James Blunt

  • English singer, songwriter and musician born James Blount in 1974 in Tidworth, Hampshire, England.
  • Blount was born into a military family, and he served in the British Army for 6 years after graduating from college – he attended college on a military scholarship and was required to serve at least 4 years. He rose to the rank of captain, and he was deployed with NATO to Kosovo in 1999. He extended his military service, becoming a member of the Queen’s Guard in 2000. Blount earned his pilot license when he was 16 years old, and he is an accomplished skier.
  • As a child, he took lessons in violin and piano, and at 14, he learned to play the guitar. While in the army, he would write songs and occasionally perform for the troops. A friend suggested that Blount contact Elton John’s manager, and Blount sent a demo tape to the manager. The manager subsequently contacted Blunt to set up a meeting – soon after, Blount left the army to pursue a musical career.
  • He changed his stage name to Blunt to make it easier for others to spell – “Blount” is pronounced the same way as “Blunt.” He signed a publishing contract in 2002, but initially a recording contract was elusive. In 2004, a record company executive listened to his demo tape, and then heard him perform at the South by Southwest Music Festival – he was offered a recording contract that night.
  • While recording his debut album in Los Angeles, he lodged with actress Carrie Fisher, who helped name the album, Back to Bedlam. The song Goodbye My Lover from the album was recorded in her bathroom. The album was released in 2004, and initially had limited success when the singles High and Wiseman were released in the UK.
  • Everything changed with the release of the third single from the album, You’re Beautiful. Six weeks after its release in May 2006, it was #1 in the UK. Its success led to a spike in album sales, bringing the album to #1 on the UK album chart. That summer, a prominent radio station in New York City started to play the song, even though it had not been released to radio in the U.S. It immediately became popular, and that autumn the song was released to radio throughout the U.S. It eventually topped the Hot 100 chart in 2006 – Blunt was the first British artist to top the U.S. chart in over 9 years (Elton John’s Candle in the Wind 1997).
  • Back to Bedlam ended up peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and it was certified 3x platinum. Global sales were over 11 million copies. Goodbye My Lover was the follow-up to You’re Beautiful, landing in the top 10 in the UK and at #66 in the U.S. He headlined 140 shows worldwide in 2006, and appeared on Saturday Night Live and Oprah Winfrey. Eight songs from the album were used in films, television shows and commercials.
  • Blunt’s follow-up album, All the Lost Souls, was released in 2007. It topped album charts in 18 countries, and it peaked at #7 in the U.S. While the album was popular, the only single to sell well was 1973, a song about his times partying with a girl at the Pascha night club on the Spanish island of Ibiza – the song peaked at #9 in the UK and was top 10 in many other countries, but only reached #73 in the U.S.
  • Blunt took a break from recording, as he was disillusioned with success. He returned at the start of the 10s – Blunt released 4 albums from 2010 to today, all of which were top 10 albums in most global markets, though in the U.S. they were less successful. 2013’s Moon Landing album produced his biggest hit of this decade, Bonfire Heart – the folk rock song made it to #4 in the UK, and to #26 on the US Adult Contemporary chart. His most recent album, Once Upon a Mind, was released in October 2019 – already in the top 10 in some markets. I listened to it, and greatly enjoyed it – his distinctive vocals are prevalent, the music is catchy-pop, his lyrics are pensive (as usual), and the overall sound is “big.”
  • You’re Beautiful led to 5 Grammy nominations and 2 MTV Video Music Awards for Blunt. Here’s the video to his mega-hit.

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