James has suggested that Zayn, as well as Justin Bieber, are trying to imitate his success.
After a poor performing album following his X Factor win in 2012, James burst back last year with a chart topping record.
And he told The Sun newspaper:“I think Justin Bieber and Zayn have both been listening to me a lot and they basically wanna be me."
James claimed: “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’.”
Billed as The Comeback of the Year by many, James’s run of success shows no sign of slowing down through 2017. He launches his next single later this month and hits the USA again for performances on The Ellen DeGeneres show and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
James said: "For this album I had to be vulnerable and honest to let people know I’m not such a bad guy.
"I think the perception was I was this f***ing bad boy who wears socks . . . but I was so f***** up all the time.”