What’s Love Got to Do With It…. everything according to James Whitney, LOVE and MUSIC has been the two inspirational pillars of James’ life and passion. It is the way James communicates to the world. His inner musical journey is filled with the foundation of what really exists in his soul, the rapture and wonder of the ever present now of truth, peace, beauty and love.
“I found that quiet place inside me when I used to press my ear against the family’s radio, listening to the music with no distraction from the outside world…the Bass rumbling through my body…my soul…until one of my parents would pull me away…” Boy, you gonna go deaf if you don’t move back! But I knew better, I was learning from all those songs”.
At age 4, James was singing harmony to his Mother’s lead and she was amazed not only could he sing but had the “musical ears to “HEAR“ and effortlessly sing harmony to any song that she sang. When his mother was dangerously ill during childbirth, James at eight years old sat outside her bedroom window and heard the whisperings of God as music and sang prayers for her life. From that day forward music became his salvation, his anchor, his driving purpose.
His mother thankfully recovered and as he grew older, it became clear that James passion was to create music. First by singing and then by writing his own original materials.
By age 12 James joined his brother’s singing group, the Parakeets who sang at College dances, nightclubs and Concerts. James began working with his two sisters in the Whitney Family Musical Group performing at all the major clubs in LA and eventually signing with Capital records.
James’ early musical influences were; Bobby Blue Bland, Frankie Lymon, Little Willie John and a non-descript Sanctified Church that he would listen to on Sundays through the fence of one of his early homes.
At age 14, James formed the singing group “The Monorays”, who played the Club circuit in Portland and Seattle.
Then James helped to form the Harlequins with his sister Mary, Tony Lytle, Henry Moore and Bill Diz.
Dreaming of California, they headed to LA and eventually the name of the group was changed to The Seven Souls, where other prominent musicians like Bob Welch, (guitarist and song writer for Fleetwood Mac) and Bobby Hunt, (keyboard player Fleetwood Mac) joined the group. He became a friend and contemporary of Stevie Wonder, (whom he met through his sister, Mary Lee Whitney who was a member of the group Wonder Love and sang background on some of Stevie’s biggest hits,)
James fondly recalls singing together with Stevie while riding in Jame’s convertible. Another of James’s contemporaries was Marvin Gaye, James did some the vocals and worked with the musicians on sound track for the movie “Chrome and Hot Leather of which Marvin was one of the stars .
James also wrote several songs for some of the top names in the business: Michael Jackson and The Main Ingredient, featuring Cuba Gooding Sr.
In studios, James was routinely asked to arrange background vocals because of his quick ear on songs by: Quiet Riot and many others.
During his initiation to the LA music scene, James signed two record deals, one of which was with Capital Records with his sisters Mary and Louise. With delays due to family illness, he waited to complete an album and opened for Santana, Tower of Power, and Canned Heat to name a few.
After working the nightclub circuit in Los Angeles, and in 1989, after getting married to his writer wife, James found himself in London, England. Hitting the ground running, James played a lot of the pubs and bars in and around London then was asked to perform at Caesars as its host, the largest club in London, seating 3,000 people. There, the leading British and American Acts joined him.
On his return to the USA, James released his first album, “Let’s Fall In Love,” and has just finished his second album, “ The New Old School “ a collection of old school style tracks with contemporary bass and beats .
His new Album “THE NEW OLD SCHOOL” is a compilation of some of his work. A body of music from Rap and Love Songs to Message songs, to New School R&B, all filled with love and positive messages at a time where this world needs it most.