South Wales born singer, songwriter and performer JAMES FOX is pretty well known around these parts. After being propelled to fame in 2004 when he represented the UK at The Eurovision Song Contest (Hold On To Our Love), James has pretty much done it all.
We spoke to James recently about his new music, and you can watch that interview further on in this feature.
From session musician to theatre star, and all points in between, James has seen the highs, and felt some devastating lows, occasionally simultaneously, and often unbeknown to anyone around him – we’ll get back to that shortly.
James was born in Cardiff and grew up in the village of Gilfach, Bargoed. Music was his passion from an early age inspired by Sting and Billy Joel. At the age of seven he started piano lessons, and later learned to play the guitar and drums.
After leaving Heolddu Comprehensive School, he worked both under his real name (James Richard Mullett) and Nick James as a singer on cruise ships and in pubs and clubs. He then joined up with Kevin Simm and they formed the band Force 5, working mainly on Blackpool’s Golden Mile. Kevin went on to join Liberty X – remember them? James was then signed up as a solo artist, also becoming a backing and support singer for Liberty X, Ultra and Wet Wet Wet.
I think we should take a look at James through the years (and ever changing hairstyles). Sorry James……
In 2003, he took part in the BBC Fame Academy reality show, he didn’t win but came a very respectable 5th. Most importantly, it raised his profile and opened the door to lots of other opportunities.
James has had a couple of Top 20 singles (more to follow we’re sure), appeared both in the West End and on Broadway, playing Paul McCartney in Let It Be and Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. He’s also worked with national treasure and lyricist to the stars, Sir Tim Rice, and supported artists such as Tina Turner and Clare Teal.
In fact, if you ever get to meet James, ask him about the £1 wig he bought from Poundland which led to his role as Sir Paul in Let It Be.
He was presented with a Civilian Service Medal for his work entertaining the Armed Forces in Afghanistan and around the World and has made three performances for Her Majesty The Queen.
Despite all his career success, James has battled with his own personal struggles along the way, becoming consumed by a gambling addiction for many of these years. From singing, smiling and standing on the West End stage in front of daily sell-out crowds, to lying in tears on the hotel bathroom floor, consumed by this crippling addiction.
James has confessed to losing £100,000 gambling – even betting while on stage.
“People were paying £90 a ticket to watch me and the cast sing Beatles hits eight nights a week and I’d be running bets while the show was on.
Twice I even hid my phone behind an amp on the stage and watched my bets between songs.
I’d spend all night on the hotel toilet floor, crying myself to sleep, and then read a newspaper the next day saying: ‘This is the best Paul McCartney you’ll ever see’.”
James is the first to admit how serious the problem can be. No one knows how many deaths are related to gambling each year; but research indicates that there are between 250 and 650 gambling related suicides every year in the UK – that’s a minimum of one every working day.
The charity GAMBLING WITH LIVES is a great place to start for information, they…..
- Support families who have been bereaved by gambling related suicides
- Raise awareness amongst gamblers, their families and friends, and health professionals of the dangerous effects of gambling on mental health and the high suicide risk
Despite all this, James fought his way through, with the support of family and friends, and the one outlet where he could truly express his darkest feelings – his words and music.
He found solace in song-writing, which has subsequently led him on a path of recovery, and resulted in his upcoming album, ‘All The Fours’ (released 5th February).
It really is an amalgamation of all of his life experiences, written during a difficult period in his own life, and the most turbulant 12 months the world has ever faced. This is James’ personal journey through life’s obstacles, shared at a time when both he and the world are on the road to recovery.
The Single really couldn’t come at a better time for the world. Music is clearly a healer for James and once you’ve heard the single, and album, we’re sure you’ll feel the same.
We put a Zoom call in to James to talk about the single and writing the album. We chatted about his Eurovision experience and started with his time in lockdown, which like many of us, meant lost work. There’s also a few memories too for us all in South Wales. Take a look at the full interview below.
The Rest of Our Lives is the new single from James. Following up on the success of Fire & Coal. You’ve seen the video in the interview but if you’d like to watch it again, just turn up the sound, and press play.
On the writing of the track, James said,
“This is a feel-good, guitar-driven love song, that speaks of new beginnings, love, hope and making plans for the future, something I think can resonate with all of us just now.”
With influences of Rock, Country, Blues and Folk, James Fox’s diverse, guitar-driven album was written, performed and produced by James at his home studio in London during last Summer and Autumn. He plays every instrument on the album besides the drums, which were played by long-time friend, Mike Sorrentino, in Long Island NYC.
You can download or stream ‘The Rest of Our Lives‘ right now, as for the album – ‘All The Fours‘ contains 12 tracks all written, performed and produced by James and will be available worldwide on 5th February.
And you can keep in touch with James below.