Interview: James Arthur in Zurich, 09.06.2016

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Super happy we had the chance to interview former X Factor winner James Arthur in Zurich. We sat down with him before his (free!) gig for the Summerlounge at Sihlcity. If you want to know a little more about his new album, keep reading 🙂

You’ve been to Switzerland a couple of times now, have you ever had time to do some sightseeing or explore the city a bit?
Usually I don’t have the time to do that in most places, but thankfully I have had the opportunity to see a bit of Switzerland. I did Zermatt Unplugged festival, which was beautiful, we got to stay there for a couple of days. So yeah, I’ve seen a bit of Switzerland it’s a beautiful place and the people are really cool and intelligent. Plus they seem to like my music. The audiences are always really appreciative. You do have to warm them up a little bit. But once they’re there, they’re THERE!

Do you see a big differnce in audiences? Swiss audiences compared to maybe the UK or even the US?
There are differences! With all due respect to other places, but I think you get some quite sophisticated audiences. And here, often people will approach me and say like: I really enjoy this song and this part especially (referring to a certain part of the song) because of this and that. They get quite technical. That can be different to other places.

You’ll be playing the Blue Balls Festival this summer, what can we expect from the show there?
Well, I haven’t done many band shows this year, so I believe it’ll be one oft he first band shows in a long time. But we’ll definitely be introducing new material there too. My album will be out not long after the summer. It’s exciting stuff!

Talking about new material, everyone is really excited about it and we want to know more. What can you tell us about it so far?
I can’t give away too much, but it’s definitely going to come out just after summer. I would expect it around September/October. But that’s just a rough estimate.

Where are you at in the process now?
We’ve chosen all the tracks now. That’s done. It’s now really just producing the tracks and getting them all to a standard to making them cohesive with everything else. So they make sense sonically and the theme, the story and everything. Just having the right balance. It’s very exciting, it’s been 2 years in the making. I had a bit of break down a couple of years ago and ever since then I’ve been writing about my experiences. Finding success overnight and the pressure that comes with that, losing friends, gaining friends, all the crazy stuff that comes with being a public figure. It all happened so quick, so I didn’t deal well with it. It’s a lot about me overcoming the adversity and it relates to a lot of people that face the same. So yeah, the album kind of takes you through that journey of mine.

If you could play in any venue – no matter where. Which would be your favorite place to play?
I should probably have put in some thought in that, but I haven’t really 🙂 But I guess it would be great to play at a stadium, that would be amazing. Like Wembley, would be insane, it would be tought, but certainly amazing.

So, we have been asking fans all around the world to submit some questions for you. We’ve picked out a couple that we’d like to ask you now, ready?
Yeah, sure!

Françoise: When preparing/creating a new album – what part is the most difficult for you personally
I think it’s the delivery, once you have a song and the lyrics and the melodies, the thing I find the most difficult, making sure that it’s honest and feels honest too. If I hear anything that maybe sounds cheesy or „try hard“ – I want to stamp that out straight away. Not to oversing certain things. It’s getting a balance between emotion and technique.

Laura: What part of creating the album do you like best?
To me the shows are the favorite part, they’re amazing. When you record the album, you only really get 1 chance to sell the song to people. When you go out and do shows, the songs take on new life, they evolve. I wish I could record the same song like a hundred times. I really enjoy the shows the most. Making the album is good, but it’s kind of stressful as well. There’s always pressure and I’m a perfectionist, so I beat myself up a lot.

Jan: What part of the songwriting process comes first music or lyrics?
It could be different… A lot of times, the melody would come to my head first. Or maybe even a word and a melody. Sometimes I just pick up the guitar and say something honest, from the heart. That’s my tactic. Just trying to keep things conversational and honest.

Many fans asked: Will there be promotion for the album, a tour etc. And where will it be promoted, just Europe or maybe also overseas?
It’s definitely going to be a worldwide thing, the album will be promoted everywhere, but focus will be on the UK and Europe.  I think the US might come a little later though.

As always, we’ve got a couple of sentences which the artist has to end as spontaneously as possible. 

The last thing I do before going on stage is… breathe! Breathe very deeply.
The weirdest place I’ve written a song at, is… probably the toilet… Or just in the bathroom generally. Or on a plane.
When thinking about Koalas, I think… Cute!
The best thing about Switzerland is… the people! They can all speak like a hundred languages. I can barely speak english. That’s really impressive.

So, that was it. Shortly after our interview, James Arthur hopped up on stage at Sihlcity. For me personally it was great, no full band, just him, his guitar and Luke who accompanied him on guitar too.

Here are a couple of pictures of the interview and the show. In case you want to see more pictures of earlier shows, here are the links:

James Arthur at Mascotte, Zurich
James Arthur at Live at Sunset, Zurich
James Arthur at Kaufleuten, Zurich

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