James Blunt (born James Hillier Blount, 22 February 1974), is an English singer-songwriter whose debut album, Back to Bedlam, and single releases, especially "You're Beautiful", brought him to fame in 2005. Blunt was born at an army hospital in Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, the first child born to Jane and Charles Blount. Blunt spent his early childhood living in England, Cyprus, and Germany, where his father, a Colonel in the British Army Air Corps, and military helicopter pilot, was posted at various times. He has two younger siblings. His father instilled in his son a love of flying, and Blunt earned his pilot's licence at age 16. The Blount family has a long history of military service, dating from the 10th century. At age seven, Blunt was enrolled at Elstree School, Woolhampton, before continuing to Harrow School (Elmfield House) on an army bursary. From Harrow School he gained an army-sponsored place at the University of Bristol, where he first studied Aerospace Manufacturing Engineering and then subsequently read Sociology. He graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Sociology in 1996.
Blunt recorded Back to Bedlam in 2003 with producer Tom Rothrock at Rothrock's home studio, using session musicians and performing on many different instruments himself. While in Los Angeles, he lodged with actress Carrie Fisher, whom he had met through the family of a former girlfriend. Fisher was very supportive of Blunt's aspirations, suggesting the name of the album and providing use of a bathroom in her home for Blunt to record the song "Goodbye My Lover". Back to Bedlam was finally released in the UK in October 2004.
James Blunt's debut single in the UK was "High" (co-written with Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue). This song peaked below the Top 100 of the UK Singles Chart. However, the song was chosen to appear in a Vodafone commercial in Italy, and was a Top 10 hit in that country. Concert support slots for Elton John and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions in late 2004 and early 2005 followed, as did a band residency at London club 93 Feet East. In March 2005, his second single, "Wisemen," was released.
Blunt's third single "You're Beautiful" was his breakout hit. The song debuted at number 12 in the UK, and rose all the way to the number one position six weeks after its debut. The song also received massive airplay in the UK, which helped propel Back to Bedlam to number one on the UK Albums Chart. The extensive airplay ultimately led to Blunt and his co-writers being awarded the Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work. After the success of "You're Beautiful" in the UK, the song crossed over to mainland Europe, becoming one of the biggest hits of summer 2005 across the continent. In the U.S., "You're Beautiful" made its debut in the summer of 2005 on WPLJ, a prominent radio station in New York City, despite not having been released to radio yet. Once the song was released to radio stations in the fall of 2005, the song climbed into the Top 10 at three radio formats: Adult Contemporary, Adult Top 40, and Adult Alternative. Blunt became the first British artist to top the American singles chart in nearly a decade when his song "You're Beautiful" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006; the last British artist to do so had been Elton John in 1997 with the song "Candle in the Wind 1997". "Goodbye My Lover" was released as the fourth UK single from the album in December 2005, and was later the second US single. The songs "High" and "Wisemen" were subsequently re-released in 2006. Blunt started off 2006 celebrating five BRIT Award nominations, going on to win Best British male solo artist and Best pop act categories, having already started an 11-month tour that would take him around the world.
Blunt's second studio album, All the Lost Souls, was released on 17 September 2007 in the United Kingdom and one day later in North America. It sold 65,000 units in its first week, and was certified gold in the UK after only four days. By the end of January 2008, the album had sold 600,000 copies in the UK, and 3.5 million copies internationally. Blunt completed the album's songs at his home in Ibiza in the winter of 2006–2007. He performed five of the ten album tracks during his 2005–2006 tours; lyrics, melodies, and harmonies were refined for the studio recording, on which his touring band played and Tom Rothrock worked as producer.
The first single from All the Lost Souls, "1973", was inspired by Blunt's nights out at Pacha, anIbiza club, which opened in that year. The song became another hit for Blunt reaching number one the Billboard European Hot 100 Singles chart. D.J. Pete Tong remixed "1973" and played the track during his set at Pacha over the summer of 2007.
The second single, "Same Mistake", was released in early December 2007 but did not fare well in the UK charts, peaking at number 57. It was Number 1 in Brazil and a hit in many South American countries. His repertoire is a mix of pop, rock and acoustic-tinged folk. Recording for Linda Perry's independent American label Custard Records, Blunt won two BRIT Awards and two Ivor Novello Awards, and was nominated for five Grammy Awards in 2006. He released his second album All The Lost Souls, in 2007.
The third single from the album was "Carry You Home", released in March 2008, peaking at number 20 in the U.K charts and bringing the album back into the Top 10, six months after its release.
In the end of 2007, Blunt worked with French rapper Sinik. They released "Je Réalise", which took elements of Blunt's song "I'll Take Everything", in France the same year and became a top 3 hit.
On November 24, 2008, James Blunt re-released his newest album All The Lost Souls in the United Kingdom as a deluxe edition, with new album artwork and the new single "Love, Love, Love" and the documentary "Return To Kosovo". It was released November 17 elsewhere, but there is not a release date for the U.S. version yet. The single EP for "Love, Love, Love" was released on US iTunes on November 18th.
Blunt has raised funds for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, through benefit concerts and by auctioning meet and greet opportunities at his own shows. He first encountered MSF medical care workers during his tour of duty in Kosovo, and was impressed with their work despite minimal support and limited security.
He also supports environmental causes, screening the trailer for An Inconvenient Truth at his concerts, and planting a tree for each advance sales concert ticket purchased through his designated website. On 7 July 2007, Blunt performed at the Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium, London, and is the owner of one of two prototype electric cars made by Hybrid Technologies under a Space Act partnership with NASA. Blunt, a former soldier, is also a patron of Help for Heroes, a charity aiming to raise money to provide better facilities to wounded British servicemen, and has also held benefit concerts for this charity. [wikipedia]