British soul star John Newman underwent an operation to remove a brain tumour just as his music career was taking off.

The singer released his breakthrough single Feel the Love last year (12), but he has now revealed his first taste of success was marred by terrifying news from his doctor.

Newman, 22, was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumour and underwent surgery to remove the growth.

He first realised something was wrong when he started to lose his sight and admits the operation saved his life, telling the London Evening Standard: "I started going blind. But being Northern (from the north of England), I just thought, 'I'm fine, I'll just need some glasses'. I went to the opticians, and they sent me to the eye hospital. They sent me to a neurosurgeon and they told me I had a non-cancerous tumour and they had to take it out. I was starting to shake, I was so scared."

Newman's single was just starting to take off as he went in for the surgery, and he admits he was given a boost when he heard the song on the radio for the first time after he woke up.

He adds, "My girlfriend at the time put the radio on and (radio Dj) Zane Lowe played Feel The Love, which I had totally forgotten about because I had so much on. I burst out laughing and said, 'This is ridiculous'. It was perfect timing."