James Arthur thinks he's been a ''tortured soul''.

The 29-year-old singer-songwriter went voluntarily into foster care during his youth, where he taught himself to play the guitar, and James admits he's poured much of his heartache into his music over the years.

He confessed: ''I've been a tortured soul. I've been through a lot of heartache so I definitely put that in my music.

''It's where I express it the best. That's the thing I rely on the most.''

James explained that while being in foster care was an intimidating experience at times, he believes it also helped to make him a more resillient character.

Speaking to the BBC, he shared: ''It was a bit scary. I lived with a lady who'd taken up fostering children and they were always fairly troubled kids.

''There was a lot of tension because you'd be fighting a lot and looking over your shoulder. And I just wanted to be back with my sisters and my family.

''But it probably toughened me up in a good way. I learnt the value of family through that.''

As well as recording music, James is also an ambassador for the mental health charity Sane.

And the former winner of the UK 'X Factor' has admitted to being ''baffled'' by the music industry's attitude towards the issue.

James - who previously suffered from panic attacks and suicidal thoughts - reflected: ''In sport, they have sports psychologists to get these people ready for the big games and big crowds, and getting scrutinised by the newspapers.

''Whereas in the music business you don't really have a lot people keeping your head right. They seem happy to see people suffering. It's mad.''