X-FACTOR winner James Arthur has praised his legion of fans across the region for helping him realise his dream.
The singer-songwriter, from Saltburn, east Cleveland, also vowed to release his first album as soon as possible – and revealed that he has already written some tracks.
In his first live interview since winning the ITV talent competition, Arthur said he had his own material ready to go and as soon as he could get in the studio he would be recording it.
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He told ITV’S Daybreak: “I’m just going to work hard and get my album out as quickly as possible and not wait around.”
He toasted the spirit of the North-East for his victory.
“Thank you for the unconditional love and support,” he said.
“Without them I may not have got this far, ‘cos I’m sure that, knowing the North-East spirit, they got behind their own.
“The show has produced a lot of talent from the North-East. It has nurtured people like Amelia Lily and the girls from Little Mix and Joe McElderry. I would like to carry on flying the flag for the North-East.”
Arthur, whose single is already number one in the iTunes chart, gave a series of interviews from a five-star suite at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester – but remained down-to-earth by chomping on a McDonalds for his lunch.
“I didn’t have any money before this and now hopefully I will make a little bit,” he said.
“I’m living in five-star hotels, I was in a bedsit before this. My music was being heard by a few people before this, now millions of people are hearing it,” he said.
“The contrast in lifestyles is huge.”
And Arthur said the show’s knockers who claim falling ratings show the public have fallen out of love with Simon Cowell’s creation are wrong.
After the winning show was manic, Arthur said, but he got to enjoy a couple of beers with friends and family.
And there were floods of tears as he was embraced by his biggest fans, mum Shirley, and sisters Sian, 26, Jasmin, 18, Charlotte, 18 and Neve, 12.
Arthur said he wants to get in the studio to start on his album as soon as he can and is determined to seize his chance of fame and not sink without a trace like some of X Factor’s past winners.