James Blunt blasts off

The cap­tain poet launches his 2014 new al­bum is about ‘dreams, long­ing, first love’. tour, say­ing the Zhang Kun re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SUNDAY KALEIDOSCOPE -

You’re Beau­ti­ful hit­maker James Blunt will be the first Western star to tour China in 2014. The Moon Land­ing tour will take the English singer­song­writer to Shang­hai, Bei­jing, Guang­dong prov­ince’s Shen­zhen, Sichuan prov­ince’s Chengdu, and then Hong Kong.

This will be Blunt’s third time per­form­ing in China. The for­mer Bri­tish army cap­tain is of­ten called “the cap­tain poet” in Chi­nese me­dia.

Blunt rose to world­wide fame in 2005, with hit sin­gles You’re Beau­ti­ful and Good­bye My Lover. His de­but al­bum Back to Bed­lam won him five Grammy award nom­i­na­tions.

His first China tour took place in 2008 in Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

“That was in a small the­ater,” Blunt tells China Daily in an e- mail mes­sage. Shang­hai’s Yun­feng The­ater has a ca­pac­ity of no more than 800 peo­ple. But on his 2011 China tour, his sec­ond per­for­mance in Shang­hai hap­pened in the city’s largest in­door sta­dium, the Mercedes-Benz Arena, which hosts 18,000 peo­ple.

“I’m thrilled to be back,” he says.

Moon Land­ing is his fourth stu­dio al­bum and came out in Oct, 2013. “Pos­si­bly my last. Def­i­nitely my best,” Blunt says on his Face­book. The mu­sic video of the first sin­gle from it, Bon­fire Heart, has been played more than 450,000 times on Yinyuetai.com, a ma­jor mu­sic video site in China.

“There’s just some­thing ro­man­tic, old-school and lonely about the moon land­ings,” he ex­plains about the ti­tle. “A nos­tal­gic mem­ory of some­thing huge that we can hardly be­lieve we once achieved, and for some sad rea­son, can’t achieve again - like first love.”

Blunt says the new al­bum is about “dreams, long­ing, first love”.

“My writ­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence are in­sep­a­ra­bly in­ter­twined. Few peo­ple can copy it. I write songs about life. I don’t want to spend too much time to ex­plain the story of ev­ery song, I just hope to make some­one ex­pe­ri­ence the trau­matic emo­tions of the event it­self,” he says.

“It’s ac­tu­ally been 10 years since I recorded Back To Bed­lam. try and not think of an au­di­ence, not to sec­ond guess … but in­stead sing a song as it comes from the heart,” he says.

“I wanted to just get back and ex­press my­self and find where I was at re­ally. It would have been a dif­fer­ent jour­ney, and this is an al­bum re­ally I would have recorded … so yeah, if some­one says my songs seem to be full of emo­tions, that’s the great­est com­pli­ment I could ever re­ceive.”

The pro­moter of his Hong Kong gig, Mi­das Pro­mo­tions, says of Blunt’s mu­sic: “His reper­toire is a mix of acous­tictinged pop, rock and folk.”

The 39- year- old was born into a mil­i­tary fam­ily and served in the army for six years, in Canada, Kosovo and then Lon­don. He brought along his gui­tar dur­ing his Kosovo as­sign­ment in 1999, strap­ping it to the out­side of his tank, and oc­ca­sion­ally per­form­ing at get­to­geth­ers of peace­keep­ers and lo­cals.

Blunt’s band lineup is: Paul Beard on key­boards, Ben Cas­tle on gui­tar, Mal­colm Moore and John Gar­ri­son on bass, and Karl Brazil on drums.

His Chi­nese main­land pro­moter, Live Planet Group, says they have great con­fi­dence in Blunt’s per­for­mances in China.

“His mu­sic style is pop­u­lar with Chi­nese fans. He has con­tin­u­ously pre­sented good work in the past, too,” Live Planet’s Shang­hai op­er­a­tion di­rec­tor Guo Feng says.

“We have worked with James since his de­but show in Shang­hai in 2008. We be­lieve he will grow even more pop­u­lar in China. The year 2013 wit­nessed an un­prece­dented num­ber of Western acts in Shang­hai, with a ma­jor star tour­ing ev­ery month. Now it seems most of the shows had quite good box of­fice.”

Live Planet has kept a close eye on the tour plan­ning of in­ter­na­tional per­form­ers, seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring more acts to Shang­hai in 2014.

“As fewer Chi­nese pop stars are show­ing fur­ther po­ten­tial for the live per­for­mance mar­ket, I be­lieve more pop stars from Europe and Amer­ica will come to the huge mar­ket of the Chi­nese main­land,” Guo says. Con­tact the writer at zhangkun@chi­nadaily.com.cn.

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