Chart star James Blunt is offering Leeds musicians a chance to follow in his footsteps when he performs at the city’s First Direct Arena later this year.
The singer-songwriter – famed for the hit You’re Beautiful which reached Number One in 10 countries – is inviting bands and solo artists to compete for the opportunity to be his support act at the 13,5000-seater venue on November 24. And he’s teamed up with the Yorkshire Evening Post to help in his search.
For the 40-year-old, this is a means of offering others a similar break to the one he was given by Sir Elton John in 2004.
“I suppose I started out thinking of the opportunities I had when I was starting out doing music,” he explains. “The person who took me out was Elton John. The first gig I did was to 40 people, the second gig was to 40,000 people. It was an incredible opportunity and really exciting.
“You learn a massive amount really quickly being thrown in front of a huge audience like that. Elton has experience you can rob from watching him.”
Since finding worldwide success with his 2005 album Back To Bedlam, Blunt has gone on to sell 20 million records. Yet he’s retained an interest in up and coming talent.
“I’ve always enjoyed the process of finding our own support acts rather than be given bands that the record label want to promote themselves,” he says.
“Lately I’ve been more active in finding them myself.
“The last one we took out around the UK was Shake Shake Go. It was awesome to take them out on the road – they were fun people to have with us. We’re trying to do exactly the same again but find a local act to support us when we play in Leeds.”
Blunt has an open mind about the kind of the performers he’s looking for.
“Who they are, what they do, I’m totally open, I have no preconceptions.
“When you see my live show it’s not one man going on singing miserable songs as you would expect – though I do have one or two of those songs. It’s a five-piece band, it’s a lively show. We’re after a support act who can get the audience in the mood. We want to make it a really fantastic package of me and my band and an act who start proceedings that an audience really engages with.”
To stand a chance of winning a support slot with James Blunt at the First Direct Arena acts should email an MP3 and short biography or a Soundcloud link to email@example.com by August 31. Please enclose a picture, contact name, email address and daytime telephone number.
James Blunt will chose the winner from three acts nominated by the YEP.