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Coachella 2014

How John Newman's Mom Crafted the Soul Singer's Signature Sound

The British singer-songwriter says he initially shied away from Motown "because it wasn't cool in front of my friends who listened to house music"

John Newman has made waves in his native UK and beyond with his throwback-inspired sound and spine-tingling vocals of yesteryear's Motown icons. Backstage at Coachella 2014, Fuse's 2014 breakout artist pick says he's got his mom's raver-like past to thank.

"My mom's a huge northern soul fan," the "Love Me Again" singer explains. "What northern soul is, in the UK, it can only be explained as a rave scene almost—a scene of people that were going to these events and dancing to b-sides of Motown music. That led my mom to listening to a lot of Motown. With myself, getting up for school everyday and getting played that, it was like, 'Oh, it's my mom's music' and I denied that I liked it almost because it wasn't cool in front of my friends who listened to house music."

But after getting over the fact that his mom just might have good taste in music, the 23-year-old says he recognized the historical significance of the '60s sound. He adds, "When you become a musician and when you study Motown, theory and everything behind music, you realize that's history right there."

Fuse was on the ground at Coachella all weekend. Stay up to date with the latest coverage right here.

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