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Posted 15 March 2018 15:59

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This article is for 'Subscriber only' in the Daily Telegraph (Australia). Sometimes you can access the full text online and sometimes you can't. There are new photos as James did a photoshoot in Sydney with photographer Jonathan Ng.


James Blunt talks about Twitter, new music and Ed Sheeran’s upcoming wedding

Kathy McCabe, Daily Telegraph (Australia)
March 13, 2018

JAMES Blunt hopes his best mate Ed Sheeran doesn’t ask him to be his wedding singer.

“If I get an invite, I sincerely hope not because I hope to be very drunk,” the affable Englishman said.

The irreverent mates who toured America together last year are playing Australia at the same time, Sheeran breaking box office records with his stadium concerts while Blunt is packing out theatres and wineries.

Their respective schedules appear to rule out any surprise guest appearances.

Blunt kicked off his Afterlove tour here with his first gigs on Australia’s unique winery circuit and said he had been keen to do those shows after a recommendation from Mick Fleetwood.

“The Hunter Valley audience was absolutely amazing; they had a day of it with Busby Marou and then Pete Murray so by the time it got to me I don’t think they knew who the hell was on stage,” he joked.

“They were very warm and welcoming.”

For all the good times singalong at a Blunt concert courtesy of a raft of hits including You’re Beautiful, Bonfire Heart, 1973 and Stay The Night, the singer admits he often gets teary during Don’t Give Me Those Eyes.

That song has a special resonance for his Australian fans as he filmed the video at a beachside mansion in Sydney last April.

“It’s a properly miserable song ... I am often trying to get a tear out on stage,” he quipped.

“I will always try to take a song back to where it came from ... even if I’ve got a hangover, I feel I am singing my pain.”

In contrast to the emotional melancholy of his music, Blunt has become widely respected as a global sensation for his strong Twitter game.

Hilariously self-deprecating, the English entertainer said sparring with trolls appeals to his dark humour but respected Sheeran’s “sensible” decision to quit Twitter because of the hate.

Blunt’s attitude to the fomented outrage and offence fuelled by social media is balanced his appreciation of the love shown by his legion of fans.

“People online get offended so easily; just take a step back,” he said.

“We also seem to think that two people being outraged is a Twitter storm and means the whole world is against us and that is totally incorrect.

“I could find one negative comment online today if I graze through the whole internet but when I play to tens of thousands of people every night, the people who have bought tickets, travelled to the show, booked hotel rooms, the reality of the world is you have a shed load of support.”

Blunt also has a positive view of the galaxy of phones filming his performances and the crappy YouTube videos posted of his songs.

He knows those clips will never rival the visceral experience of a live concert but they also help to fuel the enthusiasm of his audience and win over new fans.

“I never understood why people stop members of the audience filming or taking pictures,” he said.

“The first thing is it means they are enjoying it and secondly, they are doing your promo for you if people then get into your music that way.

“It feels more organic and word of mouth rather than a record company telling you what’s cool, which is something I would never be.

“Of course nothing beats a live show, being physically a part of it and feeling the song coming direct from the artist, from their heart.

“On stage I’m telling you all my most private secrets, basically I am naked in front of you.”

*James Blunt performs at the Star Event Centre on Wednesday and then the Palais Theatre in Melbourne on Friday, All Saints Estate, Rutherglen on Saturday and Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth on March 20.

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