James Blunt spent the better part of 2006 living and working in Ibiza, Spain, one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its nonstop summer dance parties, Ibiza is not the first dJames Blunt spent the better part of 2006 living and working in Ibiza, Spain, one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its nonstop summer dance parties, Ibiza is not the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of the mellow British singer/songwriter.
Blunt's breakthrough debut, "Back to Bedlam" -- released in 2004 in the United Kingdom and one year later in the United States, where it has sold 2.6 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- was anything but dance music. But there was Blunt, last summer, making the scene like a veteran of the club community. "You go to Space at nine in the morning, and you carry on till nine in the evening," Blunt says with a smile. "I'm a healthy clubgoer."
Following a day -- or night -- of clubbing, Blunt would "head back to mine": to his secluded home "away up in the hills." It was there, with a piano and guitar at his side, that he wrote many of the songs that appear on his second Custard/Atlantic album, "All the Lost Souls," due Sept. 18.
But while new songs like "1973" and "I'll Take Everything" feature beats and tempos that would not sound out of place on global dancefloors, the bulk of "All the Lost Souls" showcases an artist who has used his debut album as a strong reference point. "One of the Brightest Stars" and "Annie" focus on the ins and outs of fame, while "Carry You Home" comments on mortality.
Fellow breakout U.K. star KT Tunstall is also back this week with her sophomore Virgin album, "Drastic Fantastic" -- not that its predecessor is ready to go quietly. 2004's"Eye to the Telescope" now has worldwide sales of nearly 4 million units, according to EMI, including 1.5 million in Britain and 1.1 million in America, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Tunstall, who turned 32 in June, is never short of a bon mot about her rise to fame after a decade of knocking on doors that stayed resolutely shut. Nor was she likely to risk losing what had been so hard-won. "I feel like I've done the new album just in time," she says in answer to further inquiries about her extraordinary stamina. "If I'd taken any time off, I might have missed a bit of a window."