James Arthur was born in Saltburn-by-the-Sea near Middlesbrough, to Shirley Ashworth and Neil Arthur. His parents split up when he was young and Arthur spent time as a child living in Bahrain before moving back to the UK with his mother as a teenager. Once back in the North East of England, he went off the rails following a family break-up and spent spells in care and living on the streets. Arthur has always loved singing and had been gigging around his local area for several years before a friend persuaded him to try out for X Factor. Despite various setbacks such as suffering an anxiety attack backstage after the second live show, and having to be saved by the public vote when he was placed in the bottom two in week 7, Arthur triumphed as champion of the ninth series on December 9, 2012.
Profits from the single were donated to Together for Short Lives, a charity for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.
The song was downloaded 187,000 times in the first two days after its release, the best sales start ever for an X Factor winner. Alexandra Burke's "Hallelujah" was the previous most popular X Factor winner initially selling 149,000 copies.
This was the fastest-selling single of 2012 in the UK with first-week sales of 490,000. Arthur's version of the Shontelle song sold more than three times as many copies in its first seven days as Cheryl Cole's "Call My Name," which previously had the best first week of the year at 152,000.
This was the 127th single to surpass a million sales in the history of the UK's Official Singles Chart. Prior to this song, three other debut singles by X Factor winners had topped a million, Shayne Ward's "That's My Goal," Alexandra Burke's "Hallelujah" and Matt Cardle's "When We Collide."
The song was an international hit, topping the singles charts in the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Spain. The track also reached #2 in Australia and New Zealand. Its global success made it one of the best-performing winner's singles internationally from an UK X Factor winner.
Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation" was just a minor hit when it was released in 1968, but a 2002 remix made the song a global smash, taking it to #1 in a number of countries, including Australia and the UK.