Coachella Interview: John Newman Talks Style and Sentimental Hits


If you’ve been paying attention to the U.K. music scene lately, our boy John Newman really needs no introduction. As he rolled through the Fuse/Vevo House at Coachella, we caught up with him to talk about his trademark hair streak, how he put together his outfit for the day, and a little background on why his Rudimental collaboration “Feel The Love” means more to him than just a smash hit.

Style obviously plays a big part in your artistry. What inspires you when you’re suiting up?
For me personally, I have this problem with fashion. I’m very clear on my own ideas and what I want to do. The amount of hours I’ve spent walking around malls looking for clothes that don’t exist is insane; I’ve got all these outfits in my head. Recently, I’ve been designing a lot of my own stuff. For inspiration, I’ve been driving around the West End of London, and the Versace shops on the outside and décor buildings. All that inspiration comes out in my music, too.

What are the origins behind this infamous streak you got going on?
It’s nothing too much. Amy Winehouse was a little bit of the reason. It started as a tribute to her, and then it became a thing for me. It nearly grew out, so I had to keep it up.

How would you describe your style for today?
I’m going for a Miami or L.A. look. I normally wear a lot of gold, black, and monochrome suits. At the moment, I’ve got on some Aldo loafers with my normal white socks that I wear all the time, a normal t-shirt, Cartier watch, and a pendant that’s my own design. These Shauns Shades are a really great company worth checking out, too. A lot of their profits from their incoming revenue get donated to charity.

What was it like watching “Feel The Love” blow up the way it did?
It was mad. That was a pretty crazy time, too. I was in a waiting room at a hospital, went to see a surgeon, and found out I had a benign brain tumor at the bottom of my brain. I was waiting for the surgeons to tell me how they were going to operate, and I was started shaking. My girlfriend at the time knew that music chilled me out, and Zane Lowe of BBC Radio 1 was about to play “Feel The Love” for the first time. That song pushed me through sentimentally at the time. I’m emotionally attached to it. People always ask me if I ever sing positive songs, and to me that’s my positive song.

Images: Laura Austin