James chose "Words To Life" as the lead track because it resonates so strongly for him personally. He shares, "The entire premise of 'Words to Life' is seeing the good things in the world and trying to make others see that same good, and to follow their dreams to a better life. The line, they taught you life in black and white, but we can dream outside the lines , is my favorite. It is about breaking free from the 'norm' of society and going out on a limb and following your dreams."
James has been a touring artist for several years. Following his appearance on season three of The Voice, he paused and committed diligence to reaching a place of realized vision. Looking back on the experience he reflects, "When you are on a television singing show you get lost in the shuffle most times. I was not nearly as confident then as I am now, and although I knew what/who I wanted to be creatively, I did not know how to achieve those goals. The Voice moves so quickly. Looking back, it was only a quick moment. Over the last two years I have learned so much, not only about myself as an artist, but about the music business itself. I learned to make music that I respected and loved. You cannot go into recording an album thinking 'will the public like this?'. That was always my mistake. I wanted to be like other artists instead of finding myself and being true to my own music. Looking forward in to the future, I can honestly share that I found the balance of the music of my heroes which include John Mayer, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, and my own music. I am committed to staying true to myself, and if you aren't happy with your music, than nobody else will be. I finally found myself, and this record reflects that."
From the moment James saw Dave Matthews Band at Gillette Stadium in Boston at the age of 13, he knew he wanted to be a performer. He recalls, "Matthews really resonated with me growing up. His lyrics, his guitar style. I learned how to play guitar by locking myself in my room and playing along to his albums. I never had any formal lessons, and I did everything by ear. Some of his early work really shaped the way that I hear and feel music." He also points to his father as having an influence. As a pianist and singer, the home James grew up in was filled with music, with James Taylor, Bob Dylan, REM, Neil Young and others being the soundtrack of his youth. They would sit for hours in front of his big Boston Acoustics stereo and listen to albums. As he looks further back, he shared, "It is crazy how much of the early music I heard, even at age 7 or 8, finds its way back into my writing. The music was pure, it was real. It wasn't some contrived thing made to sell units or to be on the Billboard 100. The people coming out of that stereo really meant what they said, and wrote songs for the love of music. Their artistry impacts me daily to live with that intent of taking my playing, whether it be on guitar, piano, banjo, bass or mandolin, and not a waste a word or note in expressing something real that I hope with sincerity resonated with those that come across my music. It has been a long road, with a lot of twists and turns. For all of my fans that have waited so patiently for these recordings to see light, I thank each and every one of you. The time has finally come to take steps in to the future."