In the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series - where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they've learned along the way - we’re posing some of the big questions to singer-songwriter John Newman.
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Following his breakthrough in 2012 with his appearance on Rudimental's track 'Feel the Love', John Newman has sold more than 1.3million records, including his hit single, 'Love Me Again', and been nominated for three Brit Awards. On the eve of the release of his second album 'Revolve', John talks to HuffPostUK about
What do you do to switch off from the world?
I have a huge love for petrol and cars, so I go into my shed where I am building a go-kart currently, and I play with my spanners and drink Fosters.
How do you deal with negativity?
I turn it into positivity, by finding the positives within the negative.
When and where are you happiest?
I’m most happy, when I’m being able to create whatever my vision was within my head, probably within the music studio or playing music live, or with my friends or with my mother.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Chris Martin once walked over to me, and told me to keep it cool, don’t get an ego and keep working hard. It’s all very simple, but it’s so true. You won’t be respected as an arrogant person and you’ll be known for the wrong reasons.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
In between albums, you have to restart with an album, never take your success for granted, work harder and harder for something, and you have to be prepared to get your hands dirty.
You can never be a dickhead to anybody, because that person might be the wrong person to be a dickhead to, that person might be the person you go to ask for a job, or a person who’s going to be powerful to you.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
if you want to be different, to go further and push boundaries, when you are a young boy, you will be called a weirdo, but the weirdo is often the success within it all.
You are not going to be a mechanic, you are not going to run your own car garage at the age of 25, you are going to be a musician and you are going to make your mother proud, so don’t worry about it.
What 3 things are at the top of your bucket list?
I live my life day by day, year by year, I’ll discover what was on the bucket list afterwards. I’ve done that. Driving to the Grand Canyon was pretty amazing, and now I want to travel along Route 66. I want to do some acting, run a record label, there are loads of things I want to do. My bucket list would be work-related, because I want to do things. My next album will always be my best album, the next project is the bucket-list moment.
What do you think happens when we die?
I’m not bothered about what happens, because I’d rather enjoy now, but that moment before I do die, I’d rather know that’s the final moment I can look back and think, that’s been incredible. Looking ahead would be negative, looking back and thinking I’ve done everything I can, that would be the positive. I’ve lived my life so much by working hard, I hope I’d be happy to go.
When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
I get that quite a lot. I remember standing on the balcony wondering, how do ants feel? The world to them must be infinite, they’d never find the end because they’re too small for it, and we’re the same in space, we’re just too small for it. We could be in someone’s goldfish bowl, and be someone’s pets.
What do you try to bring to your relationships?
A good heart, good sex (only some relationships) and for people to know that I care. I do this job 50% to make my mother proud, it’s not an egotistical thing, it’s that I want to make my friends and family proud, I count them into my success. I want to help people when they need it, and be proud of them in return.
What keeps you grounded?
My mother and my friends around me. I was brought up in the North of England, I’m still a bit of a lad, and I’m not into the whole red carpet thing, I get scared of that. It’s just me inside, I’m so insecure, and I judge every situation as well.
What was the last good deed or act of kindness you received?
I get it all the time. Somebody wanted to do an interview with me, helping me to promote my career. I appreciate everything, the people around me, working for me... nobody has to do this.
John Newman's album 'Revolve’ is out 16 October. First single 'Come and Get It' below...