James Blunt: 'I’m always ready for the enemy to come over the hill'

The singer, 43, on what the army taught him, why he never takes no for an answer, and how he taught Ed Sheeran to ski

I announced my new album with the tweet: “If you thought 2016 was bad – I’m releasing an album in 2017.”

It’s hugely touching that people play You’re Beautiful at their weddings. But if you listen to the lyrics, it’s about a guy who’s high as a kite on drugs stalking someone’s girlfriend on the Tube. It’s not romantic, it’s twisted.

I will never be too old for Ibiza. My God. No, never. My home is there, and if I go out on the town, then I just start earlier so I can finish earlier. You can be whatever you want out there.

I’m self-deprecating because I’m British and that’s what we’re supposed to be. I’m sure if I was American, I’d tell you how great I was.

My early memories are traumatic, though set in lovely Cyprus. I jumped into a pool, only realising mid-air I had clothes on. I rode over a snake on my trike and undid the handbrake of our 2CV so it rolled towards a minefield.

I’ve always been independent. My father was in the army so we moved every two years. I had to go round and bang on the neighbour’s door each time to find out if they had kids I could play with.

Carrie Fisher was the most remarkable person I’ve ever known. I made my first three albums in her house. Goodbye My Lover was recorded in her bathroom. My life will not be nearly as much fun now she’s gone.

I’m always ready for the enemy to come over the hill. I’m packed and set to go. That comes from my time in the army. I used to travel in a tank, but now it’s a tour bus going to safer places.

I don’t enjoy the word no. I think that’s an army thing, too. I surround myself with optimists and we find ways to make things happen.

I can’t cook, but I can phone for pizza. Onion, pepperoni and sweetcorn, and two cans of coke so it doesn’t look like I’m on my own.

I took Ed Sheeran skiing. I taught him to ski by day and then at night he taught me how to write songs. I’ve got 30 years experience of skiing, but as a song writer I’d put my money on him.

They’ve named a ski lift after me in Verbier. I had to cut a ribbon, smash a bottle of champagne and say, “I name this ski lift James Blunt. God bless all who ride on me.” Next year I’m installing a sound system that will only play my music to keep the queues down.

I’m always on time. Being the most punctual man in rock’n’roll isn’t great.

I wouldn’t want to be remembered after I’m gone. I’d rather be forgotten. My ego isn’t big enough to want a legacy.

I’m only a musician and I’m only on stage because I’m not very tall and it helps people see me. I respect doctors and nurses more than someone who’s written a few tunes and made a load of money off the back of it.

I have a blast. I’ve got a night club in my basement with a neon sign: “Blunty’s nightclub where everybody is beautiful.” If you drink enough, they are.

James Blunt’s new album The Afterlove is out now


Alice Fisher

The GuardianTramp

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