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James Blunt collects honorary degree from University of Bristol

Singer and former soldier James Blunt has returned to his former university to collect an honorary degree recognising his contribution to music.

The 41-year-old was awarded a Doctor of Music honorary degree by the University of Bristol, where he was a student from 1992 to 1996.

During his sociology degree at the university he began to take song-writing seriously and penned the song Wisemen.

The song went on to appear on his first album, Back To Bedlam, which was the best-selling album of the Noughties.

Back To Bedlam, which has sold more than 11 million copies since its release in 2003, also featured hit singles You're Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover.

Blunt's thesis submitted to the University of Bristol was entitled The Commodification of Image - Production of a Pop Idol.

He received his masters in front of a packed audience of new graduates in the Wills Memorial Building in Clifton, Bristol.

"This is a huge and perhaps slightly undeserved honour from the place where I had some of my most rewarding and memorable years," he said.

Blunt's undergraduate studies were sponsored by the Army and he joined the Life Guards, a cavalry regiment, after graduating in 1996.

He served as part of the United Nations' peacekeeping force in Kosovo, during which he rose to the rank of Captain.

After six years of service, Blunt left the Life Guards to pursue a career in music.

He has since sold more than 20 million albums and 17 millions singles worldwide.

Max Austin, undergraduate education officer at the University of Bristol Students' Union, said: " James, who throughout his life has always sought to develop his passion and talent for music, but not necessarily through academic study, is a perfect example of how the range of experiences and opportunities you get at university may in fact become the defining aspect of your life."

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