Sam Newton Battenberg Faulkner was born in Surrey on the 11th of January 1985 and attended the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, studying the guitar and graduating at the age of 17. He played bass guitar in a Green Day cover band and, before going solo under the fuller name of Newton Battenburg Faulkner, he formed the funk-rock band Half a Guy with Matt Buchanan, Dave Elvy, and Nicola Crawshaw.
The band released a live self-titled EP with no success and, rather than play angry metal music in church halls like everyone else, they decided to attempt uplifting happy sounds — but playing guitar, singing, writing the songs, and arranging the gigs eventually took its toll and led to him making a break on his own.
His first solo gigs were at the London Troubadour club and led to a publishing deal for his original songs with Peermusic UK and appearances at the South by Southwest music festival. Faulkner secured a recording deal with BMG Records and released a second EP, U.F.O., featuring solo material, and he appeared to have found his niche with the rise of such recording artists as Jack Johnson, James Morrison, and Paolo Nutini. He appeared twice at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2007, both on the acoustic stage on the Friday and on the Left Field stage on Sunday.
Faulkner’s debut album, Hand Built by Robots, was released in July 2007 and, after entering the charts at number three, climbed to the top during September. – Sharon Mawer