On the surface, the secret to the British pop singer James Blunt’s success isn’t a secret at all. Write one international blockbuster song – in his case the quivering, earnest You’re Beautiful in 2005 – and then reap the benefits. It’s not as simple as that, though. The Twitter-savvy singer-pianist and former army officer, who released his fourth album Moon Landing late in 2013, shares his thoughts on motivation, chummy social-media techniques and the wonders of one hit.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to them
I’m the singer. It’s my name on the ticket. My band doesn’t get paid the amount of money that I do. But I fundamentally know that I’m dependent upon them. Each one is an expert in their field, and I make sure they know their opinion is relevant. Same with the crew, who work harder hours than anyone could imagine. So, as far as motivation, it’s important to let them know that everything they do has an impact on the tour. It was the same way when I was in the army. The 17-year-old soldier, if he has an honest idea or opinion, needs to have the confidence to say his piece. You give people responsibility, and they’ll probably behave responsibly.
Love the haters
I’m only polite with people I don’t know. People you know and love, you can be rude to. The more I get to know you, it’s more likely we’re going to take the mickey out of each other. So, the people I see making rude comments toward me on Twitter, I assume it must be out of love. So I engage them as if we’re old friends and I take the piss out of them. What often happens then is some of my half-million Twitter followers will circle around the person who had tweeted something rude about me and start sending that person offensive messages. But what I’ll do is follow that person on Twitter myself. They see that and normally they’ll follow me back. And then I write to that person and tell them that it’s all in good humour and that I hope they’re smiling too. I say to them, ‘If you have an issue with anyone, tell them that you and I are mates.’
Just one claim to fame? Own it
You’re Beautiful is my defining song. It always will be. There won’t be another like it for me, and I’m not too stressed about it either. People who don’t have any hits like to write me off as a one-hit wonder, but I’m the first one to admit it. And do you know what? Honestly, one will do. You’re Beautiful is the cornerstone of my career, and without it I wouldn’t be here. When I release my greatest hits album, it’s not going to be called Greatest Hits. I’m going to call it Greatest Hit instead. And that’s a promise.