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The Mail on Sunday - Event Magazine Expand / Collapse
Posted 24 June 2017 22:39

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Exclusive interview with James in The Mail on Sunday - Event Magazine on June 25th. Let's hope it's not James' suit for The Afterlove tour.



Post #283540
Posted 25 June 2017 04:32

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A long and interesting interview. Don't miss the pictures!


My home? An island in the sun. My wife? A stunning aristocrat. My friends? Pop stars and princes. My life? Yes... It's beautiful! James Blunt on why he doesn't care if the critics say he's wet

By Adrian Deevoy for Event Magazine
24 June 2017

The ex-Army captain has made a real splash with Prince Harry, is swimming in cash and has a huge pool of fans who lap up his self-deprecating wit on Twitter. And, as Event discovers, it will take more than a few ‘too posh, too bland’ sneers to push James Blunt over the edge...

Next week, James Blunt embarks upon a three-month tour of North America supporting Ed Sheeran, MBE. ‘It’s going to be three months of pretty much non-stop fun,’ says Blunt. ‘I can’t wait.’

Yet despite his excitement, we have met in solemn circumstances. It is the morning after the catastrophic blaze began at Grenfell Tower, the building is still burning just three miles away, and dreadful detail is emerging.

Blunt doesn’t yet know it but, come the weekend, he will be in a west London studio recording his contribution to Bridge Over Troubled Water, helping raise funds for those who lost loved ones and their homes.

‘Someone from Syco [Simon Cowell’s entertainment company] emailed my manager on the Friday,’ says Blunt a week later, prompting his immediate decision to get involved with the charity single.

‘I live in the same borough and could see the fire from my house. It was devastating. I walked past the tower on my way to and from the studio.’

Blunt adds that ‘the mood was sombre’ at Sarm Music Village, where stars including Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams, Rita Ora, Stormzy, Liam Payne, Emeli Sandé and a local residents choir joined to sing the moving, modern-day hymn to healing.

‘It’s a poignant song,’ Blunt says. ‘The line “when friends just can’t be found” hits pretty hard. Hopefully it will raise some money for the survivors to help them with material things.’

The record was released on Wednesday.

This evening, Blunt’s buddy Sheeran plays the Sunday-night headline slot at Glastonbury but, competitive to the last, he hijacks this landmark occasion to recall his own Glasto-glory.

‘I’ve played there three times now,’ he grins. ‘And I’ve camped each time. I’m an excellent camper. Come on, it was my job – creeping around in bushes is something I excel at. Glastonbury is essentially what the Army equipped me for.

‘The first time I played there I was standing naked at a tap, trying to wash the mud off myself before I climbed onto a stage at something like 11 in the morning. No one knew who I was: just another weirdo, Glastonbury victim.

‘I played twice on the Pyramid stage and I’ve always said it was the best live experience I have ever had, so a small part of me envies Ed. It’s very exciting.’

Sheeran, Blunt says, is a man he would want alongside him in the trenches. ‘He’s a good man,’ he nods, with grudging admiration. ‘He can turn his hand to almost anything.’

Initially introduced by Sir Elton John when he signed both artists to his Rocket Music management company, Sheeran and Blunt have become firm friends. Their interests include skiing, collaborative songwriting (they co-composed Make Me Better for Blunt’s latest album The Afterlove) and ‘alcohol’. The tour, Blunt promises, is going to be a hard-core hoot.

‘But I know my place,’ he concedes. ‘I’m lucky to be a support act to the biggest male solo artist of this decade. It’ll be a thrill to step out in front of his audience and inflict my songs upon them.’

Later, by a secluded swimming pool, Blunt will sit astride a large inflatable flamingo, strumming an acoustic guitar and toying with a cocktail.

No man is immune to the suggestion that he’d make a great 007, except for one particular pop star. The name is Blunt… James Blunt.

