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James Arthur

Album James Arthur

Story of Song

“Impossible” was originally written for and performed by Barbadian Pop and R&B singer Shontelle. Shontelle told J-14 Magazinethat: “I really felt like ballads were missing from radio for a minute, and I knew that there was no song out there for heartbroken people. I just wanted to put a song out that gave people hope — things may not work out the way you want them to, but you can move past it and everything is going to be okay. I know that a lot of people have a similar story and sometimes you need to feel like you’re not alone. I knew that I might have to tell embarrassing stories about myself, but I might help someone realize ‘Okay, if Shontelle can figure it out, then I’ll be alright.’ It’s not the end of the world — you can move on, and this song is going to help you find the strength somehow.” James Arthur covered “Impossible” in the ninth season of the X Factor final, and released the song for sale after he was declared the season’s winner. Profits from all CD sales and downloads of the song goes to the charity Together for Short Lives, a charity that works with children with conditions that threaten or limit their lives.

Release date

Released on December 9, 2012


Arnthor Birgisson – Ina Wroldsen


Syco – Sony Music

Chart Rankings

Sales for James Arthur’s cover of “Impossible” were over 187,000 during its first 24 hours on sale, making James X Factor history with him being the winner with the fastest sales. James’ cover of “Impossible” debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, and earned the largest first week sales for that year, also becoming the best selling single of 2012 in the Republic of Ireland. “Impossible” was the Christmas number one for 2012. Besides the UK and Ireland, “Impossible” also reached number one in Czech Republic, Greece, Luxembourg Digital Songs, Scotland, and Slovakia, and reached the top ten in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal Digital Songs, Spain, and Switzerland. It was certified 4x Platinum in Australia, 3x Platinum in New Zealand, 2x Platinum in Switzerland, 2x Platinum in the United Kingdom, Platinum in Belgium, Germany, and Sweden, and Gold in Austria, France, Italy, and Spain.  The song was also certified Gold in Spain for Streaming.

Artist’s age on release date

James Arthur was 24 years old at the release of “Impossible”

Cover Versions

“Impossible” was covered by Ed Sheeran; The Make Believe; Adriana Miglane; Ricardo Bielecki & Daniel Neumann; Frank Diago (Gipsy); Mike Singer & Nicole Frolov; BASE Boyband; Sabrina; Sweet California; K Koke in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge; Omar Dean; LUNAFLY;  Laurene & Louis, Tom Jay Williams; and James & FJ (Rock).

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Impossible by James Arthur

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