MAMAs 2016: The winners of the annual MTV Africa Music Awards were announced during a glitzy ceremony

Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

James Blunt: Up Close & Personal

2008-05-30 12:13
"You're Beautiful, indeed"
On the Cult of Celebrity
Yeah, you know the cult of celebrity has almost overtaken religion in the Western world and that's because we're all a bit addicted to watching each other. And the newspapers recognise that and they realise they can make money out of it. But I'm not involved in that. I do something which I think is far more relevant to human beings and that's part of culture, part of art, which is music. Me and a whole host of musicians are doing something that brings people together. It draws people in.

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I've played in places like Kosovo to Serbs and Albanians where previously their families had been murdering each other, but for an hour and a half stood and sang songs and were bound by the things that drew them together, their common sesne of humanity. There aren't many things that do that. So we do music. And some newspapers and magazines waste all of our time and our money on the cult of celebrity. And I think rather than that we should focus on art, on culture - and if not then global warming, climate change, poverty and disease in places like Africa - and the wars that are going on.

On keeping his head in the clouds and his feet on the ground
You know we keep everything simple in what I do. I’m a touring musician. I have a band with me and a crew. There are 13 of us out on this particular leg and we look after each other, we have a lot of fun. We just do a relatively simple and very honest job of playing music for people. And sure the audiences have got a bit bigger along the way but you know, we recognize that we’re just very lucky to be doing what we’re doing and having a great time doing it.
On All the Lost Souls
We’re still in a kind of growth process. The album’s out there, but the All the Lost Souls tour is one where you still develop the songs for the live performance, test them and move them around. We’ve done eighty shows this year already and every one you’re just trying something a little bit different in the songs and having a whole lot of fun. And actually, the tour goes on until February 2009. That’s a 14 month tour.

On home
My home is a Spanish island called Ibiza which is where I went and wrote all the songs for All the Lost Souls. And you know, I went out there to its’ kind of busiest moments and it’s quietest times as well. It’s a really inspirational place. I wrote 1973 about its most famous nightclub called Pacha which originally opened in that year. So I call that home. But for the time being my bus with its bunks – I think there are 12 on each bus – that’s home for us.

On James Blunt
I get asked a lot of questions about me and I think that in this day and age maybe that’s not relevant. It shouldn’t be about the artist so much as about the songs because you know. Hopefully when you listen to the songs perhaps you try and relate them to your self, your own life or people you know, they’re your interpretation of the songs the way you hear them. So I’m not too interested in me as such. I prefer people to engage with the music. I’ve kind of done the same when I’ve bought albums I haven’t wanted to know too much about the musician behind them.

- Interviewed by Zane Henry

Despite his name, James Blunt is a subtle bloke. We get up close and personal with the sexy British pop balladeer who chats about the cult of celebrity, making music with a message and more.

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