Chicago Scene caught up with the soulful sounds of James Arthur right before his show in Chicago at the Riviera Theatre.

Arthur, who won Season 9 of “The X Factor”, had his life changed forever as a result.

Born in Middlesbrough in the United Kingdon, the 34-year-old singer spent much of his young life cutting his teeth in the music business playing in a series of rock bands from his mid-teens into his early 20s.

It was in 2011 when he began playing under his own name and blended pop, soul and hip-hop influences, that his own style of music developed.

Winning the “X Factor” transformed Arthur into an instant pop star. He broke all sorts of streaming records with “Say You Won’t Let Go.” The song proved to be a global hit with an astounding 1.6 billion streams on Spotify and 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

Arthur has the Midas touch as “Train Wreck,” a second album deep cut off his “Back from the Edge” record is an ongoing TikTok viral phenomenon and global hit with 310 million streams.

Behind the stage of a James Arthur performance

“I’ve never really been able to put it in words to be honest, its bonkers and very humbling, a dream come true, all the clichés,” Arthur said. “I started out as an independent artist, slogging away for 10 years before I did the X Factor (British TV series), that gave me a springboard to showcase my music to the world, and thankfully it’s gone pretty good since then.”

Currently, Arthur is stateside taking America by storm. He’s excited at the prospect of headlining his own tour and compares Chicago’s musical vibe as something that reminds him of his Middlesbrough home. It’s the first tour in America out on his own as he makes it back to America post-pandemic.

“This is my first major headline tour of theatres in America, I’m late to the party!” Arthur said.

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