2019 American Music Awards

British Singer John Newman Says Teaming With Calvin Harris for Their Hit 'Blame' 'Feels Like a Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars Kind of Thing'

Billboard caught up with the English singer John Newman to talk about "Blame," his top 20 collaboration with Calvin Harris.

Your debut, Tribute, hit No. 1 at home in ­Britain in 2013, but you're still pretty unknown in America. How has it been watching "Blame" break through on U.S. radio?

It just impacted across the world. In America, though, it doesn't matter who the artist is -- if the song's not good, it won't happen. But Americans give it time to brew, and it takes a long time to climb the charts. When it does, it sticks around.

Tribute's soul-pop is much different from Calvin Harris' EDM. Was it unsettling to hear your vocals on a dance song?

My songwriting varies depending on who I am working with. And Calvin is not just this EDM producer -- he's got a grand piano in his house. He's a real musician. We can step into each other's worlds.

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Do you have anything else planned with him?

We started to look at tracks to put together for Rihanna. And then we have booked some time to work on my album. It feels like a Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars kind of thing, where I work with somebody for a long time. I've had more time to think and pull it all together on this record. And hopefully, I'll have more of a presence in America.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 24 issue of Billboard.


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