Award-winning singer-songwriter James Blunt sums up his view of Christmas in one word: "awesome". "I don't want anything for Christmas other than time with my family. I am a very lucky man," says the father of two, in this week's issue of HELLO! magazine. "The music business closes down and we can all go home." Good friends with many royals and A-listers, James – who attended, with his wife Sofia Wellesley, the weddings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Princess Eugenie, and Ellie Goulding – is famously private.
WATCH: James Blunt talks about his family
"I keep my private life private and yet write these deeply personal songs," says James, 45, who knows the pressures his friend Prince Harry has talked of from being in the public eye. Does he feel for the royal couple? "It can be intense," he says. "Everyone in the public eye will face criticism and it's worth realising that those people are human beings. I've known them to work incredibly hard for other people under great scrutiny and I think that they do phenomenally well."
The singer with his wife Sofia
James has just released a new album, Once Upon a Mind, which includes the song Monsters. Becoming a father himself made him able to write the moving lyrics. "It's about putting someone to bed. Once upon a time my father put me to bed, read me a story. And now it's my turn to put him to bed and I recognise that only because of the way I put my own children to bed," he says, close to tears.
James, whose father has chronic kidney disease and is on the waiting list for a transplant, added: "I see the circle of life playing out in front of me with my father not being well and on the other hand I have a new family. I go on tours for 18 months at a time. I leave both my father and that little family behind and they have to pick up the pieces."
James has just released a new album, Once Upon a Mind
Another song Cold, was written for his wife and touches on that separation. "The song is very much about being away on tour. It talks about the ocean between us. Its message is really clear that ‘without you I'm just cold'," he says. "I don't get home nearly as much as I'd like so it's such a pleasure to be there. When I do get home I do things that normal people do. I wash my clothes. I go round the house with a tool box to see what needs fixing."
Pick up this week's issue of HELLO! magazine for the full interview.
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