Newton Faulkner releases new album
Fiery-haired singer/songwriter Newton Faulkner feels at ease with himself and his music, a fact that's quite obvious when listening to his brand-new third studio album, Write it On Your Skin.
It's been over three years since the troubadour's last album Rebuild by Humans. The 27-year-old from Surrey has toured the world since and started a family (he has one year-old son Beau Henry Faulkner-Richards), but mainly spent his time writing and recording the new album.
"If I had known that it would take three years, I would have spent one week on a holiday in Fiji," he says on the phone from Dublin.
But he's just "insanely happy", now the album has finally been released.
"I was considerately harder on my self, less accommodating and stood my ground."
"I put myself under a lot of pressure and would not be happy with something that wasn't genuine.
"I wanted to produce something that is useful to others and not just another pop song," he says.
"Right now, I am feeling more at ease with myself than ever before. With my earlier stuff I tried to please people, this album is just doing what it's doing," he says.
This time around Faulkner has opened himself up to the talents of other writers and players working with his brother Toby (a former drum and bass MC), hip hop fan Sam Farrar (Phantom Planet) and production writing pair Nexus.
But most of the album was recorded at home at his own studio.
"Just sitting downstairs, having a cup of coffee, and if you feel like having a crack at it you do.
"Sometimes you did it in one take, and sometimes it takes a while to come together," he says.
It's a completely different approach from working with a producer in a studio.
"A lot of the album comes actually from a demo stage," he reveals. "Whenever we recorded, even when it was just a vague idea, we would record it in the best quality. So it's really fresh," he says.
The result of three years of songwriting are about 65 songs, of which 10 found their way onto the album.
"I am having an old-fashioned approach to an album, I like listening from start to finish to it, and they had to fit together," he says.
Since releasing his debut album Hand Built by Robots in 2007 the musician has made himself a name for his unique style of guitar playing where he taps and hits his guitar's body.
Faulkner has sold over one million albums in the UK alone and his debut album spent over ten months in the Top 40 album charts and became one of the top 20 biggest selling UK digital albums of all time.
Some might say the dread-locked musician has also helped usher in a new generation of singer-songwriters.
Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard and Michael Kiwanuka might be stylistically diverse, but their 'have-guitar-will-travel' approach surely flows from the trailblazing example of Faulkner.
"But at the same time they're opening doors for me now," he says.
"There was a gap in the middle where dancy music was more popular."
Now that he is releasing his third album he feels the music industry has come to a full circle and he hopes the style of laid-back well-crafted pop songs is back in demand.
Watch the video for his first single Clouds. (He had to stay still for 1.5 hours and was ridiculed by passers-bys, but the result is amazing).
*Write It On Your Skin is out now.
- © Fairfax NZ News