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Nate James

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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