About Jo James
A singer and songwriter from Austin, Texas, Jo James has earned his reputation with warm, passionate music that's a vehicle for his richly soulful vocals. James' music is steeped in the influences of vintage soul and R&B, with traces of blues and funk, a feel that's organic, a confident delivery, and the need to love and be loved. James let the grooves take the lead on his 2019 release Midnight Dealin', while romance and commitment were the cornerstones of 2020's Back Home.
Jo James was born and raised in California, and he grew up in a family devoted to music. His father was the pastor at a church, and he got his start as a musician playing in their worship band. After graduating from high school, James attended the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, and became a fixture on the L.A. scene, playing guitar and bass as a sideman for a number of artists. Initially, James was reluctant to front his own band, but after a significant weight loss and the support of his wife, he started recording his own music.
Eager to explore a new creative community, James and his wife visited Austin, Texas, and soon fell in love with the city, where he felt at home in its well-respected music scene. The couple settled in Austin, and Jo soon began playing out regularly in his new home town. In 2018, James issued a five-song EP simply titled Jo James, and in early 2019, he released a six-song collection, Midnight Dealin'. Later in 2019, James found a new audience when he appeared on the talent competition show The Voice, covering the Lenny Kravitz tune "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over." James wasn't chosen by any of the judges, but John Legend praised his "great raw talent' and his "lovely" vocals, while Blake Shelton said he loved his voice. His audition performance was posted online, and racked up over 400,000 views. As James seemed poised for greater success, he faced a crisis when his wife was struck with a severe case of ulcerative colitis. As James devoted himself to caring for her, he began writing new songs and recording them at home, and the result was 2020's Back Home, a six-song EP of songs focusing on love and devotion. ~ Mark Deming