Nates James is a British soul singer / songwriter who released his debut album, Set The Tone, in 2005. The album, heavily influenced by classic soul artists such as Prince and Stevie Wonder, won James widespread critical acclaim and two MOBO nominations for Best Newcomer and Best R&B Artist. The album, penned almost entirely by James, spans a wide variety of music styles, from the bassy R&B of "Set The Tone" and the upbeat pop of "Universal" to classic ballad "Justify Me" and verging on rock influences in "I'll Decline". Nate has worked with several noted songwriters, including Francis White (Will Young's Leave Right Now) on "Universal", David Sneddon and Jamie Hartman (Will Young's All Time Love) on "Justify Me". A Second album is slated for release at some point in 2006, featuring tracks henceforth only performed live, such as "Outta My Head". He has sold out numerous live shows at the Jazz Café in London and many other shows elsewhere, and was a performer at Fruitstock 2005. He has also travelled abroad, finding success in Japan in particular.
One of Britain's most promising soul singer/songwriters, Nate James is also perhaps the most independently spirited. Born on a U.S. Air Force base in Lakenheath in 1979, James grew up listening to his parents' soul music collection, particularly Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, and from an early age began performing cover versions in local clubs in Woodbridge, Suffolk. After abandoning an art foundation course at college to work with London producer Jazz Black, James won a place in five-piece R&B act Notorious, who were filmed for a behind-the-scenes TV show for T4. But due to a label merger, the group was dropped from Warner Records before releasing any material, and James decided to go solo. Signing a songwriting deal with Universal Publishing in 2004, James shrewdly refused to sign away the copyright in his recordings and set up his own Frofunk imprint via various deals with independent labels. His debut album, Set the Tone, featuring collaborations with En Vogue's Dawn Robinson, David Sneddon, and Eg White, was released a year later. Featuring the singles "Universal," "The Message," and the title track, it earned him nominations for Best Newcomer and Best R&B Artist at the 2005 MOBO Awards. After supporting acts including Beverley Knight, Musiq (Soulchild), and Natasha Bedingfield, James embarked on his own tour, playing to sellout crowds in Milan, Tokyo, and Amsterdam. He released his second album, Kingdom Falls, produced in L.A. by the Grammy- winning Neal H. Pogue, in 2007. Influenced by the experience of a charity mission to Rwanda a year earlier, it was funded entirely by the profits from his debut. James has also appeared on records by Poker Pets, Sway, and Natalie Williams, and works as an ambassador for several charities including Shelter, Global Angels, and Youth Music. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi