You have such a unique sound! How do you manage that?
I sing like a girl. I blame my parents.
How did you get started?
Belief is everything and naivety helps! I wrote songs and I told people I was going to become a professional musician.
You’ve opened for some incredible performers when you were getting started—who was your favourite?
I’ve loved touring with Elton John. It was a huge honour to do so. He is an incredible musician and hugely generous human being.
You’re the first Brit since Elton to top the billboard charts in the US—what’s that like?
It means it was too long!
Speaking of famous-people-you-have-met: you recorded bits of your first album in Carrie Fisher’s bathroom. We’re not sure what part of that we’re most intrigued by. What’s Carrie Fisher like? And what’s her bathroom like?
She’s clinically insane. Her bathroom is like a Mexican bordello and it happened because we were short of cash.
So, when you’re not lurking in bathrooms, what do you listen to? What’s your guilty pleasure track?
You know, I’m afraid to say. We have an after party iPod, and it’s music from Ibiza where I live, it’s dance music. The funny thing is I don’t think anything should be a guilty pleasure. If it’s music you enjoy why feel you should be ashamed of it? But I’ve got a whole list from 70s singers/songwriters, Elton John to Cat Stevens, bands like Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, those kinds of styles of music.
People have such an intense connection to some of your songs.
I think it’s amazing! I think you put your heart and soul into songs, and that’s the only reason for doing it. It’s not about posturing or posing, it’s about emotion. But to convey emotion and to put it out there and for other people to in any way connect is really touching. And being as I’m not too weird, maybe humans have the same kinds of emotions along the way.
Still, one of our friends claims you’ve soundtracked all her breakups since 2005.
Yeah, I’ve been stalking her for a number of months now. So I’m glad she’s twigged to that.
Are you more popular at home or abroad do you think?
The British traditionally eat their own. Look at our football team. The audience responds in different ways depending on the day of the week and the city that you’re in. And you know I come from England and London is one of the most reserved audiences in the world. [When we were] in Brazil, they’re the least controlled, the most amazing audience to play to. What the Doha audience will be like I have no idea, so I’m really looking forward to coming and meeting the crowd!
So what’s your favourite place to perform?
I think Beirut is very special. It’s an amazing mixture of religions and cultures and a fantastic location. People seem to really have a passion for life there, and I feel the same about Rio.
Some of your tracks have been massive hits, everywhere. What about ‘You’re Beautiful’? How did that one happen?
I saw someone on the underground. We didn’t speak, but I wished we had. Except if we had, I wouldn’t have written the song.
It got tons of airplay: be honest, do you still like this song or do you groan when you hear it or are asked to play it?
I groan at being asked that question by every journalist. Everyone in my concert wants me to play it. Don’t be so negative!
Wait, we’re still going to request it at your Doha concert! What else can we expect from the show?
I’m bringing my full band, it’s a six piece band. I think people expect one man and his acoustic guitar. There’s a whole lot more energy. Then I’m going to chuck in music from all three of my albums! I think you’ll all be surprised by it. It’s a very very different show from what people expect. It’s going to be get up and dance.
So, after your concert in the sand, what’s next?
I’ve been on tour for over a year now. I’m going to go home and do my washing next.
ALIVE entertainment and Global DJs present James Blunt live in concert at the InterContinental Beach on Feb 14. Show starts at 9pm, doors open at 7pm. Tickets are QR250 or QR500 for VIP Fan Pit, available at the InterContinental Hotel lobby, Virgin Megastore, and www.virginmegastore.me. Strictly 21 plus. Call 4484 4444 for more information.
Just The Facts
What: James Blunt
When: Feb 14
Where: Intercontinental Beach
Tickets: QR250 or QR500, Available at Virgin Megastore, www.virginmegastore.me, and InterContinental Hotel lobby