Following the release of his new album we caught up with popular singer songwriter James Arthur to find out the latest.
LET’S JUMP STRAIGHT IN, YOU KICKED THE UK TOUR OFF IN YOUR HOME TOWN OF MIDDLESBROUGH, HOWS TOUR LIFE BEEN TREATING YOU SINCE?
Tour life is treating me really well – I’m enjoying myself hugely. All the shows have been consistently good. The crowds have been phenomenal.
HAS THERE BEEN ANY CRAZY PINCH ME MOMENTS YET?
It’s always a crazy pinch me moment when the fans sing along to my songs. Especially the ones that have just come out on the album, so people shouldn’t really know them that well, and they’re already singing them. So that’s a great feeling.
YOUR NEW ALBUM HAS BEEN HIGHLY ANTICIPATED, WHAT’S THE BUILD UP BEEN LIKE FOR YOU?
The build-up for this album has been nerve wracking, it’s been three years of work. It’s all culminating in this week seeing how people react to it, so far so good!
IS THERE ONE PERSON THAT’S INSPIRED YOU MUSICALLY?
My musical inspirations vary quite a lot. My dad played a lot of rock music like The Who and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. My mum played great soul and pop singers like Prince and George Michael. So I was always listening to great music as a kid.
ARE THERE CERTAIN MOODS THAT MAKE UP YOUR STYLE?
I would describe my musical style as raw, angsty and honest.
I’M SURE YOU’VE BEEN ASKED THIS A BILLION TIMES BUT DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BECOME A SINGER?
I always wanted to become a singer from a very young age. I loved singing and it impressed my mum, and liked to impress my mum as kid. From a young age I loved singing and loved the feeling of people praising me for it.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE THAT HAS A GOOD SOUND BUT THEY’RE SCARED TO JUST PUT THEMSELVES OUT THERE?
I would say it’s the most liberating thing you can do, to put a piece of your expression and your art out there to the world and let it be judged. Someone’s gonna feel it, so go for it.
WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR MUSIC SPARK FROM?
My passion for music sparks from being around music my whole life. Music has always been a friend. When you feel down, it’s a constant friendship you get with music that you don’t get from anything else.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE HAVING TRAVIS BARKER ON ONE OF YOUR TRACKS? HOW DID THAT COLLABORATION COME ABOUT?
The only way to describe having Travis Barker on my tracks is a dream come true! I grew up listening to punk music, emo and rock music and indie music like Travis. He’s the godfather of playing the drums in that world. So it’s an absolute dream come true. My inner punk kid was very happy to have him on the record.
WHICH GRIME ARTIST WOULD YOU LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH?
Would love to work with Stormzy or Dave. And I love Aitch.
WHATS THE RESPONSE BEEN LIKE TO THE VIDEO RELEASE?
The response has been amazing. Most of the comments have been people saying how surprised they are that I can rap, and that’s pleasantly surprising for me that people don’t know I rap, and they seem to enjoy it!
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM, YOU, WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT AND WHY IS IT CALLED YOU?
I really wanted it to feel like that it wasn’t about me, and that it could be helpful to YOU.
SINCE RELEASING YOUR FIRST ALBUM AFTER XFACTOR HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS HAS BEEN FOR ‘YOU’?
The process has been a long one to get to a place where I’m experienced in the studio now. I know exactly what I want in every aspect of the recording process and the writing process. On my third album I feel like I know exactly what I’m doing and that experience under my belt feels good.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO HEAR ON THE NEW ALBUM?
A throwback to the old James Arthur where I was a bit more raw, and a bit more free in the way I approach song writing and record. You can expect some rawness that maybe was lacking from the second album in parts.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE LOOKING OUT FROM YOU IN THE NEW YEAR?
In the new year I’m going to be going on an Arena tour in Europe and the UK. I’ll also be touring America and Canada – so a lot of touring for me!
SO, 2020 YOU BEGIN YOUR EUROPE TOUR WHERE ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING?
The place I’m looking most forward to going is Milan in Italy. I’ve never done a show in Italy. I’ve been on the Italian X Factor, but never done a show there, so it will be lovely to meet my Italian fans. I know there’s a lot out there who are passionate about my music, so it will be great to meet them.
FINALLY SOME FUN QUICK QUESTIONS TO END ON…
CATS OR DOGS?
That’s a tough one. I have a couple of dogs up north, and a couple of cats down south, so I’m split down the middle. But right now I live with cats so I’ll have to choose them.
IF YOU HAD A CHOICE BETWEEN TWO SUPERPOWERS, BEING INVISIBLE OR FLYING WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
I think I fly enough on airplanes, so I’m ok for the flying. Being invisible would be great, just to go and can see who’s slagging you off and who’s saying what, that would be lovely.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE?
I just bought my mum a new sofa.
WHATS THE MOST USELESS TALENT YOU HAVE?
I’m able to mimic the Peter Dickson X Factor voice pretty well!
IF YOU HAD TO CHANGE YOUR NAME, WHAT WOULD YOUR NEW NAME BE, AND WHY
If I was to change my name I think it would be Billy. My dad’s always wanted me to call my son Billy as it’s a very strong Scottish name. So Billy Arthur – that would be my name.
WHAT IS YOUR ALL TIME FAVOURITE FILM?
American History X. When I watched that it blew me away. I couldn’t believe how powerful it was. It also made me lifelong fan of Ed Norton also.
BINGE WORTHY TV SERIES?
There are so many. I recently watched a series called When They See Us. Which was about the exonerated five, the Central Park five. Such a harrowing and must watch drama series.
WHAT IS YOUR GO TO DRESS TO IMPRESS OUTFIT FOR A NIGHT OUT?
I’m very much a black skinny jeans, with a black t-shirt and chain and and overshirt kinda guy. I keep it slim and slick!