The 'Ghost' hitmaker - who met James, 26, when they appeared on 'The X Factor' together in 2012 - says the 'Impossible' singer was incredibly supportive of her during her time on the show and the subsequent UK tour and treated her like a younger sibling.
She told The Daily Star newspaper: ''I haven't seen [James] probably since we came off The X Factor tour.
''What I do know is that the James I know from the show was like a big brother to me at the time and he was lovely.''
However, the 18-year-old singer hasn't kept in contact with James - who was dropped from his SyCo record label this year after being reprimanded for his use of homophobic lyrics - and believes she doesn't know him well enough anymore to comment on his controversial behaviour.
She explained: ''You know you hear of things that have happened since. I don't really have an opinion on it because I don't know the person he is now.''
Meanwhile, Ella - whose debut single 'Ghost' shot to the top of the charts in June - is looking forward to releasing her second single 'Glow' and her long-anticipated debut album 'Chapter One', which the pretty brunette describes as her ''baby''.
She said: ''It feels like I'm going to give birth to my baby when the album comes out. I've taken two years to write the album.
''Seeing the positive reaction my music has got so far is incredible. I've put my all into it.
''It's mental what's happened in the last 10 weeks. I couldn't be any happier.''
His new album Underneath It All is out now.