British singer-songwriter James Arthur makes a most welcome return with his stunning new song “A Year Ago.”
The track sees James reunited with songwriter Steve Solomon, whom he co-wrote 2016’s most streamed song and recently RIAA Diamond-Certified single, the classic, “Say You Won’t Let Go.”
Led by acoustic guitar, bolstered by swelling synths and crashing drums, the intimate yet widescreen slow-builder about missing an ex boasts a spellbinding vocal that nails the intensity James was after. Its blueprint was less a specific sound than an emotion. It was written in a single week at Steve’s LA studio.
“It’s a guitar song that began on piano, Steve playing a few chords, me scatting the line ‘I miss you’ over and over until the song presented itself,” describes James. “It captures that feeling when you break up with someone and are riddled with regret and pain and fear. What If I never find someone as good as that again? Will I always be alone?”
The lyrics are a heart-tugging tale of lingering loss with the detail doing the damage.
“In fact, A Year Ago is not about one specific relationship, but every scenario is real. I’ve been through my fair share of heartache and I tapped into different times in my life. You’re a year on, still wishing you could be back in a moment when the world felt right.”
Also in the room at the track’s recording was James’ mate and fellow musician Jamie Grey, with whom he has collaborated in the past. “We’ve been friends since we were kids and having him along gets that young version of me back,” says James, who began performing aged 14, a decade before winning X Factor in 2012. “It’s weird but I become the kid who went with his feelings and trusted his gut.”
The Middlesbrough-born, and most successful X Factor winner of all time has scored 4 top 10 albums, with 2016’s Back From The Edge hitting the Number 1 spot and over his career has collaborated with the likes of Anne-Marie, Sigala, Rudimental, Marshmallow & many more.
He also boasts some of the most impressive streaming stats, with more than 1 billion UK streams across his catalogue. ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ became Arthur’s breakthrough hit in the US, reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was officially the UK’s most streamed song in 2016 and has gone on to be enjoyed via 2.2 billion Spotify streams while the song’s official video has achieved 1.5 billion views on YouTube. Earlier this year, the track became his first RIAA Diamond Single with 10 million certified units – making James one of just 100 recipients of an RIAA Diamond Single certification in the programme’s history.
Other huge hit singles for James include; ‘Impossible’, ‘Can I Be Him’, ‘Sun Comes Up’, ‘Naked’, ‘Empty Space’, ‘Rewrite The Stars’, ‘Falling Like the Stars’, ‘Train Wreck’ and ‘Lasting Lover’, which are all certified platinum records.
Back from the Edge was released on October 28, 2016 and entered the UK Albums Chart at #1. James’ last album, 2021’s It’ll All Make Sense In The End, was a lockdown project recorded at home that leant heavily on programmed beats. Playing it live he found himself tweaking the songs to give them an organic band feel.
James Arthur is currently in the studio working on a new record.
James Arthur’s “A Year Ago” is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music Entertainment.