James Arthur says writing his upcoming album helped him "process" his battle with his mental health and childhood trauma.
The 'Say You Won't Let Go' hitmaker suffers with anxiety and depression and has been having CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) in lockdown.
And the 32-year-old pop star - who shot to fame on 'The X Factor' in 2012 - has admitted that while he has been open about his struggles in the past, this time it was "different", because being forced to focus on writing music amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with no live gigs, made him hone in on and deal with the lows of the past eight years.
James - who has just landed a new record deal with Columbia - said of his follow-up to 'You' : “There’s kind of one narrative with me, how I’ve struggled with my mental health, childhood trauma and all these things. I’m a bit bored of talking about it now. But there was something different about this one. As it went on it became clear that this was a really reflective album. Like a lot of artists during the pandemic, I was forced to focus on music. I think a lot of artists probably enjoyed the fact there wasn’t a gig on the horizon or a TV performance or whatever it may be. Certainly, for me, it felt a bit of a luxury to focus on myself and the music and to process everything that had been going on in my life for the last eight years since winning 'X Factor'.”
The 'Naked' singer had tried different mechanisms to try and overcome his issues, but kept "hitting a wall" in his life and was always having breakdowns, but then he realised that music was the best form of therapy for him, and he subsequently was able to look in the mirror and "make sense of it all".
He added to Music Week magazine: “I’d just started some proper therapy before the pandemic. We’d cancelled a load of shows in America because I was at a point where I was about to be shipped off to rehab in Nashville to address trauma that had happened when I was a kid, because I just kept getting to this point where I was having breakdowns, whether it be on the road or … I kept hitting a wall in my life where the anxiety of the stress was getting too much for me. In the first few months of lockdown, I tried medicating, I ate what I wanted, played video games, and got to the point where I was sick of that and I cut all that out and said, ‘The best way for me to process things is to make music.’ It feels like a coming of age thing, this album, like I went from being a boy to a man on it. I get really, really personal, I talk about how I didn’t want to wake up some days. It was just me pouring out how I’m feeling, looking in the mirror and trying to make sense of it all.”