Having picked up clarinet and saxophone at an early age, James pursued jazz studies at Capilano University after graduating high school. 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). James also played baritone saxophone in the Capilano University A Band under the direction of Brad Turner during the final year of his degree, and had the opportunity to perform alongside internationally renowned jazz artists such as Claudio Roditi, Jason Marsalis, and Karrin Allyson.
James' love of music, however, 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, with the most recent highlight being the release of 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 BMus in Jazz Studies (Education Stream), and as of September 2016 began studying as a teacher candidate for secondary-level music at UBC's B.Ed program. Currently he is a still a member of No Island and Los Furios, as well as working as a private music instructor, clinician, and freelance musician.