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James Blunt interviewed: I intend to enjoy every moment of the ride, if I can sustain this as a job then life is good

Interview: Jack Foley

JAMES Blunt has certainly had a rich and varied life - so it is little wonder that he has put his experiences to good use by becoming a songwriter and musician.

A former soldier, his Army career saw him stationed in Kosovo as part of NATO’s peacekeeping force, before he then spent time protecting the Queen on horseback and the Queen Mother, while she lay in state.

Yet he always had his eye on a career in the music industry and, a week after leaving the Army, James had secured himself a manager.

Three weeks later, a publishing deal was inked and he soon began courting the attention of Linda Perry.

Here he chats with IndieLondon about the story so far - giving a brief, but frank and funny insight into his hopes for the future and thoughts so far...

Q. From soldier to singer seems quite a transition. Can you quite believe it? Does it still seem like a dream come true and are there pinch-me moments?
I've been very fortunate, it's taken thick skin, luck and a good manager.

Q. When did you first know that you wanted to become a singer-songwriter?
At school I saw a boy in the year above playing the electric guitar. It wasn't him it was the guitar!!

Q. Who are/were your musical inspirations?
My Mother, she made me learn the piano aged seven.

Q. Why the military? And how long did you spend in Kosovo as part of the Nato Peace-Keeping Force? What sort of work did you carry out?
Daddy. Six months. We stopped people killing each other.

Q. What sort of skills do you think you acquired from your military career that might stand you in good stead for a career in the music industry?
In the Army, I hid in bushes. It wasn't very useful. I'm not nervous on stage; perhaps the Army helped with this.

Q. What’s harder to accept – a tough drill sergeant, or the corporate game-playing of record companies?
There's no arguing with a drill sergeant!

Q. How much has your military influence and the things you’ve seen/helped with served as an inspiration for your songwriting?
Cry and obviously No Bravery are influenced by those experiences but otherwise I try not to bring the army into it.

Q. The album, Back To Bedlam, is an intensely personal listen, driven by quality songwriting and heartfelt sentiments about love and life. How long did it take to write?
The bulk of it was written in the two years leading up to going into the studio.

Q. What are your favourite tracks? And why?
Goodbye my Lover, because it's miserable. So Long Jimmy, because it's fun!

Q. What did you think when first approached by Linda Perry, and then, similarly, by Atlantic Records?

Q. And what did you take away/learn from working with someone as established as Tom Rothrock?
To believe in the process and experience of others; he took my most valuable possesions and made them into a album.

Q. What do you think of the critical and commercial reaction to the album so far, both here and in America?
People have been incredibly positive (thank god) but most importantly I like the album. It's just good to have made something that I am happy with.

Q. And what are your plans for 2005, having burst onto the scene so spectacularly in 2004?
You're too kind.. I intend to enjoy every moment of the ride, if I can sustain this as a job then life is good.

Q. And finally, given your background, what are your views on the war on Iraq? And do you agree with what a lot of artists have united to say about it?
If the local people of Iraq don't want you there, you shouldn't be there...

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