Living in Hollywood, McGill Alumnus and entertainer Adam James, misses things about home and enjoys connecting with other Canadians. For James, those friends include other performers who have made their way down south and have created their own “home away from home”.
James grew up in Georgetown, Ont. then attended McGill University to obtain a degree in music. While there, he co-founded Panache, a musical group, in which he sang and played the drums. Panache’s performance success at local clubs and concerts paid for the group’s studies and the production of their first CD, ‘Take Us Home’.
The band produced three CD’s including its critically acclaimed second one, ‘It’s About Time’. James also performed in several solo performances before being asked to portray Frank Sinatra, by daughter Tina Sinatra, a year after his death. This was the first ever musical production about his life entitled ‘Sinatra: Remembered’. “Tina and I talked a lot about his legacy and she was very protective as you can imagine,” James states.
From there, James was lured to study with jazz singing legend Mark Murphy in New York, as part of a grant from Canada Council. “I arrived 10 days before 9/11”, James recalls. “I was sleeping when the tragedy happened. It was a day I’ll never forget.” While in New York, James also co-starred in one of the longest running off Broadway shows ‘Our Sinatra’.
The crooner has also performed internationally with symphonies and big bands including Orchestra London, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Pops and numerous Jazz ensembles.
“More recently at the 2010 Olympics, I wrote with David Pierce (who just won The Emmy for Musical Direction), Suzie McNeil and Dane Diviller for the Closing ceremonies title song ‘Let’s have a Party’, James mentions.” The Olympics was a once in a lifetime experience,” James shared. “From a production standpoint, it was like putting on the Superbowl every day for 2 weeks.” James also hosted the Olympic venue, the Bell Blue Ice Cube. “It was a great opportunity to meet folks like Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash and Olympians. During the closing, ceremonies I was fortunate to sit beside Rick Hansen.”
James has seen a lot along his musical journeys. “Recently, I’d say we’ve seen the American Dream eroding with respect to entertainment. In the past, training and working hard might lead to fame. Today, with reality shows, short cuts can be taken with minimum efforts required.”
When asked about how Canadians are perceived in the entertainment industry, James responds, “we’re respected and bring our own flavor to our craft.”
James is in the final stages of completing a solo recording with producer Dave Pierce. He looks forward to touring the U.S. and Canada soon.