James Blunt Talks Carrie Fisher, Retirement Rumors
To date, James Blunt has sold more than 20 million albums and has played sold-out arenas across the globe. Being famous has brought both artistic and financial rewards. Blunt has a home in Ibiza, Spain and a chateau in the Swiss Alps, and he's made numerous friends in high places, including actress and writer Carrie Fisher, with whom he stays when he's in Los Angeles.
"I met her years ago in London in a restaurant," Blunt tells Yahoo. "She said I should stay with her when I wrote the first album, and now whenever I record, I've been living with her. It's very much my home away from home, and it's a very creative house. One minute Sean Lennon will be passing through and Harper Simon, who is Paul Simon's son. When I was working on this album, I'd come home from the studio at one in the morning and Carrie would be on her bed writing. She'd be the first person I'd play every song to. And after she heard it, she'd give me her critique and then send me out in the morning to fix it up."
While fame and wealth have given Blunt opportunities he only dreamed of a decade ago, he has also been subject to the inconveniences of being a celebrity. He has been pressured by his label and management to continue to raise the bar on his popularity, and been scrutinized by the British press, who he claims is just as happy to fabricate something about him as they are to tell the truth. Case in point: The U.K. paper the Daily Mail caused a stir in October 2012 when it printed an article in which Blunt allegedly said, "I just want to take some time out for myself. I haven't got plans to do more songwriting."
"That newspaper is famous for not ever telling the truth," Blunt says. "I'd been home for a day to wash my clothes after my world tour finished. Then the next day I headed to Los Angeles and started writing songs. Music's in my blood. I never plan to stop."
There are two sides to James Blunt. On one hand, he's a former British Army captain who served in Kosovo, an adventurer who rides motorcycles across endless stretches of highway, an avid skier who attacks the slopes like an Olympic champion, and a fearless deep sea diver. Then there's the hopeless, pain-stricken romantic who rose to stardom in 2004 with the strummy, acoustic pop song "You're Beautiful" from his debut Back to Bedlam, and has just released the plaintive, heart-on-sleeve Moon Landing.
"I sing some delicate little tunes, but I enjoy adventure and I come from a serious Army background," Blunt says. "I had an amazing time in the Army going to places where you're hopefully helping bring peace and stability. It was the greatest education in the world. To be in areas that aren't safe and try to understand the difficulties of the people there was an incredible thing."
While Blunt continues to support war veterans through various charities, he's hardly remembered for his military service. Once "You're Beautiful" hit the radio, he took on a new life as a celebrity pop star. The song exploded and Back to Bedlam sold more than 11 million copies around the world; eight of the 10 songs were used in television commercials. In addition, Blunt won two Brit Awards and a pair of MTV Music Awards.
His subsequent records, 2007's All the Lost Souls and 2010's Some Kind of Trouble, were more musically intricate; lush with piano, strings, and polished production, and they were also well received, spreading his appeal to pop, rock and indie audiences.