James Blunt

Spending hours fielding questions from the press, visiting radio stations, doing television appearances, traveling all over – that’s the life of an artist making his major label debut.

James Blunt is no different.

The singer/songwriter is Atlantic Record’s latest big push, has been cast as a Brit troubadour in the vein of Damian Rice and David Gray. His debut, Back To Bedlam, has a staggered release that started in England, moved to Germany and Italy, and is now debuting in the States. Next up is South America and Japan.

Right now, Blunt is touring with Jason Mraz and fielding press calls along the way – including a recent one from Pollstar. He landed in Boston at 6:00 that morning after a show the night before in New York City and had been working since 9 a.m.

“And that’s pretty much how life is these days,” Blunt said. “I had 15 days off this year including holidays and weekends. I do this every day. It’s kind of mental.”

Blunt’s manager, Todd Interland, found himself in a whirlwind as soon as he and his artist landed in the U.S. for the Mraz tour that started October 24th. He planned to talk with Pollstar for a few minutes around the tour launch date. Instead, he wound up so busy that scheduling out 15 minutes took about two weeks of correspondence.

“As you might know, when you’re releasing an album in the U.K., by the time Germany is starting to happen – well, you’re on your third single in the U.K. and you’re still having to do all the promotional appearances for that single,” Interland said from a desk in the New York City office of Sanctuary Artist Management. “At the same time, you’re on your second single in France. It’s been pretty amazing, but the work load has quadrupled continuously.”

Blunt’s lilting vocals and sincere lyrics have made him a fast star in the U.K. His third single, “You’re Beautiful,” topped the Brit charts, and Back To Bedlam knocked Coldplay’s latest album out of the No. 1 position.

Blunt’s video for the third single didn’t hurt his female fan base any, either. In it, he sits on a beach, looks earnestly into the camera and sings “You’re beautiful” while slowly disrobing, then running into the ocean.

“If there’s ever been a pop star so brazenly constructed for the female record-buying public, I’ve yet to encounter him,” Word magazine’s Jude Rogers wrote about the artist.

The 28-year-old Blunt played piano and violin from an early age, but only recently focused on a music career. His family has a centuries-old tradition of the soldier life and Blunt spent four years in the British army, stationed in Kosovo and even being Queen Elizabeth’s sovereign escort on ceremonial occasions.

James Blunt

When he decided to give the music industry a shot, he made a demo and started asking people in the business to pass them on to managers.

“One was a friend I met who just happened to be roommates with Todd,” Blunt said.

That was about four years ago.

“He sent me a demo of three songs,” Interland said. “When I listened to them, I called him up immediately. In fact, I was driving my car in London on a rainy night and I pulled over and, luckily, he had written his cell phone number on the CD itself. I called him up and said, ‘Listen. I don’t know who you are but we’ve got to meet.”

A day later, the two men met at a pub on London’s Portobello Road to see if they clicked.

“When that happens, you know it in your gut; you know it’s right,” Interland said.

Blunt told the same story.

“They always say the most important decision for a musician who wants to go into the industry is getting the right manager,” he said. “It was pretty obvious he knew what he was talking about but also had a great lot of integrity and honesty.”

Interland was working with Elton John at the time, which was also a selling point. The manager’s company, Twenty-First Artists, was recently sold to Sanctuary for about $30 million.

Blunt wraps his tour with Mraz later this month.

“We’re going to go [to Australia] to tour that market for the first time,” Interland said. “Just for the routing of it, we have an opportunity to hit Japan as well. It’s one of the last territories to release the album in December. Because of this worldwide story, we’re getting some interesting offers to come and play there.”