Arthur, who won Simon Cowell’s TV singing contest in 2012, suggested Zayn’s vocal ad libs in particular are influenced by his own.
He told The Sun: “I think Justin Bieber and Zayn have both been listening to me a lot and they basically wanna be me. There’s a couple of tracks of Zayn’s where he ad libs. I asked Louis Tomlinson whether he’s been listening to me and he said ‘Yeah, he’s been lurking’.”
Arthur, who scored a comeback Number One hit last year with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, also suggested that Ed Sheeran has benefited from family “support” in reaching the top.
“I’m not saying none of these guys are talented, but people think Ed Sheeran crawled off a couch and lived on the street or something but him, Ellie Goulding they all come from Suffolk, Surrey, Richmond . . . they come from support.”
He continued: “I think Sam Smith’s dad got a huge loan or something to help his career. Those things can help artists get attention but I guess my song ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ proved it’s about the song.”
Having been dropped by Simon Cowell’s Syco Records, Arthur experienced a resurgence last year after he re-signed to the same label. Comeback hit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ reached Number One in the UK and his latest album ‘Back From The Edge’ also reached the top spot.
Read more: James Arthur’s rise, fall and rise again
The singer made headlines in 2013 for making homophobic comments when he became embroiled in a feud with rapper Micky Worthless. He later apologised and said he was ‘extremely disappointed in himself’.
Last year, Arthur also opened about the extent of his ‘suicidal feelings’ following his career slump and exit from Cowell’s label.