Newmarket: People were taking a lot of shots at me - X Factor winner James Arthur interviewed

James Arthur, playing Newmarket Racecourses this week

James Arthur, playing Newmarket Racecourses this week - Credit: Archant

James Arthur has come to expect being knocked. The latest rumour doing the rounds is he’s been dropped by record label Syco.

James Arthur with support act Tich

James Arthur with support act Tich - Credit: Archant

“People make up stories... which is something I’m not really sure how to handle, I don’t know what to say about it. As far as I know I’ve got a record deal and nothing’s changed. Obviously Syco and X Factor won’t be happy with some of the things I’ve said against the brand which weren’t intended in the way they’ve been taken.”

The X Factor winner accepts he’ll always have that element of controversy about him because he doesn’t hold his tongue on certain things.

“I don’t ever want to come across as a media-trained, vacant, glossy-eyed pop star who doesn’t want to connect with the world, with normal people. I think a lot of these pop stars these days are trained to seem out of reach, out of touch, inaccessible to people to give them that star quality.

“For me, it’s really transparent; I can see right through it. I’d rather be a guy who says ‘I don’t like that’ or ‘that’s not my thing’. I’d rather be honest.”


You may also want to watch:


It’s important, he adds, for people to know he doesn’t mean any offence. Arthur admits he’s disappointed with the way he conducted himself during what he calls some of his dark times, when he was wrestling with rows over Tweets, songs lyrics, chart failures...

“People were taking a lot of shots at me... not only I was affected but my family was too - my sister was bullied at school for having this brother who was reportedly a terrible person.

Most Read

“If I could go back, be more positive and not lash out at some of it like I did I probably would, but it’s done now and all I can do is get my head down and make music. I look back on it with a little bit of regret but that doesn’t really work if you want to be successful, you’ve got to keep going and keep pushing for your goals.”

Dreaming of being a successful musician his whole life, unsure it would ever happen; out of nowhere his life was turned on its head when he won the hit ITV1 show in 2012.

“I guess when I won I was in a dark place, I was getting more anxiety and more pressure than I’d ever experienced before and it really got to me,” confesses Arthur.

“I was really caught up in it all and on my own. I’m a very proud person so all the problems I was having and not really knowing how to cope with some of the fame I wasn’t reaching out to anybody, going to my family or anything like that. I was just trying to be strong, be the guy I’ve always been - which is surviving.

“That probably wasn’t the best way to be in that situation I probably should have looked for help, asked for advice. All that stuff to me is just the past, negative aspects to my journey. You know the positive aspects are so much more important and valuable to me.”

How Arthur feels now compared to then has changed dramatically. Given everything he’s experienced and been through, mentally and emotionally, he’s in a great place.

“Anything that can be thrown at a guy has been thrown at me, I’ve had it all, been called worse than s**t, you know? You go on Twitter, places like that, it’s really toxic; there’s some really nasty stuff on there that could knock anybody’s confidence I guess,” he says, praising his fans for helping to pull him through.

“I should have been focusing on that (his fanbase) and I wasn’t sometimes. It’s easy to look at one negative comment instead of 100 positive comments when you’re under pressure, tired, things like that.

“The fans have been absolutely incredible, I don’t even know where to begin on that one because on a daily basis they’re just showing some serious support. Some of them dedicate their lives just to supporting my journey, it’s really humbling.”

Seemingly no longer overwhelmed by the level of expectaction in terms of success that comes with winning The X Factor, his own as much as others; Arthur wants to be known for making great music rather than the headlines.

“If there’s one thing I’m confident of it’s my ability to make great music. I really feel I could write the best music I’ve ever made right now. I want to be famous for being an awesome musician, singer, songwriter, not for the wrong reasons which I have been.”

He’s currently celebrating being up for six World Music Awards, proudly describing it as a compliment just to be nominated and a great personal achievement in the wake of all he’s experienced. His main focus though is his new album.

“I’m writing again, just me, my guitar and a pad and pen, like I did the 10 years before The X Factor. It’s great to be an artist again, to know the songs you write on your own are going to be produced and put out in the way you want them to be put out. That’s any real artist’s dream, to put out a real album for the masses that she or he has control of.”

Arthur can’t wait to hit the road again. Having seen him wow a packed Ipswich Regent in January, audiences at Newmarket Racecourses’ Summer Saturday Live on May 31 are in for a treat.

“I’m at my happiest with a live band on stage. As always I’m going to give them a soulful, rock and roll, 100% show. With the live band, we can be electrifying on any given night. I feel like we’ll be the best live show in the country so I’m just excited to bring that to Newmarket.”

He will be joined by singer-songwriter Tich, who has had two top 30 singles and supported artists like Olly Murs and JLS.

Event and Newmarket Racecourses have teamed up to give away a pair of meet and greet tickets. Email your name, address and a daytime contact phone number to Newmarket.Competitions@thejockeyclub.co.uk by 5pm, Wednesday, May 28.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter