James Arthur, the British singer-songwriter with the powerful hit “Say You Won’t Let Go,” had a relevant secret to reveal before he arrives at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on Saturday night with this year’s Honda Civic Tour.
“I used to be in a screamo band,” said Arthur, calling from a tour stop in Washington, D.C. “I was the biggest Taking Back Sunday fan.”
And Arthur, 29, isn’t kidding. Though, like so many fans of the Long Beach-based rockers, Arthur’s favorite Taking Back Sunday era is their early days, with songs like “Cute Without the ‘E,’ ” he has supported the band through its various incarnations, adding that deep cuts like “ . . . Slowdance on the Inside” and “Little Devotional” are his favorites.
“I like anything with heart,” Arthur said. “But they were my favorite band.”
The Taking Back Sunday influence is actually evident on his recent “Back From the Edge” (Columbia) album, where Arthur taps into his raw emotions on the hit “Say You Won’t Let Go” and its current follow-up, “Can I Be Him.”
Arthur said he had no idea that “Say You Won’t Let Go” would be a hit, reaching No. 1 in the United Kingdom and on Billboard’s Adult Pop chart. “I knew it was a song people would relate to it for sure,” he said. “But I didn’t think it would hit on the scale where I would be traveling around to every place in America.”
The success is sweeter this time for Arthur, who won the British version of “The X Factor” in 2012, because on his new album, he was more in control. “The first album felt a little contrived,” he said. “This album comes from a better place. It’s about my life now. . . . I was just trying to get my character across, get my personality across.”
That’s what Arthur is doing in this current tour, where he is opening for another of his favorite bands, OneRepublic.
“Until now, I’ve mostly headlined my own shows, so it’s sparked a bit of hunger to get people going,” he said. “If people are a little bit mild, I tell them, ‘We’re not at a movie theater, this is a concert’ to get them going. I’m enjoying the challenge.”
WHAT Honda Civic Tour featuring OneRepublic, Fitz & the Tantrums and James Arthur
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Saturday, Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh
INFO $20-$154.50; 516-221-1000, livenation.com