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James Blunt, unlike most singer-songwriters who shlep through anonymity as waiters or bar singers, spent his four pre-fame years in Britain's army. Not the usual training grounds for creativity: no tour bus, no screaming fans, no Sharpie markers or hair products.

But somehow this ex-warrior became a current phenom, even toppling Coldplay from his homeland's album chart with his debut album, Back to Bedlam, which steers clear of war and warriors until the album closer "No Bravery" about his experiences in Kosovo - written while stationed there in fact. Paste Magazine (recently named Best Independent Magazine of 2005, by the way) prints which lessons Blunt learned while carrying a gun in the army have made him successful at carrying a guitar and creating an army of fans:

1.Don’t get nervous
“People always ask if I get nervous performing, but I don’t find it nerve-wracking at all,” Blunt says. “It’s just singing. No one’s in danger if I forget the words, so what’s to worry about?”

2.Always act like you’re in charge
“When I was in the army, I used to stand up on a platform and convince soldiers I knew what the hell was going on,” he says. “Now, I do that onstage.”

3.Keep your space clean
“For years, I traveled around in a tank with all of my life possessions; now that tank is called a tour bus,” Blunt says with a laugh. “But in either one you have to keep things neat, so I have daily morning inspections. If any band member fails, they give me 50 push-ups.”

4. Think clearly at all times
“People think the army is very regimented, but you actually have a lot of freedom as to how you get a mission done, so you have to be self- motivated,” he says. “In that sense, it’s not that different from being a musician. You have to always keep pushing yourself to reach your goals.”

5. Learn how to escape
“I used to work in reconnaissance, so I got very good at hiding in bushes,” Blunt says. “That can be very useful when dealing with overzealous fans. The Army also teaches you discretion, which comes in handy on the road.”

Go here for all available on-line features from Paste Magazine.

James Blunt


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thoughts on the record?

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Haven't heard enough to say. Yours?

Blogger Paula said...

i'm not a huge fan. initially I liked his first single (I can't even remember what it's called now)!, but after intense radio saturation (and a neighbour who plays it loud and constant), I'm over it. His voice gets quite irritating after a while.

Also, it annoys me when there are clean radio mixes, but the album version is full of expletives!!!

His life story is quite fascinating though.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

im not sure about the record havent got a chance to hear much of it. although i am in love with that guitar of his. mmm. gibson... druel. i saw him sing on SNL the other night and he just kept staring into the camera. kinda creeped me out.



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