Brendan James

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Brendan James
Brendan James
Background information
Born (1979-07-17) 17 July 1979 (age 39)
Nashua, New Hampshire, United States
Origin Derry, New Hampshire, United States
Genres Soft rock, pop rock, folk rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active2007–present
Labels Decca Records

Brendan James is an American, piano-based singer/songwriter from Derry, New Hampshire. [1] [2] [3] James spent his early music career playing at New York City open mics before he signed to Capitol Records in 2005. At Capitol he spent a year and a half recording his debut album, but was dropped before its release during the Capitol Records/Virgin Records merger in 2007. After leaving Capitol, he self-produced and released an EP, The Ballroom Break-in. He signed to Decca Records in 2008 and has released two studio albums with the label. His debut album, The Day is Brave , was released in 2008, while his self-titled second album, Brendan James , came out in 2010. He has toured nationally to support the albums, including tours with artists such as Jason Reeves, John Mayer, Tyrone Wells, Matt White, [4] and Amber Rubarth.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Singer-songwriter musician who writes, composes and sings

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies.

Derry, New Hampshire Place in New Hampshire, United States

Derry is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 33,109 at the 2010 census. Although it is a town and not a city, Derry is the fourth most-populous community in the state. The town's nickname, "Spacetown", derives from the fact that Derry is the birthplace of Alan Shepard, the first astronaut from the United States in space. Derry was also for a time the home of the poet Robert Frost and his family.


Early life

James was born Brendan James Ernst in Nashua, New Hampshire on 17 July 1979, to parents Patricia and Randy, and is of Irish and German descent. [5] He moved to Derry, New Hampshire, when he was four and, after the divorce of his parents, alternated living between Derry and nearby Manchester, New Hampshire. [6] [7] James had an early interest in performing and singing, leading him to perform in school plays and musicals while growing up. He attended high school at Pinkerton Academy in Derry. [8] After the death of a friend's mother, James sang "Candle in the Wind" at her funeral with a local music teacher he knew, Kevin Kandel, accompanying him on piano. [5] [9] The collaboration began a friendship between the two and Kandel helped spur James's interest in music. [10]

Nashua, New Hampshire City in New Hampshire, United States

Nashua is a city in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census, Nashua had a population of 86,494, making it the second-largest city in the state after Manchester. As of 2017 the population had risen to an estimated 88,341.

Irish people Ethnic group with Celtic and other roots, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture

The Irish are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people. Viking invasions of Ireland during the 8th to 11th centuries established the cities of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought a large number of English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland and the smaller Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

Manchester, New Hampshire largest city in New Hampshire

Manchester is a city in the southern part of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It is the most populous city in northern New England, an area comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. As of the 2010 census the city had a population of 109,565, up slightly to 111,196 in a 2017 estimate. The combined Manchester-Nashua Metropolitan Area had a 2010 population of 400,721.

Music career

1998-2002: University of North Carolina & Los Angeles

After graduating high school James went on to attend college at the University of North Carolina, beginning with a major in Voice before switching to Communications. [11] During breaks from school he would head back to Derry and meet up with Kandel, who persuaded James to learn an instrument. [8] James began teaching himself piano at the age of 19 and also started writing and composing songs. [3] [8] Back at the University of North Carolina, James joined the Clef Hangers, an a cappella group. [2] [8] With the Clef Hangers he would sing solo covers of "I Can't Make You Love Me", "Father Figure", and "Die Without You," songs that were later released on compilation CDs from the group. [12] During his Junior year of college, wanting to pursue a career in music, he left UNC and went to Hollywood. He earned school credits during the stay on the condition that he accept an internship at a business related to his Communications degree. [13] While living in Los Angeles, [14] he played at a club called The Crooked Bar (located underneath the Coconut Teaszer), while working on songs and performing. [5] When his internship ended he returned to the University of North Carolina to complete his Communications degree, which he obtained in 2002. [1] [2] [15]

University of North Carolina public university system throughout North Carolina, USA

The University of North Carolina is a multi-campus public university system composed of all 16 of North Carolina's public universities, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation's first public residential high school for gifted students. Commonly referred to as the University of North Carolina System or the UNC System to differentiate it from the original campus in Chapel Hill, the university has a total enrollment of over 183,001 students and in 2008 conferred over 75% of all baccalaureate degrees in North Carolina. UNC campuses conferred 43,686 degrees in 2008–2009, the bulk of which were at the bachelor's level, with 31,055 degrees awarded.

A cappella music is specifically group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It contrasts with cantata, which is usually accompanied singing. The term "a cappella" was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato style. In the 19th century a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music. The term is also used, albeit rarely, as a synonym for alla breve.

I Cant Make You Love Me 1991 Bonnie Raitt song

"I Can't Make You Love Me" is a song written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin and recorded by American singer Bonnie Raitt for her eleventh studio album Luck of the Draw (1991). Released as the album's third single in 1991, "I Can't Make You Love Me" became one of Raitt's most successful singles, reaching the top-20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the top-10 on the Adult Contemporary.

