James was born in Melbourne. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts he was a Victoria State Opera Young Artist and was awarded the Opera Foundation Australia German Operatic Award (which gave him a contract at Oper Köln in the Opera Studio), Dame Joan Sutherland Scholarship, Tait Memorial Trust Scholarship, Australian Opera Auditions Committee Scholarship, Australian Musical Foundation London grant: American Institute of Musical Studies Scholarship and a Bayreuth Bursary.
Companies he has worked for include: Victoria State Opera; Melbourne Opera: Opera Australia; Siegmund (cover); Meistersingers Ltd; Pocket Opera Nürnberg (Der Ring in einem Abend arr. David Seaman) at the Covent Garden and Bath Festival; Cambridge University Opera Society (Bill, Maschinist Hopkins at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Brand; Der Mann Schwergewicht, Krenek; and The Mayor Der Held, Mosolov); UCL Opera (The King, The King and the Marshal, [Drot og Mask], Heise). Siegfried/ Siegmund (cover) Longborough Festival Opera; Siegfried & Götterdämmerung Edinburgh Players Opera Group (recorded) and Bacchus Ariadne auf Naxos with Abbey Opera at St Johns’ Smith Square.
James has an extensive concert and recital repertoire, including Verdi’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Beethoven Ninth Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijahand Bach’s Weinacht Oratorium; Song repertoire includes Winterreise, Die schöne Müllerin (Schubert) and Dichterliebe, Liederkreis (Schumann). Brahms Vier ernste Gesänge, ButterworthShropshire Lad and Vaughan William’s Songs of Travel.