After winning The X Factor back in 2012, James Arthur’s career has grown at lightening speed. He’s had three top-10 albums, and amassed over 1billion streams on Spotify, evidence of his star appeal.
As part of his Vero takeover, HUNGER sits down with the musician to find out more about life in the fast lane.
Coming from a background in reality tv, what are your thoughts on the format and do you think it’s still relevant in the age of social media?
Yes, I think there is still a place for singing competitions so long as after the show they get the right amount of support and advice and as long as you have an identity before going into those processes.
What sort of music was playing in your house growing up?
Growing up there was an eclectic mix of music. There was rock, soul, rnb, all the greats.
Did you have anyone encouraging your creative endeavours as a child/teenager?
Yes, I was encouraged by my close friends but I just took inspiration from artists / bands I like ie. Kurt Cobain the Beatles, Eminem etc.
When’s the first time you realised that you could be a musician full-time?
When I started to get booked in pubs in the local area and they would ask me to play for a couple of hours here and there.
What’s been the biggest moment of your career so far?
Having my album Back from the Edge going to number one and having reached 1 billion streams on Spotify with “Say You Wont Let Go”.
What’s your favourite thing about performing live?
The energy you get back from the crowd and seeing the audience having the best time. That’s why you do it!
Tell us a song that changed your life and why?
“Bad Company” by Bad Company. I remember the first time I heard it, it made me want to be a musician.
What’s your favourite TV guilty pleasure?
Love Is Blind. I binged it during lockdown and was gutted when it finished. I can’t wait for the new series, I’m sure I’ll lose a bit of street cred for that!
What’s one film you wish you’d done the soundtrack for and why?
I’ve always really liked the idea of taking on the challenge of doing the soundtrack for any of the James Bond films. My song “Back From The Edge” had a bit of a Bond theme to it so I think I’ve got it in my wheel house.
Your favourite place in your hometown and why?
The seaside going for walks on the beach we have beautiful coasts/piers there. My favourite hike is Redcar to Saltburn across the coast.
Let’s talk about your forthcoming album: what can fans expect?
To be honest it’s something quite different from me. It’s much closer to the music I grew up listening to: raucous guitars with trap beats and strong, strong melodies. It’s rap verses with rock choruses, which is exactly what I set out to do.
What does the future look like for you?
Like I say, I’d love to do some acting. Cinema is my second love and I feel like the two things go hand in hand pretty naturally anyway. And you know I’m always writing music. I’m starting to write with other artists more too, I’m enjoying the challenge of writing a song in a sound that perhaps isn’t quite my own. I’ve been in the game a while now, so I’m well up for some new challenges.