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James Blunt
An unfortunate fact of the music business is that most of the time it doesn’t take the most talented musician to make it big. Blessed with a certain style and a clever marketing team, many average performers can become successes thanks to hype and promotion rather than innate skill and creativity. Unfortunately, many incredibly skilled and hard-working musicians get overlooked because they don't fill a specific mould, and for a while this man fell under this category. Now with a #1 single and album, singer-songwriter James Blunt is hot property in the music world.

Why Is He Famous Again?
Few debuts match the fanfare and sales that James Blunt’s first album is receiving. His release Back To Bedlam was the UK's biggest selling album of 2005 with 2.4 million copies picked up. Single You're Beautiful spent six weeks at #1 and became one of the most played tracks on radio for the year. At moment it is fast climbing to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. Plus he picked up the coveted MTV Award for Best New Act, emerging as the UK’s brightest singer-songwriter talent. Blunt has proved that, with determination, a great sound will always break through.
His achievements are a direct result of his skills in the recording studio and on stage. There aren’t many other pop stars whose guitar playing is only eclipsed by their ability to marry folk tunes with pop songs and emotionally touching lyrics. Listening to his library of music, it is shocking to discover that he was virtually unknown until fairly recently. He holds no grudge, however, and is definitely making up for it now with tours and several public appearances, blowing away audiences on what seems to be a daily basis. If such musically gifted and famous people like Paul McCartney, Elton John and Robbie Williams are fans of his music, it's obvious that he possesses something special.

Why Everybody Loves His Music
Blunt’s songs may be slow rising, but they are steady. Perhaps a few years are needed to see if this album stands up to his future releases, but artistically he has never been in a better place. After hearing about his great live performances and listening to his album, we feel comfortable labelling Blunt an all-round great entertainer and proclaiming our appreciation for his musical skills. Plus, he’s been able to receive international recognition without conforming to any predefined genre, which is cool whether you're a fan or not.

The Road To Success:
Moving to California in September 2003, work began on a full-length record with producer Tom Rothrock, the man behind indie artist Beck’s success. But even before his album was finished, Blunt began to wonder if his music would ever be heard. His record was to be distributed by Elektra Records, which was folded by its parent company Warner Music Group in 2004, and the label was suddenly a part of Atlantic Records. Thanks to Perry’s persistence, Atlantic Records eventually released his debut Back To Bedlam in the fall of 2004.
After a slow build and a support slot on Elton John's 2004 tour, Blunt took off in a big way in England. Elton John, with whom he shares a manager, has voiced his thoughts on You're Beautiful being the modern successor to his own classic Your Song. With You're Beautiful going to #1 across Europe and royalties from big record sales coming in, Blunt himself admits all this astonishing successes is taking a long time to sink in.

You’re being hailed as the next Elton John….that must feel good?
Blunt: Its weird…(Laughs) I guess any singer-songwriter gets put into the next singer-songwriter bracket…but those sort of comparisons are necessary so people know what the hell the album is going to sound like before buying it. I think people may be a bit over-generous with those associations…but yeah they are great compliments. Elton John is my fairy godfather in the music industry. He took me on tour.

So what’s the album really all about?
Blunt: It is an album based on real life, about the solitude of being a conscious human being in today's world. For me this album is a diary. It’s like a book, like ten chapters. It’s melancholic and uplifting. Miserable, with a dash of hope. (Laughs) It's always nice to be able to capture your life's experiences in a song and hold the emotion in that way. I try and hold my own and follow my own path in that way.

The album is officially platinum a few times over. You’re now almost at #1 on the US Charts and there’s talk of you being up for the Grammy next year. It must be overwhelming….
Blunt: It's weird and wonderful having an album at #1. When you write songs, it's out of necessity to express yourself somehow. I've been surprised by how people have connected with the songs. I hadn't expected this kind of reaction from other people at all. (Laughs) My ambition was to make an album that I was really happy with, to document my songs. I wanted to get them out and I wanted to hold up that first copy and say, ‘Yeah, this is my album. This is the first collection of songs.’ The notion of charts and awards ceremonies is something I hadn't thought about, but it comes as a very nice surprise at the end of the day.

You’ve become one of the biggest pop stars in the world (literally) overnight…
Blunt: I've been planning this since I was 14 so it's actually taken a really long time. (Laughs) Things take a long time, but when it’s right things move fast. Eventually when I had the songs in place and demos right and I found myself a manager, that's when everything started happening quickly but I think that's always the way it is. I've been really enjoying travelling the world and going to different countries, seeing places that I haven't seen and meeting people from all over the place.


You can read the rest of our cover story on James Blunt in the February 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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Pink
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The Corrs
Lee Ryan
Richard Ashcroft
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Getting Started: The Tabla
Record University
Bryan Adams
Lola Kutty: Agony Aunty
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