Sunday, April 20, 2008

James Blunt Performs on Dancing With the Stars

Born as James Hillier Blount on February 22, 1974 at a military hospital in Tidworth, Wiltshire, England, spent his early childhood living in England, Cyprus, and Germany, where his father, a Colonel in the British Army Air Corps, and military helicopter pilot, has been posted at various times. As the eldest child with two younger siblings, he was born to Jane and Charles Blount. His father has instilled with his son a love of flying in which he earned his pilot's license at age 16. The Blount family has a long history of military service, dating back to the 10th century.

Since the British Army sponsored his university education, it was mandatory for him to provide a minimum of four years of service. He is an officer in a regiment of the British Army. He was commissioned as a subaltern (second lieutenant) in the Life Guards, a unit of the Household Cavalry of the British Army, where he rose to the rank of captain. One of his first assignments was to British Army Training Unit Suffield in Alberta, Canada, where his squadron was posted for six months in 1998 to act as the opposing army in combat training exercises.

It was in 1999, he served as an armoured officer in the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo, initially assigned to reconnaissance of the Macedonia-Kosovo border. Blunt and his unit worked ahead of the front lines directing forces and targeting Serb positions for the NATO bombing campaign. He led the first squadron of troops to enter Priština, and was the first British officer to enter the Kosovar capital. His unit was given the assignment of securing the Priština airport in advance of the 30,000-strong peacekeeping force. It was there where he first met the team of the Médecins Sans Frontières which he now helps to raise funds, being impressed by their work with minimal support and limited security. His military background and questions about his assignments and activities have been raised in almost every interview since he entered public life as a musician.

After leaving the British Army in 2002, he pursued his musical career. It was at about that time that he started using the stage name "Blunt," in part to make it easier for others to spell; "Blount" is pronounced the same way, and remains his legal surname. Shortly, he was signed to EMI music publishers.

He is now popularly known as an English singer-songwriter whose debut album, Back to Bedlam, and single releases — especially the number one hit "You're Beautiful" — brought him to fame in 2005, inspired by Camila Boler, that in 2006, he dedicated this song to her in front of thousands adoring fans. His style is a mix of pop, rock and folk. He is fond of nightclubbing and ‘Superhunk’ isn’t a strong enough description for him. As a Child, he took piano and violin lessons, but his first significant exposure to popular music was at Harrow School. There, he was introduced to the guitar by a fellow student, and started playing guitar and writing songs at age 14.

At Bristol University, his graduate thesis was The Commodification of Image - Production of a Pop Idol; one of his main references for the thesis was Simon Frith, a sociologist and rock critic, and current chair of the Mercury Music Prize. Blunt has spent most of his life studying and living in England, his primary residence is now on the island of Ibiza, Spain, where he wrote many of the songs on his second album.

At the 49th Grammy Awards in February 2007, he performed "You're Beautiful", dedicating the song to the late Ahmet Ertegün of Atlantic Records, but he did not win in any of the five categories for which he had received nominations. So far his albums to date are: Back to Bedlam (2004), Chasing Time:The Bedlam Sessions (2006), and All the Lost Souls (2007).

More about James Blunt and his musical works, please click here.

James Blunt performs Carry You Home on Dancing With The Stars, Tuesday, April 15 at 9PM EST. On the background are Dancing World Champs, Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian.

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