James Arthur says he played his latest song, Medicine, to a few fans while broadcasting Fifa on his Twitch channel.
While the country is staying home and artists are banned from performing songs live at major events, James says his viewers “got an exclusive of the new single” late one night in between matches.
Gaming X Music
It’s something he hopes to do again in the future – combine his love of music with video games and see “where that can go”.
“That’s where everything’s headed,” he tells BBC Sounds podcast Press X to Continue.
James grew up playing Mario and Duck Hunt in the original NES console and has played games ever since.
“My management and I have talked a lot about creating a great channel – something that is all-inclusive – where we will play Fifa and make music,” he said.
“I’m at the first level of that right now. I only play Fifa. It’s just me and a team of my teammates playing.
“But at some point, I want to do it regularly, and on a larger scale.”
James On Twitch
James says the concept of live streaming – when viewers “see the good in me, see the worst in me” – and enables him to communicate with his fans in a way they would never have known in any other way.
“It’s more accessible than anything, isn’t it?” he says. “They’re sitting with me for four or five hours as I’m playing Fifa.
“They feel like they’re sharing with me and my boys – we’ve got a bunch of my friends from back home – so they get to see a different side of my personality, one that you would never see in an interview or on the usual kind of things that I do. There’s no filter.”
And if James ever needs to be reminded of where he came from, he says playing with his teammates from home “knock him down a peg or two.
“I’ve never been allowed to get too big-headed,” he laughs, adding his team – Wollop United – is always looking for new opponents to keep him on his toes.
“But luckily I am the best Fifa player out of me and my mates – it’s not even close!”
As his track Medicine climbs the charts, many fans might be surprised to hear that the song was inspired in part by the community and friendships James forged online during lockdown.
“The song is inspired by all the things that get you through a dark time,” he says.
What Else Did He Say?
“A lot of friends of mine are not gamers, but they found that games – whether it be on their phone or whatever – really got them through it.
“I think we all struggled during the first lockdown. I know a lot of people struggled not socialising, not seeing friends and family.
“I found that [through gaming], you really get to know people. And it’s a really healthy, social thing to do.
“You’re engaging with people, which can only be a good thing.
“Gaming really got me through that time,” he adds. “Playing video games massively helped with my mental health.”
And while it’s “unclear yet” about when he and other artists will be able to play live, James says he and his team are discussing live streaming ideas that could include games, too.
James says it’s a “really cool” idea, to give players a chance to relax in the action of the game with a little music, a great combination of both music and video games together in one great event.
“It makes perfect sense to me,” he says. “I think it’s good.”