Birth name James Hillier Blount
Born 22 February 1974 (age 41)
Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Genres Pop rock, soft rock, folk rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer being writer
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, keyboards, violin, percussion, mellotron, organ
Years active 2003–present
Labels Warner Bros., Atlantic, Custard, RCA, Epic, Provident Label Group, Sony
Website Official website
James Hillier Blount (born 22 February 1974), better known by his stage name James Blunt, is an English singer-songwriter. He had signed with EMI before securing a recording contract with Atlantic Records and Custard Records.
Blunt rose to prominence in 2004 with the release of his debut studio album Back to Bedlam, before achieving worldwide fame with the singles “You’re Beautiful” and “Goodbye My Lover”. The album sold over 11 million copies worldwide, topping the UK Albums Chart and peaking at number two in the US. Blunt’s second album, All the Lost Souls, which was released in 2007, topped the charts in over 20 countries and produced the hit single “1973”. His third album, Some Kind of Trouble, was released in 2010, after its lead single Stay the Night. A deluxe edition was released the following year, titled Some Kind of Trouble: Revisited. In 2013, he released his fourth album, Moon Landing, which was preceded by the lead single “Bonfire Heart”, which peaked at number four in the UK Singles Chart following promotion on The One Show and The Graham Norton Show, as well as receiving extensive radio airplay.
Blunt has sold over 20 million albums and 17 million singles worldwide, with his debut album, Back to Bedlam, being listed as the best selling album of the 2000s in the UK. He has received several awards and nominations, having won two Brit Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, two Ivor Novello Awards as well as receiving five Grammy Award nominations.
Blunt was an officer in the Life Guards, a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and served under NATO in Kosovo during the conflict in 1999. While posted to Kosovo, Blunt was introduced to the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or “Doctors Without Borders”). Since then, Blunt has been an active supporter of MSF by holding meet-and-greet auctions at many of his concerts, and filming the documentary Return to Kosovo, in which he visited the people and places he had encountered while stationed there. Blunt is a patron of Help for Heroes, a charity aiming to raise money to provide better facilities for wounded British soldiers.
Blunt was born at an army hospital in Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, as the first of three children born to Jane A.F. (née Amos) and Charles Blount. James spent his early childhood living Cley next the Sea and Strensall, England, Cyprus and Germany. Blunt’s grandparents lived in Cley; his father, a colonel in the British Army Air Corps and military helicopter pilot, was posted at various times in the other locations. The Blunt family has a long history of military service, supposedly dating from the 10th century. His father inculcated in him a love of flying, and he earned his pilot’s licence at age 16. He has a keen interest in motorcycles after learning to ride when he was 16.
Blunt was enrolled at Elstree School in Woolhampton in Berkshire, before continuing to Harrow School in Harrow on the Hill in north-west London (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 moved on to the study of sociology. He graduated with a BSc in sociology in 1996.
Blunt says that he has become closer to his family since his musical success. His father manages his finances and his mother arranged the purchase of his principal residence in Ibiza, where Blunt has holidayed since he was a teenager. Blunt also owns a chalet in the Swiss town of Verbier, which he purchased in February 2007, and he was named “godfather” of one of the town’s new ski lifts.
On 8 February 2012, Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing a number of victims of the News International phone hacking affair, informed the High Court that Blunt was one of six alleged victims who had filed for damages in new civil cases.
In September 2014, Blunt married (Alexandrina) Sofia Wellesley, daughter of Lord and Lady John Wellesley, and grand-daughter of the 8th Duke of Wellington.
On 9 October 2015, he confirmed the couple are expecting their first child.
Charitable and environmental causes
Blunt has raised funds for the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières through benefit concerts and by auctioning opportunities to meet him at his own shows. He first encountered MSF medical care workers during his tour of duty in Kosovo, and was impressed with the work they did under conditions of minimal support and limited security.
Blunt has also supported environmental causes. He screened the trailer for An Inconvenient Truth at his concerts, and for each advance sales concert ticket purchased through his designated website a tree is planted. On 7 July 2007, Blunt performed at the Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium, London.
Blunt is a patron of Help for Heroes, a charity that raises money to provide better facilities for wounded British servicemen, and has also held benefit concerts for this charity.
Blunt also contributed, with his vocals, to the charity single, “Everybody Hurts” in aid of the 2010 Haiti earthquake appeal.