Steve Newman has a new album out, Under Southern Skies. Not too long ago there was a Big Life album. Let's see what Steve has to tell about his new album and future plans!
Looks like you are pretty busy... Big Life and Newman plus studio work. So when did you start writing songs for Under Southern Skies?
Hi Claudia, great to speak with you. I begun to write songs for Under Southern Skies a few months before the Firefest show last year. I then worked on these for the rest of last year then started recording proper in March this year.
I like the artwork with the observatory... Which one is it showing? SOAR? Mount John?
The front cover picture is from Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Canary Islands.
When you write a song, at which point do you know it's a Big Life or Newman song?
Haha, that's fairly straightforward, as Mark was with me throughout the writing process for Big Life, it was a very 50/50 writing experience. I use the same method, which is to sit down with an acoustic or a piano and run through ideas, once I have quite a few I live with them for a while and if they still have the same impact after this time then I will take them forward to build up the rest of the instrumentation.
At Newman you handle everything beside drums, like to being in control?
Yes, I'm definitely a control freak!!! I have worked like this from the first album and people seem to like what I do. I'm intending on bringing in the other members of the band as time moves on. Newman is very much my vision and I have to walk a very thin line by getting too many people involved in every process.
How come that Shaun Bessant is playing lead guitar on If He Loves Me?
I wanted to get Shaun involved, and I thought his style of guitar playing would suit the song very well. He didn't take much persuading!
Please tell us what's the story of Montserrat!
Of course, at the end of last year I visited the Island of Montserrat, and we were shown around the island by our guide, Thomas 'Fumbo' Lee. Throughout the day he told us his life story, and I was so moved by what he had seen in his 70 years of life. I wrote the song shortly after returning, and it's really about dealing with change and emotional upheaval. Something which I had to deal with due to losing both of my parents in 2010. So the song draws parallels between this and how the Soufriere Hills volcano eruption made a massive impact on the lives of people with the authorities telling them to move or leave the island.
Which song(s) would you like to visualize?
I think Montserrat has a great visual element to it, another song Ghost In The Night through the lyrics would be a great concept visually.
You haven't played live a lot, just a handful of shows during the last years. Now Firefest is confirmed, what can fans expect from you at Firefest?
It's great to be asked back again even under the unfortunate circumstances regarding Far Cry. We will be inviting Pete Fry up on stage and we will be performing a Far Cry number. We will also be promoting the new album, and finding time for representing the best of the previous albums. We only have 40 mins so time will be a little tight!!
Will you record something for YouTube or similar platforms? Not talking about pro shots...
It's not something we have considered, but I am aware that YouTube is a serious medium now, so we'll probably have something out there in the not too distant future.
Have you considered a live album? DVD?
Our performance at Firefest last year was recorded for a CD/DVD release. The live CD Another Step Closer will be released on the weekend of Firefest, and the live DVD will be coming out early next year.
You are around for many years and the biz changed... What changes are positive for you? Which are negative?
I'm always told that if my first 3 albums had been released a few years earlier then I may have been more successful than I have been. To be honest I write songs for my myself, I always have, if people get what I'm about, and find a connection in my music then I find that very humbling. I am in a very fortunate position to have released as many albums as I have, and have built up a good fan base. I think this is based on being myself and releasing honest albums, from the heart. I try not to dwell on the negatives, I have learnt with this business that only a small percentage of what you are promised ever comes true. So I embrace the positivity with open arms.
These days social network is getting more important and frequently the lot moves on... Part of the job?
I think so, yes, certainly places such as Facebook, is very important these days, but can also have a negative effect just because of it's nature. The way that the record buying public, myself included, can listen to albums before we buy I think is a very good thing. Although it's a shame that record stores, and record companies seem to be suffering as a result. Everything has to change with the times.
What's next on your schedule? Another studio production?
I will be concentrating on promoting the live band next year, I have a few ideas planned for some studio work, but nothing is confirmed as yet.
May I take this opportunity to thank you, and your readers for their belief in Newman, we have had such a great response to the new album, and we hope to see as many of you as possible in the upcoming months...
All the best... Steve
I'm looking forward to hear / see Newman's next release and hopefully Newman will hit the stage more often...