2003-06: Early New York & Capitol Records

After graduation from college, James had planned to return to Los Angeles and focus on his music career, even paying a rent deposit for an LA apartment. However, he changed his plans and decided to move to New York City following a day visit to the city. He worked at a job at Urban Outfitters [1] [6] to support himself. He held that job for the next three years [8] while also performing at open mikes in the East Village. [10] [16] Around this time he also began breaking into various hotels, ballrooms and schools in order to use a piano to practice with pianos so he could practice. [3] [17] In 2003 he partnered with his still-current manager Ben Singer, [18] a former classmate James had met at UNC. [5] Ben helped him record a demo that eventually made its way to Carly Simon, [1] [2] [19] who invited James to come and record a song with her. The song, "Let the River Run", would play at the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. [11]

Urban Outfitters Multinational retail chain founded in the United States

Urban Outfitters, Inc. is an American multinational lifestyle retail corporation headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It operates in the United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel and Pakistan. The Urban Outfitters brand targets young adults with a merchandise mix of women's and men's fashion apparel, footwear, beauty and accessories, activewear and gear, and housewares, as well as music, primarily vinyl records and cassettes. Much of the merchandise is designed and produced by the company's wholesale division on multiple private labels.

East Village, Manhattan Neighborhood in Manhattan in New York City

The East Village is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly defined as the neighborhood east of the Bowery and Third Avenue, between 14th Street on the north and Houston Street on the south.

Carly Simon American singer-songwriter, musician and author

Carly Elisabeth Simon is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and children's author. She first rose to fame in the 1970s with a string of hit records; her 13 Top 40 U.S. hits include "Anticipation", "You Belong To Me", "Coming Around Again", and her four Gold certified singles "Jesse", "Mockingbird", "You're So Vain", and "Nobody Does It Better" from the 1977 James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me.

In 2005 James would record another demo, this time professionally produced by Tony Bruno in Woodstock, New York [20] at the Millbrook Sound Studio. The demo caught the interest of major labels and James did a showcase at The Living Room in New York City for various record companies. After the showcase, James was invited to Los Angeles to play for Capitol Records CEO Andrew Slater. [5] Slater signed him to a record deal and James spent the next year and a half working on his debut album, recording with producers Tony Bruno and Patrick Leonard. Production of the album was wrought with difficulties: re-recording, disagreements over artistic direction and waiting on record label decisions extended the production. [5] After re-recording the album with a new producer, it was almost ready to be released when James was dropped from Capitol Records following the merger and takeover of Capitol by Virgin Records. [21] James, along with many other artists, was dismissed from the newly merged label, but was allowed the keep his master tapes and was given a severance package. [2] [10] [22]

Tony Bruno American sports announcer

Tony Bruno is an American sports talk radio personality from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a 40-year sports radio veteran, having worked for national American sports broadcasters including ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Premiere and Sporting News Radio.

Woodstock, New York Town in New York, United States

Woodstock is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 5,884 at the 2010 census, down from 6,241 at the 2000 census. Woodstock is in the northern part of the county, northwest of Kingston, and lies within the borders of the Catskill Park.


An audition is a sample performance by an actor, singer, musician, dancer or other performer. It typically involves the performer displaying their talent through a previously memorized and rehearsed solo piece or by performing a work or piece given to the performer at the audition or shortly before. In some cases, such as with a model or acrobat, the individual may be asked to demonstrate a range of professional skills. Actors may be asked to present a monologue. Singers will perform a song in a popular music context or an aria in a Classical context. A dancer will present a routine in a specific style, such as ballet, tap dance or hip-hop, or show his or her ability to quickly learn a choreographed dance piece.

2007–08: The Ballroom Break-In, The Day Is Brave and Decca Records

Still living in New York, James used and built upon the music he developed and recorded at Capitol, working to release the album himself. He recorded material from the Capitol album with Los Angeles-based producer Mikal Blue, [17] [23] turning it into James's self-released EP, The Ballroom Break-In, in 2007. [24] The title of the EP was based on his early days in New York City, when he broke into venues in order to practice playing and writing songs on a piano. [24] After the release of the EP, Tomas Young, a paralyzed Iraq War veteran, heard one of its songs, "Hero's Song," on iTunes. [25] [26] Young picked the song to be on a soundtrack of a documentary of his life, called Body of War. [1] Music from his EP was also used in television shows, including "The Sun Will Rise" which appeared on the ABC drama Private Practice in 2007. [27] James and Blue quickly followed up The Ballroom Break-in with the full-length album, The Day Is Brave . [7] The album used most of the material from the EP and some of the Capitol songs, but also contained new material James had written. As his EP's exposure grew, including a feature on Perez Hilton, [28] James again gained the interest of major record labels. In 2008 he signed with Decca Records.

