THERE are so many more things that you learn outside of music school, said young singer/songwriter Jack Newsome, a former Berklee College of Music student who, after moving to Los Angeles with the goal of pursuing his music career, landed a stint in a reality show and, just before the pandemic hit, a record deal.
“You’ll learn so much more when you’re learning in real life… there’s so many things that they can’t teach you in the classroom,” Mr. Newsome said in an interview with BusinessWorld via Zoom on April 15.
While continuing music school online, he grabbed an opportunity to be a contestant in the first season of NBC’s reality songwriting competition series Songland in 2019. There he worked with Grammy award-winning country singer, songwriter, and producer Shane McAnally who was his mentor. On the show, Messrs. Newsome and McAnally produced the song, “Lying (Next To You).”
In the reality show, Mr. Newsome learned more about substance in writing lyrics. “I feel like my strong suit is melodies… But when I got to work with Shane I realized [that I] have a lot of work to do in making lyrics that stand out,” he said. “Anybody can write a song, but it takes a really long time to learn how to craft really good lyric[s].”
Calling from Los Angeles, the 24-year-old American said that if there were songs he wishes he had written himself, they would be Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” citing the songs’ brilliant lyrics for his fondness for both.
Mr. Newsome — who had written songs for PLATINUM, Jordy, Matt Sato, Sean Kingston, and Alex Sampson — landed a record deal with 12Tone Music last year just before the global COVID-19 lockdown.
Working under a record label did not disrupt his creativity, Mr. Newsome said — it was a learning experience. “It’s opened my eyes to so many different aspects of it, like doing press, and creating visuals for things in putting together an EP. So, I’ve learned a lot about the big picture,” he said. “Since working with the label, it’s not about each song anymore.”
In Feb., Mr. Newsome released a new single, “Arms,” a pop song about longing to be in the company of someone. A product of his time in lockdown last year, the song was conceptualized via Zoom calls with his producer Cambo (who has worked with Doja Cat and Bea Miller). It was later finished in the studio. It is his second release following the song “The Year The World Stood Still” (which came out in January) which talks about the importance of hitting pause at a certain point in life.
“The inspiration for the song was mostly from the pandemic. It was a very sad time. Everyone felt so divided,” Mr. Newsome said.
“Our goal was to make a song you could dance to, but where the lyrics are relatable [since] a lot of people were missing their friends,” he said. “The focus [of the songs] is [to be] very uplifting and I want people to feel like they’re getting a big hug from me.”
Mr. Newsome continues to write and produce music while anticipating the opportunity to perform live again. He and his team are currently working on another single and an EP which is set for release in the summer.
“I don’t want to do the same thing over and over again, so I probably will end up trying a few different things,” he said.
“Arms” is available on music streaming platforms. For more information, visit https://jacknewsomemusic.com/#music. — M.A.P. Soliman