After neglecting us for over 14 years, English singer-songwriter James Blunt finally made his way to this humble nation in Southeast Asia. James Blunt made a stop in Malaysia back in March to promote his brand new “The AfterLove” album – which came out last year.
On the 25th of March 2018, James Blunt put up the most explosive concert that the Dewan Wawasan Menara PGRM in Cheras had ever seen. At 44, James Blunt delighted his fans with his high-powered vocals, witty and sarcastic comments throughout the show. Anyone who passed on the concert because you thought James Blunt is old news and outdated, you guys missed out one hell of a concert.
Yes, I know what you’re all thinking, he did belt out his 2005 hit single, “You’re Beautiful”. Aside from that, James Blunt also sang other crowd favourites like “Goodbye My Lover”, “High”, “Carry You Home”, “1973”, and “Bonfire Heart”.
Team Hype managed to catch James for about 10 minutes and had a quick chat with the singer before he took stage.
HYPE: James, what took you so long to come to Malaysia? It’s been 14 years!
James Blunt: I know, it’s terrible! Well, I’m fortunate to get invited to Malaysia now, and thank you so much for having me. I’ve toured the world and passed Asia many times, but I never played here in Kuala Lumpur. So tonight will be a thrill!
That’s the whole point of doing a fifth world tour – to go to places I’ve never been to before.
I’ve actually been to Malaysia once on a holiday, but not to Kuala Lumpur. That was in 1995. It was just across the border from Thailand – it had an English name – Georgetown!
H: How are you finding Malaysia so far?
JB: I think it’s green, very humid, and green is a compliment definitely. The food is fantastic. I walked around in Little India last night, and people have been really nice to me.
H: Let’s talk about your new album. You’re giving us “AfterLove” after 14 years, and you wrote most of the songs on the album. What’s the story?
JB: “The AfterLove” for me is a very special album, I took me two years of writing and recording it. Some great things and tragic things have happened to me, so I had lots of inspiration. All of the songs seem to fall into the same kinda idea. It’s about after the love is gone, after a relationship has ended, or when the lust in a relationship has ended, and you’re left with the ashes of that. It can also be something more long-term, like when someone has died, when your alcohol addiction is over, or after all the fame is gone. The theme is the same, and it applied to all the songs in the album. Hence, After Love.
H: Our favourite song from “AfterLove” is “Love Me Better”. How did you come up with it?
JB: I wrote it with Ryan Tedder in a hotel room in London. Some guy came and banged on the door and wouldn’t shut up. Some things I do are not normally what the record label want me to do, sometimes I just want to have fun with it. He said “Let’s do this, and let’s be very direct with lyrics“.
The lyrics in the song aren’t exactly the nicest things to say about me, it’s a lot of unpleasant things, but it’s also the truth. I think we should confront all the mean things people say, especially on social media – and the same time – have some fun with it.
H: There are a lot of James around. What makes you different from all the other James out there?
JB: Yeah, James is a very common name in the west. Personally when I realised my name was James, I realised it was boring (laughs). What makes me different is that I write songs from real-life experiences. I write songs for me, I don’t write them for you. I write about what’s going on in my life. It’s hard for me to express my feelings over dinner – cos I’m an Englishman – so I write songs about them. And then I’m foolish enough to put those songs out! Some people connect to those songs because they think “Yeah, I feel the same way too.”
H: Who are you going to collaborate with next?
JB: You know I love Ryan Tedder. I do write with other people as well, it’s just that most people I write with aren’t that famous. We tend to be obsessed with famous names. I did one song with Ed Sheeran and I speak a lot about him cos he’s the most famous dude I’ve written with. And he’s awesome.
H: What inspired you to write “Someone Singing Along”?
JB: Oh, it’s actually written about Donald Trump! He and other politicians at the moment are trying to divide us by saying that we should be afraid of people who are different from us. While politicians are trying to separate us, music brings people together. People stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people they don’t know just to listen to music. I’ve toured the world. Everywhere I go, peoples’ skin colour changes, and yet, no matter how different they are, they all connect to the songs the same way, with the same emotions.
H: So James, you tour a lot. Tell us – how do you like to unwind after a long day? What do you do to chill? You watch Netflix?
JB: I’m really not much of a television watcher. You know what, normally I meet with my band, fans or guests after the show. But realistically, when we go to a new place, we like to explore the place that we’re in, and I’m English so we end up looking for a bar to have a couple of drinks. Do you have any recommendations? (laughs)