Iraq War War which started on 20 March 2003, based in Iraq

The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first three to four years of conflict. In 2009, official US troops were withdrawn, but American soldiers continued to remain on the ground fighting in Iraq, hired by defence contractors and private military companies. The U.S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush following the unrelated September 11 terrorist attacks.

Veteran person who served in a countrys armed forces, especially those persons who served in a countrys armed forces during a period of war

A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field. A military veteran is a person who has served and is no longer serving in the armed forces. Those veterans that have had direct exposure to acts of military conflict may also be referred to as war veterans. A combat veteran is a person who has fought in combat during a war or a skirmish against a declared enemy and may still be serving in the military.

iTunes media player and library software

iTunes is a media player, media library, Internet radio broadcaster, and mobile device management application developed by Apple Inc. It was announced on January 9, 2001. It is used to play, download, and organize digital multimedia files, including music and video, on personal computers running the macOS and Windows operating systems. Content must be purchased through the iTunes Store, whereas iTunes is the software letting users manage their purchases.

Decca Records released Brendan James's debut album, The Day Is Brave on 3 June 2008, in the United States, and on 17 June 2008 in Canada. It debuted on the Top 10 Billboard Heatseeker Charts, with Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly [29] praising his debut effort. The album's single was "Green" and a music video was produced for the song. [30] James initially toured regionally to support the album, headlining his own shows and also opening for artists such as Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend, Susan Tedeschi, The Fray, and Robert Cray. At the end of 2008 James went on his first national tour, headlining on the MTV SoundTRACKER Tour. [24] [31]

2009-2011: Brendan James

Writing for James's second album began in early 2009 after the MTV Soundtracker Tour had ended. James moved from New York City to Los Angeles, where he is currently based, after having spent much time there in the past few years. [32] Writing and production lasted for the next year and James said the second album was "far more difficult to write than my first." He traveled to London to make the album but the production work done there was scrapped. [5] He eventually started working with producer Warren Huart back in Los Angeles and finished the album there. [33] During the creation of his second album James embarked on more touring, including notable tours with John Mayer's Mayercraft Carrier 2 in March 2009 [19] and one sponsored by scooter-maker Vespa in May 2009. The Vespa-sponsored "green tour" with Jason Reeves and Amber Rubarth saw them traveling the California Coast on Vespa scooters while focusing on environmental friendliness. [24] [34] James was also getting his songs on more television shows, like So You Think You Can Dance , Bones and Army Wives . [10]

James's second album, the self-titled Brendan James , was completed in 2010 released on 7 September 2010. The album debuted at #93 on the Billboard 200, making it more successful than his previous album. [35] The album's single was "The Fall" and again a music video was made, this time featuring Melissa Ordway as the female lead. [36] The song "Stupid for Your Love" was also available for free on James's website as part of the album promotion. Touring to support the album continued through 2010 and into early 2011, with a notable tour with musician Matt White. [4]

2012: Hope In Transition

In November 2011 James announced via his Twitter account that he was planning on releasing a new album of 10 songs in February 2012. This was pushed back to July 2012. [37]

The new album, Hope In Transition was produced by Max Coane, with additional tracks produced by Julian Coryell. Engineering by Bill Mims, Chandler Harrod, Max Coane, and Jeff Hannan. Mixing by Jeff Hannan, Max Coane, and Erich Gobel. The album was mastered by Gavin Lurssen assisted by Reuben Cohen. [38]

Hope in Transition was released on 10 July 2012 via Rock Ridge Music. [39]

2013: Kickstarter Campaign and New Album

Brendan opened for Tyrone Wells on his US tour during March and April 2013. [40] On March 19, 2013, Brendan James announced a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to promote his new album, which he said was "almost done". He described it as "a 12 song album, traditionally recorded live with my touring band, and inspired by the style of my idols - James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and others." As of March 26, 2013, he had raised $26,139 of his $20,000 goal in only 10 days, with 15 days still left in the funding period, with a total of $33,948 raised at the conclusion of the funding period. [41]

The album, titled "Simplify", was released on August 6,

2018:Wish You Well [42] is Brendan's latest single which was released on April 23, 2018 by Lot 100 Productions ASIN: B07CBCNVQ3. It was featured in the Australian TV soap 'Neighbours' on April 03, 2019 in the UK.

Musical Styles & Influences

James is a singer/songwriter with a piano-based style. He cites taking inspiration from 1970s artists James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder, as well as more current artists like Ryan Adams and Death Cab For Cutie. [23]



YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
Billboard 200
U.S. DigitalU.S. Rock
2008 The Day is Brave

9 [43]
2010 Brendan James

93 [35]
2012Hope In Transition


  • Released: 6 August 2013
  • Label: Lot 100 Productions/Noble Steed Music
  • Format: CD, digital download


YearTitleChart positionsAlbum
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. Heatseekers Songs
2008"Green"The Day Is Brave
2010"The Fall"Brendan James


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