Consider Blunt’s microfilm fact-file: impossibly witty (as proven on Twitter), handsome, impeccably polite, old Harrovian, ex-military, can handle a gun, no stranger to beautiful women, lives on a glamorous island (Ibiza) and has the posh voice down to a T.

It is almost as if the 43-year-old has been designed to Ian Fleming’s original specifications. Except, at 5ft 7in, he may be slightly lacking in the height department.

When you suggest to Blunt that stranger things have happened, and how his 15-year highly lucrative career in music (he’s shifted 20 millions albums) could be easily re-routed into high-end espionage movies he convulses with mirth.

‘Acting really isn’t my forte,’ he declares, composing himself. ‘I mean, have you seen my latest video?’

Blunt is nothing if not a great sport – just check out his Twitter timeline for proof (sample: ‘If you thought 2016 was bad… I’m releasing an album in 2017’; ‘I never liked the sound of my own voice. Till it made me rich’; and in reply to ‘Who invited James Blunt to the Invictus Games?’ ‘Prince Harry. By text. BOOM!’)

Professionally, it has been a good year for Blunt. The Afterlove, his fifth album, released in March, has been busily cementing his relationship with established fans and attracting a younger demographic than his previous efforts. ‘Doing a Corbyn, as I believe it’s called,’ he deadpans. Blunt’s management and label are pleased with the album’s progress as he heads to the States to promote it there.

Blunt has also scored ‘an accidental European smash hit’ with DJ Robin Schulz, having written and sung on the insistent dance-floor banger OK.

Hot on the heels of his US jaunt with Sheeran, he’ll tour Europe in October, then the UK in November.

Personally, he has been confirmed, once again, as King of Twitter. ‘I only ever look at it once every couple of weeks now,’ he says, still plainly proud of some of his more outrageous and frankly filthy Tweets. ‘It has been freeing in that it allowed people to see who I really was rather than the guy my songs portrayed me to be.’

More significantly, Blunt has become a father for the first time. His wife, the striking Sofia Wellesley, granddaughter of the 8th Duke of Wellington, gave birth to a son early last year, who he prefers not to discuss publicly. He does confess, however, that fatherhood has made his job a little trickier.

‘Going on tour will be harder, but there will be two spare bunks on any tour bus for friends and family as they come along to visit,’ he reports happily. ‘I love touring because we’re like a bunch of children anyway, so one more won’t make too much difference.’

Blunt wrote Someone Singing Along with his boy in mind, as the lyric explains to a child exactly what is wrong with the world today. ‘Someone who somehow has got a gun/Will tell you who you can’t and who you can love,’ he warns ominously. ‘Terrorists and politicians in this charged climate of nationalism seem very keen to point out our differences all the time,’ he laments. ‘Music brings strangers together, it doesn’t divide them.’

It may not be ‘cool’ to make such an assertion but Blunt has little time for the concept of ‘cool’.

‘I never was cool and I never aspired to be cool,’ he says. ‘I’m never going to be cool.

‘When I hear the word “cool”, the soldier in me understands “cool” to mean “keep cool under fire” – remaining calm in a hostile environment.’

When I first met Blunt, in early 2005, he was still playing small solo gigs and had recently released his debut album, Back To Bedlam (which today is 17th on the UK all-time list) on an independent label, Custard Records; his future looked decidedly lumpy. Two years out of the military, he was wiry and wired, with an unusual energy and a manic glint in his eye. There was something compelling about this compact troubadour.

‘I was slightly highly strung,’ he agrees now. ‘When you’ve just stepped out of the Army back into the civilian world, the pace of life outside seems quite slow. You do things relatively quickly. That attitude, which I still have to an extent – my band always complain that I walk too fast – doesn’t sit comfortably in the music business because it likes to think of itself as laid-back.’

It is rare to see the shockproof Blunt shaken or stirred, but suggest to him that he might have become the Boris Johnson of pop and he stops in his tracks.

‘Why on earth would you say that?’ he asks, momentarily thrown. ‘I’m not anything like him.’ I put it to Blunt that outwardly he is a bright and charming fellow with all his robust tweeting and fun-time TV appearances, but inwardly he is concerned that he might be considered a figure of fun.

