James Arthur reflects on returning to making the music that he loves
His fifth studio album, ‘Bitter Sweet Love’, will be released on January 26 on Columbia Records. James will be playing new songs and old favourites in his show at the Utilita Arena, Sheffield on March 8 and Nottingham Motorpoint Arena on March 19 during a huge UK and European tour.
His new song ‘Just Us’ is premiered this month and comes on the back of ‘Cars Outside’, ‘Blindside’ and ‘A Year Ago’ which marked James’s return to recording
After touring the States where a sold-out crowd was singing along to his hits, immersed in the emotion that James could hear in his own voice, it struck the singer how his new album should sound.Within days of the tour ending in the States, James began sessions with different producers to see who could click with his vision. His final stop was in Los Angeles with Steve Solomon, with whom he co-wrote his 2016 megahit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.Back in Britain, James attempted to write with more producers, but none came close to his bond with Steve, who flew over to finish the album at Miloco Studios in South London last summer. The end result is a mature body of work, full of depth and oozing the songwriting quality that has defined James’s esteemed career to date.
James said: “The more albums you make and the more success you have, the more the pressure tends to be upon you.But I genuinely felt like a kid again, just making music I loved, not worried about trying to please everyone.”
Middlesbrough-born James won The X Factor in 2012 and his debut single ‘Impossible’, a cover of Shontelle’s song, went straight to number one. ‘Impossible; sold more than 1.4million copies, making it the most successful winner’s single in the show’s history.
James, a Brit Billion-certified artist, has scored four top 10 albums, with 2016’s ‘Back From The Edge’ hitting the Number 1 spot on its release.He is one of the world’s biggest streaming artists, with more than 38 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. ‘Say You Won't Let Go’ became his breakthrough hit in the US. It was officially the UK's most streamed song in 2016 and has gone on to be enjoyed via four billion streams while the song's official video has achieved 1.5 billion views on YouTube. Earlier this year, the track became his first RIAA Diamond Single with 10 million certified units – making James one of just 100 recipients of an RIAA Diamond Single certification in the programme's history.Other huge hit singles include: ‘Can I Be Him’, ‘Sun Comes Up’, ‘Naked’, ‘Empty Space’, ‘Rewrite The Stars’, ‘Falling Like the Stars’, ‘Train Wreck’ and ‘Lasting Lover’, which are all certified platinum records.
He has picked up a clutch of honours inclding award-winning song for “Lasting Lover” (with Sigala) at the BMI London Awards 2022 and award-winning song for “Say You Won’t Go”at the BMI Pop Awards in 2016.
James’ last album, 2021’s It’ll All Make Sense In The End, was a lockdown project recorded at home that leaned heavily on programmed beats. His third studio album YOU debuted at number two in 2021