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James Blunt
Why are we so excited about this 28-year-old singer/songwriter? The simple answer: He writes achingly beautiful songs. Need more reasons to check him out? We'll give you eight!

He delivers a stunning debut.
With Back To Bedlam, his 10-track debut album, Blunt proves that his songwriting is stellar. While his experiences in the army (he served in Kosovo) did contribute, in the form of a song called No Bravery, he states that the album as a whole is about “what it's like to be alive, to have friends, and to be an individual in today's world."
The gorgeous first single, You're Beautiful, takes hold of your heart-strings and just refuses to let go. It is a song that almost everyone can relate to, about the heart-rending experience of meeting and losing someone special.
Almost all of the tracks on Back To Bedlam have interesting back-stories. The plaintive Goodbye My Lover was recorded in Star War's actress Carrie Fisher's bathroom! While recording the album in Los Angeles, Blunt was staying, courtesy a common friend, at Fisher's home. Being a Hollywood home, it wasn't unusual that the luxurious house had a piano, in the bathroom no less. He sat down at it, played his song, liked the acoustics, so he recorded it there!
No Bravery, one of the album's standout tracks, was written in Kosovo in 1999. On patrol around Pristina, Blunt kept his guitar bolted to the outside of his tank. In quieter moments he wrote about life as a 22 year old peacekeeper in the aftermath of one of the decade's bloodiest civil wars. He wrote No Bravery lying by his tank in his sleeping bag with his boots on.
So Long, Jimmy, another great track, was inspired by a number of Jimmys ~ most notably Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Interestingly, Blunt wrote it with his friend Jimmy Hogarth and he says, being named James, he gets called Jimmy occasionally too!

He built his fan following the old-fashioned way.
The debut album was released quietly after which Blunt set about playing regular gigs to support it, and soon his fan base began to grow steadily. The fans spread the word and the buzz grew louder ~ a refreshing change from artists that are built up by marketing-based hype machines.
Some of his more famous fans include singer Elton John whose management company signed him on and former 4 Non Blondes lead vocalist Linda Perry who has carved out an impressive career writing and producing songs for Pink and Christina Aguilera among others. She met Blunt at a musical showcase and immediately signed him to her own record label.

He can take on Coldplay.
When Back To Bedlam charted, it kicked Coldplay out of the top spot, and then held on to #1 for eight weeks! If that was not enough, his big hit You're Beautiful occupied the #1 spot on the singles chart as well, making Blunt the only artist since Rod Stewart to top both charts at the same time! The album, at last count, had gone quadruple-platinum in the UK.

He got shot at more times than 50 Cent ~ not on the streets but in the army.
Coming from an army background, when it came time for Blunt to join the ranks, he didn't hesitate. In 1999 he served four years in the British army, became Captain and went on a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo, where he was the first British officer into Pristina, leading a column of 30,000 peacekeeping troops. In his last year he stood guard as sentry at the Queen Mother's coffin and rode a horse around London during the Queen's jubilee, wearing an ornate helmet with a white plume and a sword!

He is a man of many talents.
Blunt was always encouraged to learn musical instruments by his mother. As a result, he began learning the violin when he was 5 and the piano when he was 7. With age came more rock-star-like ambitions and at 14, Blunt picked up the electric guitar and played along to Nirvana's Nevermind. Incidentally, not only can he play several musical instruments, but he also got a pilot's license at 16 and “can fly anything with a single engine Tiger Moths, Spitfires…"

You can read the rest of our feature on James Blunt in the October 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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