Australia has a habit of stealing ideas or people from other countries, putting a shiny Made in Australia sticker on them and claiming them as our own, and, like true siblings, we’ve reached over the Tasman Sea on several occasions for products to sell from our ‘sister country’. The sweet fluffy cloud of sugar that is the pavlova, and the New Zealand invented, Australian branded flat white with a side of OUR delicious treat, the lamington. We stole horses with Phar Lap and seized a Gladiator with Russell Crowe, and sometimes we even try our luck with royal songstress, Lorde. Heck, we even blanket the whole country as our own. Joining the claim clan is busker turned pop star, Mitch James.
We now have good reason to call James our own. James has just signed a record deal across to Sony Music Australia and at time of publishing just moved to Sydney! He also collaborated with our own national treasures, 2003 and 2009 Australian Idol winners, Guy Sebastian and Stan Walker respectively, in their production effort DNA, for the latest release of ‘Sunday Morning’.
“I love writing songs with the DNA guys. They are so underrated that it’s unbelievable. They’re incredible and I feel like they’re world-class songwriters. Being in Sydney will be great to just have access to it all,” James explains.
“Basically in New Zealand with my label it reached a point where we were just butting the ceiling and the Australian office has been super supportive and making me a priority and in comparison they have unlimited resources and networks. It made sense! I have nothing but love for the team back home but it’s just the right time to move on a move forward to a new challenge and be this small fish in this big pond, and keep working hard and hopefully the same thing happens as it did back home.”
It seems like James always had international intensions, particularly given his extraordinary origin story, one that hasn’t been fabricated by record labels as a cash-grab. The story goes that at 14 years old, James learnt guitar by studying YouTube tutorials, and at 17 years old with only a $20 bill in his pocket, he boarded a one-way ticket to London. A rocky start saw James busking on, and eventually living on, the streets of cold London, getting mugged and beaten and almost giving up on his dream. That is until a YouTube video of James busking caught the eye of New Zealand artist Maala who shared it with the A&R rep for Sony Music New Zealand. Returning home to a record deal, James has gone straight to the top touring with Ed Sheeran and Six60, his debut album hit the top of the New Zealand charts and garnered over 100 million streams, receiving a Gold certification in New Zealand, and he was nominated in the MTV Europe Music Awards for Best New Zealand Act. Impressive!
“It’s almost that I felt too comfortable. I love New Zealand so much but I’ve always had these international intentions. I don’t just want to be that New Zealand guy who just does well at home and nowhere else. It was tough and I almost gave up several times but I want to take on the world and I think Australia is the next natural progression.”
He already has big plans with the Australian label including a studio album and national touring.
“I’ve written it all and just waiting to get into the studio with whoever is going to produce it. I feel like it’s 10 times better than the first record,” James boasts.
We expect nothing less from this star!
Listen to ‘Sunday Morning’ by Mitch James now on all good streaming services.
Written by Tammy Walters