Raw side of Blunt

The journey and sense of human achievement when man first landed on the moon is what English singer-songwriter James Blunt immediately talks about when asked about his fourth and latest album - the aptly titled Moon Landing.

The 47-year-old folk-rockster, best known for his 2004 hit emotional folk ballad You're Beautiful, tells Life! in a telephone interview from the United Kingdom: "It's really about a journey to go back and find the man with whom I recorded the first album - producer Tom Rockroth - and we locked ourselves in a studio for a year and I wrote the songs without an audience in mind."

The result is an album that Blunt describes as "raw, honest and innocent in many ways".

He adds that it is a collection of songs which are "deeply personal, recorded in a way without hiding behind great musicians, without losing the songs behind lots of production".

Released in Singapore last month, Moon Landing offers the hit single Bonfire Heart, Blunt's first chart-topping single in several years.

It debuted at No. 6 before peaking at No. 2 the following week on the UK singles chart.

Blunt says of the song, which was co-written with Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic: "It's what all humans need, it's the human condition to need connection. It's like we don't need so much, we just need someone to light the spark in our bonfire heart."

He re-emphasises the thread of honesty running through the album and adds: "Before, I was writing songs with an audience in mind and writing songs to fill large arenas, but you find that it's not necessarily as rewarding as doing songs where I give more of myself."

Blunt, a former Kosovo army veteran, found fame back in 2005 after the release of his debut album Back To Bedlam, which was produced by Rockroth, Moon Landing's producer.

The acclaimed album, which produced the hit singles You're Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover, sold 11 million copies worldwide and was the highest-selling album in the UK in 2005, with close to 2.4 million copies sold.

He went on to release his sophomore album All The Lost Souls (2007) and Some Kind Of Trouble (2010), which did not do quite as well as his debut album, but received fairly warm reviews from the critics.

While Blunt is known for his heart-on-sleeve brand of folk ballads, his social media activity has also shown him to have a witty and funny side.

With more than 244,000 followers on Twitter, he has recently garnered fame for his laugh-out-loud witty replies to tweets that slam him or his work.

For example, a user had tweeted: "Only two people call me beautiful. Thank you mum and James Blunt", to which Blunt replied: "I'm so sorry. I thought you were someone else."

When asked about being a Twitter sensation, he plays it down, saying: "Twitter is a strange thing isn't it? I just check what's going on and answer a couple of tweets, then go back to the real life."

And if fans want a glimpse into his personal life, just listen to his songs.

Blunt, who says he holds on "pretty close to my private life", kept mum on whether he was attached or getting married.

He says: "What I do is that I put a lot of my private life into my songs. No matter where you're from, we do have the same emotion and feel the same way (about things), and so in this album (Moon Landing), you can hear some songs of celebration and great sadness too. So yeah, there's real life in there."

melk@sph.com.sg

James Blunt's Moon Landing is out in stores.


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