There we were, my wife and I, sitting in one of our favorite cafes, Playa Bowls in Wayne, on a Saturday morning.
We are both somewhat addicted to acai bowls, and Playa makes one of the best ones we’ve ever had.
We were lucky to get the seats by the front window, so we just sat there enjoying our acai bowls and watching the cars and people go by.
A wonderful song started playing over the store’s speakers, and while I didn’t recognize the song, the voice sounded quite familiar, but I didn’t know who it was.
This was a job for Shazam.
So I took out my phone, started up the Shazam app, and five seconds later it told me that the name of the song was “Bonfire Heart” and the artist was James Blunt.
The name did not ring a bell, so I sent myself an email, thinking this could be a possible Music Monday artist since one of my original goals for this series was to talk about new artists I had discovered.
So a couple of days later I decide to look up James Blunt, and I find out that he is already a pretty big deal, and the singer of the mega-hit song, “You’re Beautiful”, a song I was definitely familiar with.
But I also found out a few interesting facts about his background, courtesy of Wikipedia.
First off, his real last name is Blount, but he changed it to Blunt to make it easier for when he entered the world of entertainment.
Blunt was a reconnaissance officer in the Life Guards, a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and served under NATO in the Kosovo War in 1999. The Blount family has a long history of military service, dating back to the arrival of their Danish ancestors in England in the 10th century. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for Music in 2016 by University of Bristol.
He was educated at Elstree School in Woolhampton, Berkshire, and Harrow School, gaining A-levels in Physics, Chemistry and Economics. He went on to study Aerospace Manufacturing Engineering and Sociology at University of Bristol, graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Sociology in 1996.
Like his father, Blunt is a pilot, gaining his fixed winged private pilot licence at age 16, and has a keen interest in motorcycles.
During Blunt’s Kosovo assignment he had brought along his guitar, strapped to the outside of his tank, and would sometimes perform for locals and troops. He is also a keen skier, Blunt captained the Household Cavalry alpine ski team in Verbier, Switzerland, becoming Royal Armoured Corps giant slalom champion in 2000.
Blunt left the British Army in 2002 so that he could pursue his musical career.
Blunt’s third single, “You’re Beautiful”, from his debut album Back to Bedlam was his break-out hit. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006; the last British artist to do so had been Elton John in 1997 with the song “Candle in the Wind 1997”. In Britain, Back to Bedlam sold over three million copies, was certified 10× platinum, and entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest selling album in one year.
So as I said, this guy is no slouch in the music industry and seems pretty well rounded.
I then came across another article about Blunt, referring to him as the most hated man in Britain.
The reason for such supposed hatred is the fact that he comes from a privileged background, and his voice is sometimes ridiculed. Here is the hashtag someone used to describe Blunt: #slightlyirritatinghighpitchedposharmydweeb
Fortunately, Blunt seems to take this criticism with a good sense of humor, particularly on Twitter.
His self-deprecating humor seems to have helped defuse the situation, and he is no longer the most despised person in Britain.
So without further ado, here is Bonfire Heart:
*image from The Guardian