B I O G R A P H Y
There aren't that many musicians that can claim as diverse and fruitful musical career as James Graham. His work as song-writer and musical director in the internationally acclaimed soul group Hannah Williams and the Affirmations is a testament to this. The group's debut album saw them reach Grammy nominating status when they collaborated with the hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z on his album title track 4:44. Since then, James' song writing and direction has taken the group across Europe multiple times, Asia and North America. Some career highlights include headlining Montreal Jazz Festival, Blue Note Tokyo, Ronnie Scotts, North Sea Jazz Festival, Brooklyn Bowl, also performing alongside legends such as Charles Bradley, David Byrne, Anderson Paak and Sharon Jones.
James' musical roots in fact lie in the classical sphere, where from a very young age he composed works for the piano. At the age of 17 he composed a concerto for piano and chamber string ensemble. Whilst studying at Leeds University he won the university's Silent Film Competition with his concerto 'A Life In The Night' which was performed in the main University Concert Hall by a 40 piece orchestra. Since then he has composed a wide range of works from extensive minimalist and expressionist pieces to traditional waltzes, lullabies, and sonatas. He has been commissioned to write piano albums for Sony BMG and Extreme Music, has composed string arrangements for three studio albums (Toyface, Three London Planes, Hannah Williams), worked as keyboardist and co-director on all four Ephemerals studio albums, and has worked alongside legendary producers such as Malcolm Catto (DJ Shadow, Mulatu Astatke) and Shawn Lee (Jeff Buckley, Amy Winehouse, Will Young)
"'James Graham is a terrific all-rounder - pianist, singer, composer, band-leader...Whether as a solo performer or as frontman of a group, he shows genuine confidence and poise and has a very warm stage presence. In short, he has not only admirable technical skill but also the ability to communicate with his audience."
Simon Warner, rock journalist [Guardian]