James Blunt would not care what you say about him on the web. And this is not the kind of performative, too-cool-for-school aloofness that some celebrities domesticate. He actually, really would not care.
Once you put out music, some individuals do not prefer it,” he says, “however I am very fortunate that thousands and thousands do. So why would I give attention to a few individuals staying dwelling and writing nasty issues, once I can take pleasure in all of the individuals shopping for the albums and coming to the live shows?”
It is a wholesome angle, notably since Blunt has had his share of on-line haters since attaining stardom with hit 2005 single, You are Lovely. A ballad about misplaced love, the track was a sufferer of its personal success, and obtained a lot airtime that dunking on Blunt grew to become, in some circles, modern.
He admits he was initially shocked by the abuse, however from confusion greater than affront. “It shocked me that individuals may very well be so distressed by one thing they do not like,” he says, “that they’d go browsing and write about it so aggressively. However when you recover from that, it is simply pretty amusing.”
Twitter gave him the ability to chunk again, and he is spent the final decade turning the social media put-down into an artwork type. He is amassed two million followers within the course of, and his new ebook, How To Be A Full And Utter Blunt, is an end-of-year type annual documenting his rapier-like posts.
To the tweet ‘does James Blunt nonetheless exist?’ he replied ‘solely in locations you may’t get into.’ To the tweet that he had ‘an annoying face’, he replied ‘and no mortgage’. You get the image, which is simply as properly, as a result of many of the others are unprintable.
His victims principally see the humorous aspect, however the identical couldn’t initially be stated for his advertising group. “After I began posting,” he recollects, “the title James Blunt was already taken, so I known as myself ‘soiled little blunt’ as an alternative. Once they noticed it the label known as up and stated ‘please do not do this’, and I stated ‘sorry, the genie is out of the bottle, that is me being myself’.”
The episode marks one in all Blunt’s central contrasts - he is a soulful musician writing earnest, emotive lyrics, and a web-based provocateur whose swear jar might purchase a small home. “There’s lots of comedians which might be truly depressives in actual life,” he says, “and perhaps in the identical manner I write these over-earnest songs, and being a little bit of an fool is my counter-balance. I put feelings into music, however that is not who I’m on an on a regular basis foundation.”
His humour depends closely on ribbing – and bears the hallmarks of the banter he skilled at boarding college and within the military. “I feel individuals would possibly say we’re emotionally stunted,” he says, “and slightly than over-emoting, we take the p*** out of one another and use darkish humour.”
The irony is he would not use Twitter all that a lot. He logs on just a few occasions a month, checks his mentions, writes one thing suitably scalding after which logs off. He is amassed 1,235 tweets in whole; for context, Piers Morgan has notched practically 140,000, and joined greater than a 12 months later.
He solely follows 90 accounts himself, most of them information channels, and solely three on Instagram. “I observe my pub, the Fox & Pheasant, and I observe Victoria’s Secret fashions. My spouse (Sofia Wellesley) advised me to. She stated ‘should you’re solely going to observe one, simply observe them’.”
Blunt by title and nature, his candour has made him a chat present host’s dream. He’s additionally charmingly unpretentious about his success. “I sing trustworthy songs about my very own inadequacies,” he says – and he did not count on stardom on-line or on stage.
You are Lovely was his breakout, however it wasn’t an in a single day fairy story. “I might been attempting to get into music since I used to be 14,” he says, “and I hit huge once I was 28. You create luck and you may’t simply be in the fitting place on the proper time, it’s a must to be in every single place on a regular basis.”
His relentless touring schedule assures that he normally is, and he is an everyday presence within the media. Some tales have been fairly surreal (“Perhaps I am going to say one thing foolish as a joke, they usually take it manner too significantly,” he displays).
However there are sufficient true tales about Blunt to maintain us entertained. He as soon as dived from a stage in Chicago, and acquired pinned by a bouncer who refused to imagine he was the singer. He did certainly promote all his belongings on eBay earlier than embarking on his first world tour. And he actually was a ceremonial bodyguard for the Queen throughout his six-year stint within the military.
In any other case, private particulars on Blunt might be scant, and his social media savagery is an efficient veil for a closely-guarded personal life. He has Instagram, however is ‘dangerous at it’ (“I do not wish to put up photos of my life”), and takes nice care to maintain his dwelling and household out of the highlight. “I am going to divert and keep away from any questions on my household,” he says, “as a lot as I presumably can.”
The pandemic proved a double blow for Blunt, whose secondary occupation is proudly owning The Fox & Pheasant pub in London. “I undoubtedly cocked up in my selections,” he says. “After I was planning my life I did not consider international pandemics.”
His 2020 world tour solely made it so far as Germany, however he has continued releasing music, notably new single The Biggest, with UK income going to the NHS. “I made the video with my mate holding up a digicam cellphone,” he recollects, “and his girlfriend utilizing tin foil to replicate the sunshine.”
Twitter is fortunately Covid-immune, however now his put-downs are so widespread that he is beginning to run out of haters, and people who do stick their heads above the parapet achieve this with the understanding, ‘do me subsequent’ glee of a heckler at a comedy gig.
However so long as there are keyboard warriors to be battled, Blunt will hold combating the nice battle, one brutal barb at a time. “I chortle at myself and at them. And I do typically DM individuals afterwards to say ‘hey mate, I hope you may chortle at it with me’, as a result of I do know they could get a backlash themselves and I do not wish to be a part of that destructive cycle.”
How To Be A Full and Utter Blunt: Diary of a Reluctant Social Media Sensation by James Blunt is printed by Little Brown, £12.99