X FACTOR winner James Arthur has praised his 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.
Arthur said he had his own material ready to go and as soon as he could get in the studio he would record it.
He told ITV’S Daybreak: “I am 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, and said: “Thank you for the unconditional love and support.
“Without them I may not have got this far, ’cos I am 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, 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 interviews from a five-star suite in a hotel in Manchester, but remained down-to-earth by eating a McDonald’s for lunch.
He said: “I did not have any money before this and now hopefully I will make a little bit.
“I am 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.
“The contrast in lifestyles is huge.”
Arthur said the show’s critics, who said falling ratings showed the public had fallen out of love with Simon Cowell’s creation, were wrong.
He said the aftermath of Sunday’s show was manic, but that 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, mother Shirley, and sisters Sian, 26, Jasmin, 18, Charlotte, 18, and Neve, 12.
He said he was determined to seize his chance of fame and not sink without a trace like some of X Factor’s past winners.
He will be at HMV, in Middlesbrough’s Cleveland Centre tomorrow to sign copies of his winner’s single.
The event will be a wristband- only event, limited to 600 people. Wristbands will be available from 8am tomorrow.