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James Blunt BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park interview

The singer-songwriter talks touring with Ed Sheeran, making fun of himself and more.

James Blunt
Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

James Blunt was among the line-up at yesterday’s excellent BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park.

The singer-songwriter is always a great person to interview as he delivers biting answers to questions, is frequently hilarious and loves to make fun of himself.

Before his performance, Blunt sat down with a group of journalists for a quick round table where he discussed touring with Ed Sheeran, his hilarious album marketing campaign and his attitude towards his online critics.

How are preparations for your tour going?

I am preparing for it right now. I’m on tour in America as Ed Sheeran’s bitch. I’ll be opening up for him each night and I’m playing for 40 minutes. We’re on a three and a half month American tour. We have great fun and for me it’s an absolute blast to be on that tour.

The Afterlove marks a change in direction musically for you. What was the decision behind that?

We’ve had a great run with the last four albums. I suppose those albums were very much connected and they do sound related to each other. I’m really proud of them. My producer did say I could consider leaving it at that so I thought OK I need to make something more diverse and exciting.

Was it a difficult change for you to make?

I don’t think so. When I write songs I spend most my time on my in a nightclub having great fun and not writing songs. Then when I get home, I have a guitar and I’m on my own on my own and I’m slightly sad so I write a miserable song. What I did, rather than locking myself in a studio and writing those kind of songs, I was more spontaneous for the writing.

Has your infamous Twitter presence changed that way that people are when they see you in the street?

People have always been nice to me in the streets. At the end of the day (the negative people)… who are those people? They’re aren’t the ones coming to shows. We do focus on negatives and it’s so easy to. I have a huge hit and people say it’s something negative but it’s not, it’s thousands and thousands of people who turn up every night to hear that song.

I think it’s worth remembering that 5, 10, or 20 thousand people come to my concert. For me to focus on one or two people who write negative things online makes me an idiot.

With the marketing campaign for The Afterlove you embraced the negativity of your detractors and turned it into something very funny. Why did you decide to approach this album in that way?

Because there’s nothing worse than watching an advert for your own album where it says ‘he’s back’ and all I can think is ‘oh fuck’ (laughs).

You went as far as to film an advert with a James Blunt support group. How much fun was it for you to poke fun at yourself like that?

I’m really glad the record label let me do this because that’s much more the person who I am.

James Blunt’s album The Afterlove is available now. James performed as part of BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park on Sunday 10th September 2017.

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