Wednesday, December 05, 2012

James Arthur The #Homecoming

The last time James Arthur played at Saltburn's Victoria pub he had a fiver in his pocket and performed to 15 people.

But yesterday, it was very different.

Firstly, it was standing room only inside the Dundas Street East pub where family and friends gathered and waited for his arrival. Secondly, he arrived with a rather special lady on his arm - Pussycat Doll and X Factor mentor, Nicole Scherzinger.

And last but not least they arrived on a pair of £25,000 Harley-Davidson motorbikes - Nicole's had a heated seat - and were immediately mobbed by hundreds of screaming fans.

Heading the queue to meet James were his family. His mum Shirls Ashworth beamed: “It’s incredible - so many people. Last time he played here he had 15 people watching him."

“But he plays with his heart and soul, whether it’s for 15 people or 5,000.”

James admitted he could not believe the turnout and said: “I just want to thank all the fans for their support."

"I am so excited to be back, it has been amazing.”

Nicole joined James in The Vic where she went behind the bar to pull a pint, she also tucked in to some fish and chips and sampled the compulsory Teesside parmo, declaring she liked it (also compulsory) and generally enchanted everyone.

James also delighted the party by performing two songs - Adele’s Hometown Glory and one of his own compositions, Faded, with Nicole joining in.

Afterwards the X Factor bikers were off on their travels again - all the way to the next street for lunch at Rapps cafe bar in Milton Street.

Then it was back to James’s seafront bedsit and a view of the seafront for a bit of TV filming before heading off to Middlesbrough for James town hall gig.

James has also revealed that this time last year he was struggling with depression while he was living alone in his Saltburn bedsit. But now he credits the ITV1 hit show with helping him to beat depression for good.

"Back then I was suffering severe depression. I had just given up on a lot of things, I gave up on myself. I didn't want to leave the house, I couldn't get out of bed. I always had a lot of faith in myself as a singer-songwriter but not as a person. I had nothing in common with the world at all."

He didn't like the way his prescribed anti-depressants made him feel, so stopped taking them - his friends and family rallied around him and persuaded him to audition for The X Factor instead.

Returning home has helped him to step back from The X Factor bubble and realise how far he has come.

He said: “It’s surreal. This time last year I was looking out at the sea from the pier and thinking I’d never fulfil my purpose in life and now I’m here with Nicole Scherzinger at my homecoming.”

James is also playing down his new reputation as a ladies' man and his recent success with the girls. He said: "I'm not complaining about the ladies. Since I've been on the show I've been clubbing three times."

"One was a publicity thing and the other two were when I'd been grafting too hard and needed to blow off some steam and I just went a bit too far on both occasions."

It’s now got me a ‘womaniser’ tag. I’m cool with it but I’m under no illusions that I’m some heart-throb.”

The extended homecoming interview with James Arthur.

James Arthur, the Homecoming at Saltburn and Middlesbrough.