James Newman: who is the UK’s Yorkshire-born Eurovision 2021 contestant - and what is his song ‘Embers’ about?

The singer-songwriter is related to fellow musician John Newman

By Chelsea Rocks
Friday, 12th March 2021, 2:47 pm

The UK’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest has been revealed as Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter, James Newman

Newman was originally chosen to represent Britain last year, but the contest was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Newman has now changed his song and will represent the UK with a new single, at the Rotterdam Ahoy in the Netherlands later this year.

So, who is James Newman, what will he sing and when is Eurovision 2021? This is what you need to know

Who is James Newman?

Newman was born in 1985 and grew up in Settle, in the Yorkshire Dales with his brother John and their mother, Jackie.

John went on to be a chart-topping solo artist, with songs such as Love Me Again and Blame featuring Calvin Harris.

Newman has won a Brit Award for co-writing "Waiting All Night", sung by British group Rudimental (Picture: BBC)

Meanwhile, James had more success as a songwriter. In 2014, he won the Brit Award for British Single of the Year as a co-writer of "Waiting All Night", sung by British group Rudimental.

The brothers were influenced by Motown and Stax, which their mother would frequently listen to at home.

35-year-old James Newman is now an established singer-songwriter, having moved to London in his 20s to pursue his music career.

He also co-wrote Blame with his brother and Calvin Harris, which John sang on.

Blame topped the UK charts, as well as peaking in top place in Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Mexico and the US Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs charts.

Newman has also performed vocals for European DJs and featured on other international singer’s albums. This includes Newman as a vocalist on 2018 hit "Therapy" by Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren.

The same year he was featured on the song "Lights Go Down", a song by the Norwegian music producer and DJ Matoma in his album One in a Million.

In 2019, he was featured on the Armin van Buuren song "High on Your Love".

What will he sing at Eurovision 2021?

In February 2020, Newman was announced as the UK’s entry to the Eurovision song contest, with his original song "My Last Breath", which he co-wrote with Adam Argyle, Ed Drewett and Iain James.

However, the coronavirus pandemic halted the competition and in February 2021, Newman confirmed he would represent Britain this year.

On 11 March, he revealed he had changed his song and will now perform “Embers”, which he released that day.

He told the BBC: “When we were writing this, it felt like I wanted to show everyone that we were coming back together.

“It's about having that connection and something reigniting. It's about us emerging from this rubbish time we've been having. It fits with the idea that Eurovision is coming back.”

"I feel like everyone wants a party and to have some fun so when I was writing, that's what I had in my head.

“I wanted something people can dance to, even if it's just in their kitchen.”

When is Eurovision 2021?

The contest consists of two semi-finals and a final.

The UK secures an automatic place in the Eurovision song contest, due tobeing a member of the ‘Big 5’, along with France, Germany, Italy, Spain.

The host country, the Netherlands, also skips to the final.

The remaining countries will take part in one of the two Semi-Finals. From each Semi-Final, the best 10 will proceed to the Grand Final.

Therefore, Newman will perform the song at the final in Rotterdam, Netherlands on Saturday 22 May 2021.

The contest will be televised on BBC One.