire.
For the second year running, the UK’s act is from the north of England, albeit a different area. James and his family are from Settle in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – an area of famous natural beauty.
2. He started off in Babe
James started performing in school. And while he may be mixing with the stars now, his roles weren’t always so glamorous. When he was about six-years-old he starred in a local production of Babe The Sheep Pig…and he played the role of Babe! But that was the point when he knew he loved singing — “from Babe The Sheep Pig it’s all stemmed to me being the singer I am today.
He also owned a pair of decks which he and his brother John used to set up in the house. “And then we’d open out the windows, into the street and have it blaring out. And all the neighbours would kick off”.
3. His brother is John Newman
Speaking of John, James isn’t the only Newman absolutely smashing it in the music industry. His younger brother John has worked with the likes of Calvin Harris and Rudimental. He collaborated with the latter for his breakout single “Feel The Love”. It number one and is a firm favourite of the British music scene to this day. James has written for his brother on several occasions, most notably his aforementioned collaboration with Calvin Harris “Blame”. That also went to number one. John’s most famous solo track is “Love Me Again”, a Northern Soul inspired pop belter and another number one.
4. He’s influenced by Motown
In an interview with UK commentator and chat show king Graham Norton, James revealed that he got into music as his mum would play Motown around the house when he was younger. He stated that Diana Ross is a huge influence to him.
5. He is a Brit Award winner
James has won the biggest prize in the British music industry — a Brit Award. He received the accolade for co-writing mega-hit “Waiting All Night” for Rudimental and Ella Eyre. The gong was for British Single of the Year in 2014 alongside Jonny Harris.
6. He is a Grammy-nominated songwriter
His songwriting talents have been recognised internationally too! James has been nominated for the most prestigious prize in music – a Grammy award. Not once, but twice! The nods were for his efforts in writing tracks for Toni Braxton’s 2018 LP Sex & Gigarettes and Kesha’s 2017 comeback album Rainbow.
7. He wrote a Eurovision song before
James had a hand in co-penning Brendan Murray’s entry for Ireland in 2017 “Dying to Try”. Whilst the track didn’t fare too well at the contest in Kyiv, it still has a firm cult following on Twitter. The track itself was a moving ballad, with unique vocals from Brendan. He placed 13th in his semi, gaining 86 points, just 15 points shy of tenth placer Anja Nissen.
8. He’s worked with Armin Van Buuren
The large majority of James’ impressive feats come from his songwriting as opposed to his vocals, but his smooth tones were featured on “Therapy” by internationally renowned Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren. With James’ tease of wanting to bring a banger if he comes back (see below), we can’t help but wonder if we could expect something like this.
9. He’s friends with Ed Sheeran
James is good enough friends with globally famous singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. When James wrote “Lay It All On Me” for Rudimental, Ed was such a fan of the track that he personally asked James if he could supply the vocals on the track. Not exactly an offer you can refuse. The track went platinum in many countries, including the UK, the USA and Australia, as well as in various countries across Europe.
10. His music video featured his idol, Wim Hof.
When it came to shooting James’ music video, he got to work with an icon, Wim Hof. The ‘ice-man’ extreme athlete has a big fan in James, who spent time attending a session with Wim previous to his selection for Eurovision, partaking in many activities we see in the video. The clip featured Wim ice-bathing and walking through scenic Polish forests laced with snow, in just shorts.
If you are a Hoffer, you vote for James! Haha ?? https://t.co/VYQn6IWS4m
— Wim Hof (@Iceman_Hof) February 28, 2020
Eurovision 2021 update
We are still waiting for a confirmation from the BBC or James to confirm his participation in Eurovision 2021, but during a Twitter Q&A, James told Twitter user @CurtyLeeX that if he comes back, he’s bringing a big banger. This would be quite the change from this year’s entry, a more mellow declaration of love.
I’d defo come back with a big banger!
— James Newman (@JamesNewmanUk) April 29, 2020
Could James have rung in the new decade with an elusive top ten for the UK? Let us know what you think in the comments.