Steve Newman and his band Newman have just released an excellent new album ’Under Southern Skies’. Over to Steve…
 What are you currently up to then Steve?
“Hey Jason!! Hope you’re doing OK. It’s good to talk with you!! Basically getting prepared for my latest album to come out; then there’ll be the live album from last year’s Firefest, and I then want to get on to Newman live shows. The songs on “Under Southern Skies” really demand it now I think!!”  

Could you take us through the songs on the new album ‘Under Southern Skies'? The ideas behind the songs, song writing process, etc.?
“Of course!! All of these songs were written during the course of 2010 and the early part of 2011, mainly from acoustic ideas, just sitting down and recording into a Dictaphone. It goes with me everywhere.”
 “Killing Me” is really about love manipulation; the chorus reminds me subtly of Journey.”
 “If He Loves You” is a song about going with what you feel and not worrying about the consequences. This song has a real Journey vibe to it, along the lines of the “Raised On Radio” era.”
 “Under Southern Skies” is finding solace inside a turbulent relationship and discovering common ground; in this case, the tranquillity of ‘Southern Skies? A big Toto influenced song.”
 “Strength To Carry On” is wondering where you’re life will lead after coming out of a relationship, but knowing that you’ll find the strength somehow.”
 “Ghost In The Night” is probably the most retrospective sounding song, all about being haunted by someone’s memory. The lyrics for this were written by my good friend Nick Workman (Vega, Kick).”
 “Without Warning” is a song about someone who doesn’t think they’re ready for love again but is moved by another person and accepts them into their lives.”
 “She’s Gone”; I quite like this as it enabled me to use a different style of singing. The song actually rocks but I’ve kept the vocal in the ‘low register’ for greater effect.”

 “Fire With Fire” has a very Toto-esq feel to it, and once again allows me to sing a little differently. This is all about someone fighting alcohol addiction.”
 “Save No Prisoners” is really about someone who moves through relationships for company without ever quite getting close to anyone, because of having their heart broken before.”
 “Wish You Were Here” was written for my parents; I lost both of them in 2010 and I really wanted to write a song that would help me close the door, yet also maybe connect with other people who have suffered the same loss?”
 “And, “Montserrat” is all about the visit I made to that island last year. I was so moved by one of our guides’ story about his life I just had to write about it. Ultimately, the song deals with the massive eruption they suffered a few years ago and how everyone can adapt to change if they have strength within? Musically, this is probably one of the diverse songs I have written and recorded.”

The new album is one of your heaviest to date and like previous albums, you're not one of these artists who is happy to churn out the same musical formula each time. How do you manage to come up with new musical twists on each release?
“That’s a good question; I think that “The Art Of Balance” is probably a more “In Your Face” recording than this one, but the new one has some of these moments as well. “Under Southern Skies” was a fairly straightforward album to write; I let the ideas flow a little more freely on this and let my heart speak a little more, but it was a very natural process. I would say this is probably the most personal album I have written.”  

How did you hook-up with AOR Heaven and I guess it takes some of the pressure of you in that it is not self-released like your last album?
“Well, my relationship with Georg Seigl goes right back to my first album. We recently worked together on the “Big Life” album with Mark Thompson-Smith again of course? It was a natural choice to approach Georg as I respect him and he is definitely one of the good guys in this business. This leaves me more time to concentrate on the live band this time around.”  

Yes, you mentioned live work... How hard is it to keep a band together when the live dates are spread out over a year? How easy/difficult would it be to get a support slot with a name band?
“We had a lot of interest after Firefest, for dates in Europe particularly, but unfortunately, due to logistics, these just didn’t work out. It is a challenge, but hopefully, we are looking at playing live towards the end of this year and early next year?”

Have you been pleased with the reaction from fans and reviewers to the Big Life album? Is there a follow-up planned any time soon?
“Both Mark and myself have been blown away by the reaction to be honest! It was great fun to record, and I hope we can both find time in our busy schedules to get together and write another one soon.”  

Have you been working on any other musical projects and/or guesting on other musicians' albums?
“I recently wrote 3 songs on the new Far Cry album (with Pete Fry), and that was a lot of fun. I’ve just recorded some vocals for AOR Project’s Frederic Slama. The song is called “Kimberly”, and I believe this is due for release early next year? It has some great players on it such as Steve Lukather and Tommy Denander...”  

What have been the live highlights so far and why?
“Definitely Firefest 2010; and working with Terry Brock and Robin Beck on the “Phenomena” album. There have been quite a few!! I get a lot of pleasure when I receive emails from fans saying how much my music has touched their lives; that really means so much to me.”

Has the advent of 'Classic Rock Presents AOR' and the continuing success of magazines like 'Fireworks' helped create a new surge in interest in AOR/melodic rock in general and has this had any knock on affect on your music?
“I think our genre of music is getting more popular, yes and we have some great coverage coming in the next issue of “Classic Rock Presents AOR”. It’s a great mag run by people who truly believe in melodic rock. It’s good to see, and I believe that the first few issues have proved very popular. There’s hope for us all yet!!! Ha! Ha!”

Have you seen any newer bands coming through that could keep interest in the genre high?
“Yes, I think there’s some great new bands out there and I hope it keeps the fires burning. The first of those has to be H.E.A.T. But there have been a lot of cool new bands recently such as Houston and White Widdow as well.”

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
“I’m a bit of a movie buff when I get time. And I have a particular interest in Second World War aircraft as well, so you’ll often see me at some of the UK air shows!!”

Anything else to add and a message for your fans...
“Yes Jason; thanks for taking the time to speak to me and I wish you and your readers all the best. I hope you enjoy the new CD, and really hope to see you out on the road sooner rather than later!!"