James Blunt: “I was very lucky with a ‘hit’ on the first record. The Rolling Stones are still looking for him” | People

If, in order to read or listen to the statements published about James Blunt (Tidworth, United Kingdom, 48 years old), a filter could be applied, like the ones added to Instagram photos, it would have to be activated until it reached 100% irony and English humor. British singer, who rose to fame in 2005 for his single You’re Beautiful, is in full European tour with The Stars Beneath My Feet (2004-2021) —The stars under my feet (2004-2021)—, a compilation album of his greatest hits. In it you can hear songs from her first album, such as Goodbye my Lover, High or Wisemen, but also four other new songs, which he would write during the pandemic, after more than 17 years of career and six studio albums.

“It’s very important,” says Blunt via Zoom, smiling and spontaneously in perfect Spanish, when he talks about his concert in Madrid, on June 8 at Madrid Escena, a festival held in the Tierno Galván park in the capital, and in which Simply Red, Robe or Diego will also perform throughout the month The Cigala, among others. For the 7th, where the Briton will play at the Pedralbes Festival in Barcelona, ​​he already has all the tickets sold out.

“We’ve been playing since last July, mainly in the UK, and I feel like it’s all just a rehearsal for the biggest show, which will be in Madrid. I feel like it’s a homecoming”, explains the singer from a hotel room in Vilnius (Lithuania), where he was performing last Monday. “You know, I’m English and the English public is reserved and quiet. The Spaniards have music in their blood and bones. And as an audience you are one of the most fantastic in the world”, she confesses.

For years, James Blunt has had a special connection with Spain. He explains, without asking her and at the beginning of this interview, that he and his wife, Sofia Wellesley, whom he married in Mallorca in 2014, live much of the year in Ibiza, in a house they own and with their two children. . His father-in-law, son of the eighth Duke of Wellington, and his mother-in-law live in Madrid and all of them, including some friends, will be at the concert next Wednesday to support him. “During the pandemic I discovered that I had children,” the artist jokes. A joke that has become recurring for the British about what returning home meant for him during the months of quarantine —and that he mentions in his concerts, such as the last one he played in Vienna, last April— after so many years on tour.

‘You’re Beautiful’ and social media

Many are the artists who deny their great successes —Madonna does not want to hear Like a Virgin; radiohead despise creep… —, those anthems that fans expect to hear and sing live and that never arrive; or that if they sound, they do it in the encores and with reluctance. It is not the case of James Blunt, who is happy and at peace with his greatest success, You’re Beautifulthe single that would catapult him to world fame.

A song that reached number one in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Italy and that he continues to sing on his shows. “The cornerstone of my career has been to have that success early on. That gave me the freedom to go on tour all over the world”, explains the musician, who acknowledges that since his first job he has lived chaining gigs for 18 months in a row, and then, every three years, he releases a new album. Until now.

“Why would I regret it? I think it’s the typical question to send a negative message about something that is really fantastic. All of us musicians are looking for it…”, states the artist when asked about his greatest success, a song that sold more than 625,000 copies in the United Kingdom alone in 2005, and with which he stripped naked and was released to the sea in his video clip. “I was very lucky because I had a hit on my first album. The Rolling Stones are still looking for him. That’s why I think Mick Jagger looks so sad. He’s still out there, looking for a big hit, ”says Blunt, with an answer in which he reactivates that 100% filter of fine irony that hides behind almost every word of his.

And that irony and that English humor that he exudes in his talk is the same that oozes in each of the messages he writes through his social networks. For him, it is the best showcase to let loose his personality. “When I started in music they didn’t exist, and I could only communicate through interviews; I didn’t really enjoy it because every time I said something people took me seriously, and nothing I said was serious, ”says Blunt, after his record company encouraged him to open up a Twitter account, written and managed by him personally. “I thought he was great because he gave me a voice to speak as a human being, rather than through a publicist or a record label. And so I can, you know, have a voice and be silly, ”he clarifies smiling.

And it is on his social networks where Blunt laughs at himself, revealing his most supportive facet —as when he stripped naked again to raise funds against cancer, covering the song and the video clip of You’re Beautiful—, but also his friendliest and funniest face. The singer wants to escape the negative messages that abound on Twitter, and that in his case, he assures, they are a minority. “You ask me about a negative comment and you don’t do it because of how the 3,000 people who listened to me live last night or the 10,000 the night before felt?”, the artist kindly complains. “It’s a little disrespectful of me to worry about such negativity when thousands of fans They have spent a lot of money on hotels, on the trip and have even queued for hours, in the rain if it is in England, to come see me”, he argues.

Although he now lives focused on his European tour, Blunt, who before being a musician was a soldier and fought in Kosovo, the Russian invasion in Ukraine worries him. “It is always the politicians who create these scenarios for no good reason. His thirst for drawing lines on a map; lines that are not relevant to the people who live there. And it is always the civilians who suffer the most from the ego of these politicians. Millions of displaced and homeless, hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been lost and without good reason, I repeat, ”he laments.

Blunt, who admits that his world will always revolve around music, has shown that he is capable of facing other facets, in addition to the artistic ones. The singer owns The Fox & Pheasant (The Fox and the Pheasant), a 17th-century pub near the Chelsea stadium in London, which he began managing in 2018 with his wife and who takes care of every detail. “As a Spaniard, Estrella Damm cannot be missing from my pub,” he says. In addition, he began writing a book during the pandemic, a novel that he is currently preparing, and participated in The Great Celebrity Bake Off, a television program in the United Kingdom in which a group of celebrities had to demonstrate their culinary skills. And when he recalls his experience cooking, the filter of fine irony is activated again: “The great lesson I learned there is that I should not be allowed to enter a kitchen again.”

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