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August 19, 2011

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Fans keen on James Blunt concert

ENGLISH singer-songwriter James Blunt not only will bring hits like "You're Beautiful" to his Sunday solo concert in Shanghai at the Mercedes-Benz Arena but also, security permitting, some stunning stage effects in which he seems to magically appear.

Blunt's Shanghai stop on his world tour follows performances by the Cranberries and Suede earlier this summer.

Accompanying himself on guitar, the multiple award winner and five-time Grammy nominee will sing around 20 numbers, both classics and new tunes.

Unlike his small audience show in Shanghai in 2008, the 37-year-old Blunt this time performs in an 18,000-seat auditorium with the latest audio, visual and stage equipment. More than a year has been spent on preparation of the concert.

If all goes well, Blunt will appear on stage in an unexpected way and members of the audience may find him suddenly standing next to them.

Unlike some foreign singers, Blunt doesn't plan to try singing in Chinese or playing a traditional Chinese instrument.

"I can count to 10 in Chinese, but I don't sing anything," Blunt said in an e-mail interview with Shanghai Daily.

Blunt, a former British army tank officer with the NATO force in Kosovo, carried his guitar along with him and wrote songs at night. The experience in the Balkans has inspired some of his music, all of which comes from life, he says.

He shot to fame in 2005 with his debut album "Back to Bedlam" featuring songs like "You're Beautiful," "High" and "Good-Bye My Lover." Other albums like "All the Lost Souls" sold nearly 5 million copies globally and "Some Kind of Trouble" (2010) sold more than 100,000 copies in one week.

He has received two Brit Awards, two World Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards and five Grammy nominations.

Blunt's father was an army officer and he grew up in a family without musical influence. He wrote his first song and started playing the electric guitar when he was 14.

Though forced by his father to join the army after college, he took his guitar along and wrote songs at night.

"All my songs are inspired by real life," says Blunt. He wrote "No Bravery" while he was in a military camp in the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo.

"'No Bravery' is the only song that I completed in Kosovo. I wrote songs with my boots on in the bed. I was very depressed during that time, so the song sounds quite fatalistic, actually; the whole album is quite fatalistic," says Blunt.

The famous "You're Beautiful" was written after he saw his ex-girlfriend with her new boyfriend on the subway. "Our eyes met and in that moment, we lived a lifetime together," says the musician.

Just as the lyric goes, "It's time to face the truth, I will never be with you," he says.

Blunt says that "90 percent of the music business is hair and make-up. I forgot my hairbrush, so I have to focus on the remaining 10 percent - music."

Blunt is on a 13-month world tour that ends in October; after that he will be working on a new album.

Date: August 21, 7:30pm

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, 1200 Expo Ave, Pudong

Tickets: 280-1,280 yuan

Tel: 6245-9356, 500-660-8799


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