Few songwriter/producers balance musicality and inspiration in the studio as effortlessly as James Bryan. Hailed as one of Canada's top guitarists, James has the ability to make an artist feel both relaxed and empowered to create great music, and his track record with Nelly Furtado, Yuna, Backstreet Boys, Olly Murs, Luis Fonsi and many more have proven the success of his approach. "With anyone I work with, my goal is to find what makes them unique and nurture that until it shines bright enough for the whole world to see and hear."
James is a consummate musician who draws on his diverse background that includes jazz, soul, flamenco and samba to inform his approach to making great pop music. Not only does he attract clients from every corner of the globe, James has also performed on stages from Wembley Stadium to Madison Square Garden. These experiences translate into an organic workflow in the studio; whether playing guitar, bass, piano or programming drums, James gives the artist the freedom and stability to stay "in the moment" and reach their full potential.
James learned to play piano and drums by ear as a child, but his music career began at the age 9, when he got his first guitar. While studying at the University of Toronto, James and some friends formed the Philosopher Kings, signing his first record deal with Sony at the age of 18. Platinum albums, a Juno award for best new group and tours across North America, Japan and Brazil gave James his first taste of success. His next band, Prozzak, became a pop culture phenomenon in Canada, further proving James' skills as a songwriter and producer.
His reputation for crafting hit songs along with James' instantly recognisable guitar style, began attracting other acts including Fefe Dobson and Nelly Furtado. After playing on her Grammy winning debut "Whoa Nelly" and followup "Folklore", James travelled the world with Nelly on the Loose Tour, including the Princess Diana Memorial Concert at Wembley Stadium in 2007. "The biggest gig of my career!", James shared the stage with Sir Elton John, Pharrell, Rod Stewart, Kanye West and more. Then, James co-wrote and produced songs for Nelly's Latin Grammy winning album Mi Plan, including international hit "Manos Al Aire".
In 2009, James moved from Toronto to London, UK, to work out of Kensaltown Studios, "West London's version of the Brill building" alongside fellow writer/producers Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz), Paul Herman (Dido, Emele Sande) and Sacha Skarbek (Miley Cyrus). "Being in such a creative environment gave me a whole new perspective and really stepped up my game on an international level." James worked with Jessie J, James Morrison, Jason Mraz, James Blunt, Olly Murs, Zaz, Jesse & Joy, Manuel Carrasco, Raleigh Ritchie, Kate Ceberano and more. In 2012, he co-wrote several songs for Lisa Marie Presley's album Storm & Grace, produced by T-Bone Burnett. "Every artist brings a different emotional dynamic into the studio and my role is to find the right balance to be creative. Sometimes I'm a catalyst, sometimes a stabiliser."
James first met Malaysian singer/songwriter Yuna in London, producing and co-writing songs for her debut album, alongside productions by Pharrell Williams. They reunited in Los Angeles in 2013 to work on her followup album, Nocturnal, resulting in the single "Comeback" and earning her an MTV Europe Music Award and World Music Award nods.
Now based in Toronto, James continues to work all over the globe, wherever the music takes him. James sums up his journey simply: "I feel blessed to do what I love and love what I do".