JAMES BLUNT talks singing, stalking and twitter with the Tab
‘Putting out a song about stalking isn’t the way to get the One’. James Blunt opens up about the misinterpretation of his biggest hit in interview.
James Blunt personally serenaded me at the Cambridge Union. Yes, ME. Ok, sure there were 400 other people in the audience of his Union talk who could also hear those dulcet tones. But you could cut the romantic tension between us (and hundreds of similarly entranced students) with a knife.
Before launching into his rapturously received rendition of You're Beautiful, Blunt discussed how often and widely his hit song has been misinterpreted. The song is about stalking, he stressed. Specifically, stalking – while high on drugs – some poor random girl on the Tube who was clearly with her boyfriend. Not exactly the most romantic ditty then. It baffles Blunt that many play the songs at weddings, for example, or see it as a quintessential love song. "I usually forget Valentines Day," he continued, shattering the dreams of many members of the audience who might have otherwise considered him the perfect man (don't worry James, I still think that xoxo).
During our round table interview, I pressed him further on this, asking (for a friend!!) whether songs and music were the key to romance. "I think … putting out a song and music is not the way to the One… especially if it's about stalking," he explained, "…but if you want to be able to pay some bills, then go for it." Pretty sound advice from a man whose songs have made him millions, and whose world tour is quickly selling out stadiums in Australia, Chile, and beyond. And Blunt is, understandably, grateful for the success which You're Beautiful brought him, and is never hesitant to end a show (or Union talk) with a rendition. When asked if he ever tires of having to sing it, he compared himself to a chef making a signature dish: "If I was a chef, and lasagna was my forte … why would I get pissed of being asked to make it every night?"
Blunt also discussed his (in)famous Twitter zingers. However, he remained clear that, ultimately, he sees Twitter as more trouble than it is worth. "Don't be on Twitter," he told us, "it's just about ego." On his favourite social networks spats, he gave yet more advice, suggesting that big fights are "silly" and best avoided:"I try and give one tweet answers."
We delved further into both his musical influences and bromances – particularly Elton John, who falls into both categories: "[When starting out in music] I gravitated towards the music of the 70s… Elton John, Cat Stevens." Blunt even covered one of the superstar's hits, Sacrifice, with the other target of his bromantic advances: Ed Sheeran. The pair have famously struck up a friendship, work with the same record label (Atlantic Records), and have toured and performed TOGETHER when promoting new music (be still my beating heart!).
Still, even the addition of Ed Sheeran could not have bettered Blunt's talk at the Union. Especially so during his performance of You're Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover (which perhaps nearly reduced the Tab team to tears), so rousing that it triggered a standing ovation not dissimilar to that which followed last term's Stephen Hawking lecture. Beautiful, it's true.