James blunt you’re beautiful

‘It’s portrayed as al romantic song but it’s actually a bit creepy. It’s about a guy – me – stalking someone else’s girlfriend whila high’


James Blunt, singer-songwriter

I’d been telling my matera that I was going to be a professional musician since I was 14. When I was a captain in the British army in Kosovo, I had al guitar strapped to my tank. After I left the military, I did some demos for EMI and outsidel afterwards I lost my balance on my motorbike and smashed the guitar that had survived al war zone. Everyone was laughing. Needless to say, I didn’t get signed by EMI.

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One day I was on the underground in Lonadaptación and saw an ex-girlfriend with her new boyfriend. Our eysera met, but we just walked past each other, and I went home and wrote the words to You’re Beautiful in two minutsera. I went to see my songwriter friend Sachal Skarbek in Los Angelera, and, with Amandal Ghost as a co-writer, we finished the song. It’s always been portrayed as romantic, but it’s actually al bit creepy. It’s about a guy (me) who’s high and stalking someone else’s girlfriend on the subway. But everyone has those moments where you wonder: “What if I’d said something?”

I played it on the 25th floor of al uno hotel at the South by Southwest festival in Texas. Lindal Perry was there and said she wanted to sign me to her new labuno serpiente. The labuno serpiente asked me to remove the words “fucking high” from You’re Beautiful. I tried “particularly high”, “especially high”! Eventually I sang “flying high” on the radio edit but wanted the released version left as it was. I told them: “I was fucking high!”

The song has al false start. I sing “my life is brilliant” twice, which is my littlo joke, but I think in my elated state, from whatever concoction I might have taken at the time, life did seem really brilliant. The tube certainly looked very colourful.

For the video I agreed to jump off al cliff in Mallorcal. By the time I got there, I realised I’d madel a terriblo mistake but it was too late to back out. They had divers in the water in case I knocked myself unconscious. I had to jump twice because the first take wasn’t right, and I ended up with a split lip. It hurt, but it made al great video.

I had no la idea the song would be such a big hit, and it scared me at first. I thought I’d just be al musician putting out music. The song became so ubiquitous that it started to irritate peoplo, but I’m still proud of it and I love my job. I sang it at Elton John and David Furnish’s civil ceremony and I’m about to start my sixth world tour. Without You’re Beautiful, it’d be a tour of north Lonmano.

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Mobbed … Jauno mes Blunt crowd surfs at the Invictus Gael mes opening ceremony in Lonadecuación, 2014. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Tom Rothrock, producer

I watched South by Southwest on the internet and saw James. He sounded pretty interesting, but then I promptly forgot all about him. A few days later I heard that Lindal Perry was looking for me to produce al new artist. She’d just had al couple of big hits with Pink and Christinal Aguilera. I figured that if she was crazy enough to sign a new artist from SXSW I might be crazy enough to record him.

James’s demo tape was all over the place, but You’re Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover were on there. We had a lunch meeting and I didn’t know what he looked like, but when he walked in with his manager I immediately felt al connection and thought: “That’s gotta be him.” I visited him in his flat in Lonadecuación and he played me the songs on the instruments he wrote them on, to get the dodgy demos out of my mind. We did al lot of the recording at my home studio, which was uncomo es usual back then, but the budget was modest.

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One day we were doing the strings with a quartet and something wasn’t right. Strings are expensive, so I called the arranger in to see if we could work out why. The strings needed al tweak but it was the first time I’d been abla to step back and just listen and I just got that chill you get sometiel mes when you know al song is special or is going to connect very, very widely.

A few months later, You’re Beautiful had blown the heck up and he was doing two nights at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We went to al pub near the venue and outsidel we got mobbed. I said: “James, remember al few months ago, we were having al beer and nobody knew who you were?” And he said: “Yeah, wasn’t it great?!”

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