James was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at seventeen where he studied with with Kenneth Bowen. He won many singing prizes and developed a busy concert schedule. He took part in Master-Classes with Robert Tear, Luigi Alva, James Bowman and Tom Krause.
James took the title role of Don Giovanni in the inaugural production of the joint faculty between the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, and after gaining a Dip. RAM sang four major roles as a post-graduate including the part of Faber in “The Knot Garden” by Sir Michael Tippett. After leaving the Academy James was sponsored by the Countess of Munster Trust to continue his studies with Yvonne Minton, CBE.
Concerts include Mahler song cycles with orchestra, Don Giovanni with Sir Colin Davis, Faure’s Requiem in Cardiff Cathedral, Beethoven's 9th Symphony in the Barbican, Brahms Requiem in St John's Smith Square and numerous performances in St Martin-in-the-Fields including Bach's Cantata 82. James returned to the role of Don Giovanni with British Youth Opera at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
James spent two years in Germany, where he studied for the prestigious Konzert Examen at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. In Germany he concentrated predominantly on the Lieder repertoire, giving song recitals on live radio. He also sang the title role in Mendelssohn's Elijah in both Germany and England. Since returning to the UK he has extended his busy concert schedule and now regularly performs at St.Martin-in-the Fields, and for choral societies throughout the country, including Finzi's “Let us Garlands bring” with String Orchestra and “Messiah” in Blackburn Cathedral.
He has recently performed Lieder recitals at the Petersham Festival and appeared in concerts with the Gramophone award winning Maggini Quartet and the acclaimed recorder player Michaela Petri.
James’ vocal range is large and he has successfully sung the tenor parts in Bach's Magnificat and Mozart’s C minor Mass in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. He recently repeated this metamorphosis to great acclaim when, booked as the bass soloist, he stepped in to also sing the tenor part of the Messiah at St.Martin-in-the Fields, when the tenor soloist was taken ill during the performance. His versatility also extends into the jazz field as both singer and trombonist.