Yorkshire, U.K.-born soul artist John Newman had his Otis Redding-inspired tone brought to the fore on the two 2012 singles that effectively introduced the London drum’n’bass act Rudimental to the mainstream. Released in May 2012, within a couple of months the powerful and upbeat “Feel the Love” had reached the number one spot in the U.K., while the anthemic “Not Giving In” — also featuring London-born singer/songwriter Alex Clare — followed that November. Newman’s assured vocal on both tracks was in part due to the fact that he had co-written each piece. Brought up on a diet of Motown and Northern soul by his mother, Newman built on the hip-hop and house experiments of his teen years before gigging regularly during a three-year stint at Leeds College of Music. Inspired by his elder brother, who had also left home to pursue a career in music, Newman next made the jump to London, where he formed his first band.
The eventual success of “Feel the Love” turned 2012 into a busy year of writing and recording for Newman. By this point, the first fruits of his solo recordings had emerged online, such as the piano-driven track “Love Me Again,” which became a U.K. number one single that July. A few months later, after the success of his collaborations and single, Newman released his debut album, Tribute, which went straight to the top of the U.K. album charts upon its release.