‘I must say it’s not something that I’ve thought about or worried about too much,’ he says. ‘I hope that I’m a pretty rounded sort of bloke.’ He pauses to collect his thoughts and make a quick joke about Johnson’s well-nourished physique. ‘No, I think I’m pretty different,’ the svelte singer decides.

Blunt was a captain in the Life Guards, a regiment of the Household Cavalry, and worked as an armoured reconnaissance officer in the Nato deployment in Kosovo on the Macedonian/Yugoslavian border in 1999. However, his six years’ military experience, during which he was at the head of a column of 30,000 men, still leaves him at a loss when it comes to countering terrorist attacks.

‘I don’t see them as terrorists,’ he says calmly. ‘The notion of a terrorist, in their mind, implies some kind of soldierly courage, whereas I see only cowards, petty criminals, on the whole, who want infamy by acting out cowardly acts of murder. I see no courage in killing children at an Ariana Grande concert. It’s abhorrent.'

On a similarly sombre note, we speak about Prince William and Harry’s bravery in speaking about the death of their mother, Diana, the attendant grief, anxiety and depression.

Blunt, who has known the princes since their teens, sympathises and supports his friends’ decision to make public a very private matter. ‘I haven’t had the enormous trauma that many people experience in life,’ he says. ‘I have been very lucky – I haven’t had real difficulty. Even with my experience on operations, while witnessing huge and terrible traumatic experiences, they weren’t my own family.’

Although Blunt claims not to have suffered from depression, he acknowledges that ‘everyone, no matter what their class or background or financial footing, has depressing thoughts from time to time. I’m lucky enough to put my miserable moments in songs – they’re my outlet – although I don’t think my songs are depressing, they’re melancholic.’

He is uncertain, or certainly unforthcoming, as to the source of this melancholia. He concedes that being sent to boarding school for ten years created an ‘incredible intensity of emotion’. He then trained at Sandhurst Royal Military College, where he maintains that he wasn’t bullied. ‘No more than anyone else,’ he sniffs, then frowns. ‘I’m a smaller man, so I probably have a Napoleon complex. I was always quite punchy.’

It is to be hoped that Blunt’s pugilist abilities won’t be required in his latest position as a pub landlord. Having made a drink-fuelled impulse purchase last year, the musician is now the proud owner of The Fox and Pheasant in Chelsea.

‘The pub was being sold by Greene King and it was being bid for by people who wanted to turn it into a residential property,’ he explains. ‘Having had a house in the same street for 11 years, it was my local and everyone loved it. I’d always joked that I’d buy it if it ever came up for sale.

‘Then I was out on the town with an estate agent who said it was up for grabs. I was p***** and said, “I want it!”

‘The next morning all the paperwork arrived and I thought, ‘I’d better go along with this now.’ But I’m thrilled because we’re going to preserve this lovely old boozer. It hasn’t been touched since 1930, and hopefully, although it’s a business I know absolutely nothing about, the pub will be there for many generations to come.’

Drinking, Blunt suggests, is an occupational hazard. ‘I’m a touring musician and I’m pretty good at holding my own, but I don’t drink at work or during work,’ he notes. ‘I always get up on stage completely sober.’

Downtime, however, can be more problematic. When Ed Sheeran recently wound up with a freshly sliced cheek after a night on the sauce with Blunt, the boozy brothers-in-arms were quick to concoct a cock-and-bull story about ceremonial swords and a clumsy princess before hastily withdrawing their far-fetched account of events and retreating into sheepish silence. Were Blunt and Sheeran worried that they might be jeopardising their own knighthoods with such an exotic tale? Blunt squirms, coughs and giggles.

‘I have sworn an allegiance as an ex-soldier and as the Queen’s horse guard,’ he smirks, literally pulling rank. ‘It’s my duty to say nothing at this stage.’

