James Blunt blasts off
The captain poet launches his 2014 new album is about ‘dreams, longing, first love’. tour, saying the Zhang Kun reports.
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 email@example.com.