With a staggering 18 million record sales under his belt, former soldier James Blunt first came to the world’s attention with his 2005 hit “You’re Beautiful”. He’s now got his third album, Some Kind Of Trouble, on the shelves and kicks off his Aussie tour this week, so we dropped him a line…
Hi James, how’s it going?
I’ve just filmed the Conan O’Brien show in LA and It’s actually just come on the TV in front of me. I’ll find out soon whether I look like a freak or if I got away with it.
Is it weird watching yourself on TV?
I suppose I’m quite critical. It’s like when you hear your talking voice back. You think, “wow, that’s a pity!”
Tour going well?
Yes, it’s been amazing. I’m on a 13-month world tour at the moment. We started in January and I’ve hit just over 90 cities this year already. We’re lucky you know, we’re having fun doing it.
The new album seems more upbeat…
Well, I think people have always been surprised by my live shows, have you ever been to one?
Don’t worry, you’re not missing anything! The live shows normally take people by surprise because they’re much more lively than my albums indicate, so these songs fit into that really well. They’re full of energy. It would be kind of painful to go through a really slow concert night after night. We’re young men and we have energy and optimistic characters and so it’s fun to be able to play songs that reflect that.
Are you fed up of singing “You’re Beautiful” yet?
Well, I play all those songs every night but I have repeated them hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Do I get bored of that? No, every night is different. If I was a chef and my speciality was lasagna and every night people came in and asked for lasagna, well if that’s your best thing then it’s a pleasure to feed them that.
Your debut album, Back To Bedlam, was the UK’s biggest selling record of the Noughties. How’s that feel?
You know, those things just become figures. I don’t know what they mean or if they have any great relevance. I know I have one copy of each album so that I can believe it’s real, but all the other numbers are probably worth ignoring.
Are you wild on tour?
What goes on tour stays on tour! It’s rock ‘n’ roll, I sleep with 12 men every night! We get up on stage and play every night, then we have an after party and travel on. You’d have to get on the bus to find out.
Did you enjoy the Gavin and Stacey scenes about you?
Ah, the Rob Brydon thing is great isn’t it? You kind of get used to those things quite early on. When it works, it’s really fun to see and an amazing compliment. There’s different parodies of “You’re Beautiful”, but the best one is by a guy called Tom Gleeson. He pretends to be the boyfriend of the girl I’m singing about.
So, Wikipedia says you’re Godfather to a ski lift…
Yeah, I do edit my Wikipedia page too often! But yeah, I do have a chairlift named after me in the Swiss Alps. Next year I’m installing a sound system on it to only play my music. Hopefully that will keep the queues down.
Do you still live in Ibiza?
That’s my home yeah, but London is my office. Well, “1973” is written about the most famous nightclub, Pacha, which opened in that year. And then Pete Tong, who’s a mate, remixed it and he now plays it in Pacha so the song’s gone full circle. The nice thing about it is it’s an island that’s got a bit of everything, all the beauty of a Mediterranean Spanish island, but it’s also an amazing nightlife.
Are you a big clubber then?
I think I have the keys to most of the nightclubs so I can close up when everyone else has left! I have my own nightclub as well. I built it at the end of my garden. The clubs normally finish around 7am and then we carry on at mine. I have a big neon sign, which my band gave me, saying “Blunty’s Nightclub: Where everybody’s beautiful”. I’ve even got a vodka company to sponsor it, so I’ve got free vodka. We’re doing pretty well!
James Blunt plays Brisbane (May 14, www.ticketek.com.au), Sydney (May 16, www.ticketmaster.com.au), Canberra (May 18, www.ticketek.com.au), Adelaide (May 20, www.venuetix.com.au), Melbourne (May 21, www.ticketek.com.au) and Perth (May 23, www.ticketek.com.au).