Singer James Arthur Opens Up About Why He’s ‘Not Just the Guy With an Acoustic Guitar’

James Arthur
James Arthur Simon Lipman/Columbia Records

Writing his next big hit. Singer James Arthur is in the studio working on his highly anticipated third album and giving Us Weekly some details on how his time in the studio is coming along.

“[It’s] my happy place. I love being in the studio again and coming up with new ideas and concepts,” he tells Us. “I think the new album and sound will be quite different to my last album. I like experimenting and trying new things.”

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The British singer, 29, first made his mark on the industry when he won The X Factor season 9 back in 2012. Five years later, his soulful ballad “Say You Won’t Let Go” blew up in the States, peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“I did realize the song was special when I wrote it,” Arthur says about writing the love song. “Funny enough, I didn’t want it as my first single, but my label and management told me it was ‘the one’… which definitely proved me wrong!”

He was surprised how it made its way across the pond too. “It’s amazing how well it did in the states. I think as a British artist, when you see a song take off in the U.S. is just the most incredible feeling,” the Middlesbrough native says. “It opened a lot of opportunities for me too and it’s been great touring and doing promo there.”

James Arthur
James Arthur Simon Lipman/Columbia Records

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Things weren’t always this exciting for the talented vocalist though. Arthur has been open about his struggle with drugs, anxiety and depression over the years following his big win on the popular singing competition. “I try not to live with regrets as I think everything happens for a reason. However, I would tell the old James to enjoy everything a lot more,” he says about giving his younger self advice. “I got caught in a moment [that]I wasn’t ready for and I lost my way, but I believe I had to get to that bottom to come back again.”

Now the songwriter is using his fame for good, by helping others who live with mental illness through his ambassadorship with SANE, a charity that aims to “improve quality of life for anyone affected by mental illness,” according to its website.

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“There is a movement happening at the moment with people speaking about mental health and raising awareness, which is amazing. My voice is just one of many trying to keep the awareness alive and educating people on the different forms of mental health,” Arthur tells Us. “I can only go from my own personal experiences, which is not the same case for everyone, But my one big advice to anyone who is suffering from any form of mental health is to speak up. You are not alone and the only one going through this and there are people to help.”

And those personal experiences will be reflected in his new music. “My last album was sort of my redemption album, but I have also evolved from that and have new things to talk about,” Arthur adds. “I want people to see a different side to me as an artist and not just the guy with an acoustic guitar.”

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