James Blunt (born James Hillier Blount, 22.2.1974)
James Blunt is an English songwriter and singer who shot to fame in 2005 with the single 'You're Beautiful.'
James Blunt: Childhood
James Blunt was born in a military hospital in Tidworth, Wiltshire, to Jane and Charles Blount. His family has a history of military service that dates back to the 10th Century.
His early childhood was divided between England, Cyprus and Germany, as his father was a Corporal in the British Army Air Corps.
Aged 16, Blunt had gained his own pilot's license and he earned an army-sponsored place at Bristol University, where he first studied aerospace manufacturing engineering, before graduating with a BSc in Sociology in 1996. His education was completed at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.
James Blunt: Military Career
Blunt was committed to at least four years of service in the army, as they had sponsored his university education. He was initially placed in the role of a second Lieutenant in the Life Guards and rose to the rank of Captain.
In 1999, Blunt served in the NATP peacekeeping force in Kosovo and was the first British officer to enter the Kosovan capital.
Blunt took his guitar with him and would often perform for the local Kosovans. It was here that he wrote the song 'No Bravery.'
Later on, whilst based in Switzerland he earned the captaincy of the Household cavalry Alpine ski team and became the champion skier of the entire Royal Armoured Corps.
Whilst in London, Blunt stood guard at the coffin of the Queen Mother whilst she was lying in State and was a part of her funeral procession.
He extended his stay in the army, but then left in October 2002.
James Blunt: Musical Career
Upon leaving the army, Blunt was signed to EMI's publishing arm and to Twenty-First Artists Management. His posh speaking voice caused concern for many record company executives. However, when Linda Perry (songwriter for Pink and Christina Aguilera, among others) was launching Custard Records in 2003, she signed him to the label, having seen him perform at South By Southwest Festival.
The debut album, Back to Bedlam, was produced by Tom Rothrock in 2003. Blunt stayed with the actress Carrie Fisher during his time in Los Angeles, recording the album. He had met Fisher through the family of a former girlfriend. The song 'Goodbye My Lover' was recorded in Fisher's bathroom.
Back to Bedlam was released in 2003 but Blunt was relatively unknown and the response to his live performances was mixed, though his music was often likened to that of Damien Rice and David Gray.
It wasn't until the third single, 'You're Beautiful' was released, that Blunt broke through to mainstream success. The song went into the charts at number 12 and eventually ascended to the top spot. The huge amounts of radio airplay given to the song also pushed the album to the top of the UK Albums Chart.
The Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work was awarded to James Blunt and the co-writers of the song. He also became the first British artist in almost a decade to reach the top of the US singles chart.
In 2006, he was awarded 5 BRIT awards. He performed 'You're Beautiful' at the Grammy Awards in 2007 but failed to win any of the five prizes that he had been nominated for.
Back To Bedlam eventually sold over 11 million copies worldwide.
All The Lost Souls, James Blunt's second album, was released in 2007 and was certified gold in just four days in the UK. The album was recorded at his home in Ibiza, again with Rothrock on production duties.
James Blunt: Personal Life
James Blunt's personal life has been well documented in the press and has been linked romantically to Dixie Chassay, casting director for the Harry Potter films, musician Camilla Boler and the supermodel Petra Nemcova.
Blunt auctioned a number of 'meet and greet' opportunities at his gigs, to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontieres as well as supporting environmental causes. He screens a trailer for Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth at his concerts.