Having picked up clarinet and saxophone at an early age, James pursued jazz studies at Capilano University. During his time at Cap, he had the opportunity to study privately with some of the top jazz saxophonists in Vancouver (including Mike Allen, Chad Makela, and Steve Kaldestad). While focusing his time on the tenor and alto saxophones, James also played baritone saxophone in the Capilano University A Band under the direction of Brad Turner, and had the opportunity to perform alongside internationally renowned jazz artists such as Claudio Roditi, Jason Marsalis, and Karrin Allyson.
James' love of music was never limited to jazz. He founded the rock band No Island in 2009 with four fellow musicians from Capilano. No Island has toured all across Canada in the years since, and released their first full-length studio album Better Days in 2015.
Also active in Vancouver's ska scene, James joined local legends Los Furios in 2011. Having toured western Canada and Mexico with the band, James is also featured on two albums and two singles from the Furios.
James graduated from Capilano University in 2012 with a B.Mus in Jazz Studies (Education Stream), and from UBC with a B.Ed in 2017. In addition to being a music teacher in the public school system, James is currently still a member of No Island and Los Furios, as well as an ongoing private music instructor, clinician, and freelance musician.