After almost a decade with his enormous yet somehow tender, fragile voice fronting
Multi-million selling band Starsailor, James Walsh has emerged as a singer-songwriter in his own right, with the arrival of his debut solo album, TURNING POINT. The album is a collection of 11 incredible compositions, which showcase James’ maturity as an exceptional songwriter and unique vocalist.
He’s written songs with Eliza Doolittle, Melanie C, Suzanne Vega, amongst others, recorded Live At The Top Of The World EP with Norway’s
Tromsø Chamber Orchestra in the closest major settlement to the North Pole. He also collaborated songwriter/producer Sacha Skarbek (Adele), in the album ‘Lullaby’, which imagined a soundtrack based on a script by acclaimed author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club).
TURNING POINT was recorded last autumn at Genesis’ legendary Fisher Lane Studios and produced by Harry Rutherford. “Working on the solo album was a great experience,” says James. Adding, “It was great to work with different musicians from different musical backgrounds; there was that excitement of a new sound coming together. I had a clear idea of the sound I wanted to create but I think there was room for everyone to express themselves. You have to push each other more to try and create something new and develop the sound.”
At this point it’s worth considering the overnight success and instant stardom James experienced in Starsailor. One minute the band were unknown in Wigan, the next they were being hailed as “the new Coldplay” after only their second gig, and front covers of magazines like NME proclaimed propelled their debut album – featuring what would become James’s trademark lovelorn voice and epic songs – into the Top 10. They ended up selling over three million albums, and enjoying adventures like supporting U2 at the Stade de France, when 2004’s Four To The Floor was Number One in the country and seeing the stadium “go absolutely mad”, before watching U2 and ending up in Dublin, being offered advice by Bono. All of this began when James was only 21 years of age.
TURNING POINT has allowed James space to realise and create a work that he is immensely proud of. His exceptional voice has taken on an even stronger resonance with age and his songwriting is now a honed craft, with new added maturity as an artist as well as a husband and father, who splits his time between London and the small Irish town of of Ballymena. The songs are inspired by his love of music including, vocally, Van Morrison and Dion, and musically Bruce Springsteen, as well as such stories as that of eccentric explorer Richard Burton.
Describing the album, James says, “Turning Point is a soulful album. There are some harder moments like ‘If I Had The Words’, but in the main it’s an emotional record with a Sunday morning feel.”
TURNING POINT is very much a coming of age album, full of wonderful examples of James’s ability to weave inspiring melodies round simple chords, creating timeless and classic songs.