Only a few months after the release of his collaboration with DJ Sigala in ‘Lasting Lover,’ James Arthur is back with a brand new single, ‘Medicine’.
‘Medicine’ Talks About James’ Mental Health
James shared the significance of ‘Medicine’ via List. “‘Medicine’ is an uplifting ode to self, to relationships, to community and connection. To the healing, restorative powers of love over adversity. It is, you might say, the perfect song for spring 2021. The last year has forced any couple to look at themselves. It held a mirror up to us all, didn’t it? And my partner was hugely supportive throughout that whole time. There are some pretty dark lyrics in there: ‘When I’m suicidal, you don’t let me spiral…’” ‘Medicine’ arrives as the first single of his unnamed forthcoming album; which he announced he was working on back in July of last year.
The journey to his new record began in January 2020 when James was on a European tour. “On stage in Madrid, I had this brutal panic attack. I’ve obviously suffered from anxiety over the years but I’d never had that before. Not on stage, not it taking hold of me; to the extent that I had to get off because if I didn’t, I was gonna die. Then the next day I developed really bad flu symptoms and had to be rushed into hospital. They found that I had a gallbladder infection, and had to remove it immediately.”
Exploring a Brand New Sound
Following a stint in a Swiss hospital and the cancellation of his tour, James attended therapy three to four times a week, took medication, had cognitive behavioral therapy and upped his fitness, and recovered enough for his UK arena shows. He said, “It was probably the best tour I’ve ever done.”
However, then the coronavirus pandemic hit and it was time for him to focus on making his music and focusing on mental health. He concluded, “And all of a sudden, the music started sounding great. From day one there was a sound that I wanted to go for. Even early on it sounded like a real album, a proper body of work.”
James insists the album, which was written and recorded in just two and a half months, “feels a lot more coherent,” with a guitar-heavy sound, but it wasn’t easy to convince his team to agree on the direction. “Whenever anyone would get afraid of us doing too much guitar, I’d stick to my guns on it, because it threads through the album. I don’t think there are any piano-led songs on this album. On ‘Medicine’ you get the classic songwriting from me, but it’s dressed up in a way that feels much more me.”