James Newman was will represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2021 with “Embers”.
James was originally due to sing “My Last Breath” at Eurovision 2020. However, the contest was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, just like several other countries, the UK has opted to retain its 2020 singer. James’ entry “Embers” was premiered on BBC Radio 1 and 2, the two most-listened-to music stations in Britain.
And now we’ve compiled 10 facts about James Newman. Let’s do this!
United Kingdom at Eurovision 2021: Facts about James Newman
1. He’s from Yorkshire.
Just like Michael Rice in 2019, the UK’s current act is also 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 reached 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. He won the gong 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 & Cigarettes and Kesha’s 2017 comeback album Rainbow.
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7. He wrote a Eurovision song for Ireland
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 have featured on a trio of tracks by internationally renowned Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren. They are 2018’s “Therapy”, 2019’s “High On Your Love” and 2020’s “Slow Lane”.
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. He released his debut EP in 2020
James should have taken to the Eurovision stage in Rotterdam last year. But, while that unfortunately never happened, the British singer still went ahead with the release of his debut EP The Things We Do. Composed of four tracks, it included his 2020 entry “My Last Breath”, as well as the singles “Better Man” and “Enough”. The final song, “Alone”, is another soulful pop track underlined by a recurring percussion beat that sonically fits in well with the rest of the EP.
Could James score an elusive top ten for the UK at Eurovision? Let us know what you think in the comments.