James was gifted his first
guitar when he was 10 years old. The beat up instrument came with
a chord book. “Heartbreak hotel” performed by Elvis was
the first song he learned to play before taking lessons six years
later to learn scales. James grew up listening to bands such as My
Chemical Romance and Motley Crue. His musical influences are most
apparent on the sound of his 2011 album Memories of A Beautiful Disaster
because Howard Benson produced it, the man who produced the music
James grew up listening to.
“To me a guitar has a soul and feeling. Some guitars I really
feel at home with and some I don’t when I pick them up to play
them.” His first major guitar purchase was a sunburst Ibanez
that exhibited characteristics similar to a Les Paul. He soon realized
that electric wasn’t the proper fit for him. He sold that guitar
for a Two Step. After his friend gifted him a guitar, he realized
he prefers to write lyrics and rhythms as well as perform with Epiphone
acoustics. When lyrics call for it, he will switch to his Epiphone
Explorer and Prophecy for a heavy sound.
James’s collection of guitars documents his growth as an artist.
His sound has significantly matured since his American Idol days.
His latest single “Parachute” showcases his maturity through
lyrics in the deep bowels of his heart, that let his powerful and
energetic voice shine, accompanied with infectious pop-rock hooks.
According to James, it was a magical experience writing his first
single “Parachute,” off his forthcoming album; CELEBRATE.
“Parachute” is the first new music from James since his
last two singles “Love Me Bad” and “Stand Up”
were released in 2011. “Love Me Bad” cracked the Top 30
at Hot AC/Top 40 radio while the anthemia NFL rock single “Stand
Up” landed in the Top 20. “Stand Up” was an official
NFL anthem used on jumbotrons nationwide during the NFL’s 2011-12
seasons. Both tracks were featured on his debut release Memories Of
A Beautiful Disaster which debuted in the Top 10 on Billboard’s
Rock Album chart and #36 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart.
MOAB has sold over 125,000 copies to date and was named one of Billboard’s
Best Rock Albums of 2012.
At age 25, James is realizing that his music needs to reflect what
his heart is feeling to be successful in a processed manner. He came
to Brentwood, Tennessee to write his latest album. The diversity of
talent performing in the Nashville area sprinkled with his romantic
life kept the magic alive. James will be finishing up a six-week acoustic
tour on February 15th at the Catalyst in his hometown: Santa Cruz,
California and will hit the road again this spring to coincide with
the release of CELEBRATE.