Ever since starting in the music industry 18 years ago, Craig Newman has worked hard to keep things interesting.
“As an agent, I’ve tried hard to carve out a diverse path. The artists and shows I represent fall into different categories: Performing Arts, AC Music, Family Entertainment, Special Attractions,” Newman told Amplify. “This keeps me on my toes and makes the overall work very satisfying.”
Newman’s creativity doesn’t just apply to his work. The APA agent and Head of Performing Arts has always been a musician and even wrote the theme song for the Promoter 101 podcast hosted by Emporium Presents’ Dan Steinberg.
“Dan and I go back probably 15 years. We do a lot of business together. We’re also really good friends,” said Newman. “He knows that I am a musician and a creative guy. He called me over the holiday break and said he was looking for theme music and would I do it. Far be it for me to pass up an opportunity to do something like that. I have a little studio at home and the theme song from the show ‘Taxi’ had this luscious keyboard riff. I used that as my inspiration and before you knew it, we had theme music.”
His musical talent has also led him to create the stage name Craigie Fresh when he raps.
“I’ve always had a natural rhythm and when I was in high school I was a big fan of Young MC, Grandmaster Flash and a lot of the early hip-hop. I would rap along with it and before you knew it I had some skills,” Newman said. “I always say that freestyle rap is like chess or business, you have to think a few steps ahead and you have to do that very quickly.”
The creative mind of Craigie Fresh also makes appearances at many weddings. As an ordained minister, the agent has presided over nine weddings, including Adam Brill (CAA), Tom Hoppa (BottleRock) and the union of one of his mentors, APA’s Josh Humiston, who married fellow APA agent Jamie Humiston.
Amplify caught up with Newman to hear his picks for Five Shows.
Huey Lewis & The News, The Subdudes at Mann Music Center in Philadelphia
July 27, 1991
This was my first real show. My parents have always been my pop culture teachers. As a toddler, my father would spin records in the basement while lifting weights and singing the words to his doting son. My mother would tell me bedtime stories about her days chasing (and seeing) The Beatles. PS: this was also the first time I smelled pot. My pop had to explain to me what that interesting odor was.
Pink Floyd at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia
June 4, 1994
I lost my ticket! I was freaking out, but just as gates were opening, it magically appeared (phew). So I get to my seat and its obstructed view! A very kind and cool stadium employee came around and gave field seats to those with blocked views. Man, could that band put on a SHOW. It was emotional. It was inspiring. Truthfully, it made me want to go home and practice guitar.
Stevie Wonder at House of Blues in Los Angeles
Feb. 6, 2004
Stevie is one of my idols. When I finally got to see him live, it was in an intimate setting and I was 15 feet from the stage. He played every song I could have ever wanted to hear.
Plain White T’s at Allstate Arena outside Chicago
Oct. 20, 2007
I signed Plain White T’s in 2005. At that time they were a club band with great songs and a killer live show. Over the next two years we all worked hard to break this act and we succeeded. When I stood at the back of that arena in the band’s hometown, watching them in front of a sold-out crowd. That just felt incredible. What a journey it was and the journey continues!
Prince at the Grove of Anaheim, California
May 7, 2013
I stood up front. I’m very tall and I didn’t want to block anyone, but shit…how many times do you get to be that close to a legend? He appeared almost mythical. A Rock God delivering the commandments to his waiting flock. Every note had purpose. I was a changed man when I left that theater. P.S. Prince totally made eye contact with me. P.P.S.: Prince totally made eye contact with lots of folks in the crowd.