What happens when someone finds fame so quickly, and then tries to adjust to the life that comes with it? This is a question that has long fascinated us, given that this is the culture that has started to be born around the world thanks to the internet and social media. It used to be that your music could catch fire over months or even years, and you could slowly start to become a big name. Now, one single or one show can make all the difference for an artist. Lorde has experienced that recently with the success of “Royals,” and James Arthur is still going through the adjustment following the time on “The X Factor” UK.
What remains so interesting about James’ story is that this is a guy who has admitted to troubles in his past, finds fame, and then somehow fans are shocked to discovered that there are still troubles the remain. While James may be fully culpable in saying a slur that drew the ire of many equality groups across Britain, what is equally surprising is the public’s sudden sense of shock that someone who became a near-instant star said something they consider offensive, given that this is probably something that they grew up with and perceived a different way.
We bring all of this up in the context of some comments from Arthur’s sister Sian to the Mirror, where she suggests that her brother is actually far more miserable than you would think for a celebrity in his position:
“Sometimes I wish he’d never won X Factor. Despite having what he’s always wanted he says he feels like a caged animal surrounded by yes-men and is really lonely … We’ve been so worried about him this week – he’s been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. He put it really simply to me, he said: ‘Fame has mentally broken me.'”
What all of this really shows to us above anything else is that while reality television may be appealing, and while James may have been great through most of its time on “The X Factor” last year, it is probably not for everyone. It may have been better in some ways for James to be in second or third place on this past season; even if he still may have said the same offensive remark, it may have been easier for both him and the rest of the public to get over it.
The lesson that really comes out of this is that if you want to go on a singing show, be aware that everything you say or do will be scrutinized, from the words you say to what you wear. And even though you may have millions of fans, there may only be a select few who can truly understand what you’re going through.