Whatever happened that evening, Sheeran has been left with quite a duelling scar.

‘It only makes him more beautiful,’ Blunt smiles slyly, immediately invoking memories of his ubiquitous, helium-voiced hit, a song Blunt still insists is ‘massively misunderstood, and not in any way romantic’.

‘I have alternative lyrics for it but they’re probably inappropriate,’ he announces cheerily, before singing a snatch to prove that they are just that.

Blunt sang the radio-friendly version of You’re Beautiful at Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s civil-partnership ceremony in 2005. As a continuing confidante, Elton would doubtless know the truth about Sheeran’s rugged disfigurement and Blunt’s part in it, but he’s keeping it a showbusiness secret.

‘He’s been a phenomenal support and a close friend,’ says Blunt warmly. ‘He offers advice in a very positive way.’

And what has been his most positive piece of advice? ‘“F*** ’em,’’ Blunt offers, bluntly. ‘When the press might get you down, Elton’s words of wisdom are never far from my mind. “F*** ’em.”’

Stripping off his wet shirt and trousers after another fully clothed pool plunge, Blunt discloses that he has a tattoo in an interesting place.

‘No, not there,’ he tuts. ‘I have a barcode on the sole of my foot. I had it done when I was in the Army – it reads, name, rank and number. The idea is that when I’m dead, lying there, no dog-tags, they can scan the barcode and know who I am. Or was.’

Roughly towelling his hair, he proffers some parting advice. ‘Don’t ever get the sole of your foot tattooed.’ He squints and grits his teeth, like James Bond anticipating a spot of torture. ‘It’s inhumanly ticklish.’

Blunt tours the UK from November, james blunt.com/tour. ‘The Afterlove’ is out now

Post #283542
Posted 25 June 2017 04:35

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Town or country? ‘I like Ibiza because it feels like the country but the action’s only ten minutes away.’

Sunbathing or skiing? ‘I don’t really sunbathe but I prefer activities you do in the sun, like diving and surfing.’

Pint or a cuppa? ‘A pint, definitely. In fact, now would be nice.’

Poldark or Planet Earth? ‘I’m not a TV guy at all – I don’t even have one at home. I’ve got a nightclub instead.’

Fry-up or protein shake? ‘A fry-up, if that doesn’t make me a bad person.’

Liam or Noel Gallager? ‘I met Noel (inset) after we’d had a few cross words on Twitter. Disappointingly, he was a really nice guy!’

Post #283543
Posted 25 June 2017 18:08

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A tattoo? What a load of shit!
Post #283548
Posted 26 June 2017 00:14
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Truly, what is cool. As far as I'm concerned James is the coolest. So happy for James and Sofia for baby #2.
Post #283549
Posted 26 June 2017 15:27

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Finally, I prefer the yellow suit...


Post #283554
Posted 26 June 2017 18:45

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Great interview

Probably everyone else here will know this better than I, but he seems so much more relaxed now than in his older interviews.
Post #283557
Posted 13 April 2018 13:57

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Behind the scenes with the Celebrity Hair & Makeup Artist.


Hair, Makeup and Styling Blog

Alice Theobald on the edge with James Blunt
28th June 2017

James Blunt was looking well-groomed lying in a pink flamingo lilo with an accoustic guitar for the cover of Event Magazine thanks to our celebrity men's grooming artist, Alice Theobald.

Having contributed to Simon Cowell's fund raising track Bridge Over Trouble Water for Grenfell Towers, James Blunt is now on a three month tour of North America supporting fellow songster and best mate, Ed Sheeran.

For James Blunt who was captain in the Life Guards, a regiment of the Household Cavalry and worked as an armoured reconnaissance officer in Kosovo, reclining on a lilo is hardly an extreme situation. But for Alice it meant hovering on the edge to keep an eye on grooming as James floated off in the pool.

And pity the stylist who had to keep the yellow creases to minimum on the lilo. Hope they did't have to return the chlorine soaked suit after the shoot.

Post #285816
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