THE BRIGHT lights of New York are beckoning for a Barford musican who has been snapped up by a top record label.
James Taylor-Watts was signed to Island Records earlier this year after music executives saw some of his recordings on YouTube. He joins the likes of Florence and the Machine and Jamie Cullum who are also signed to the label.
The 17-year-old – known as James TW to his fans – is set to travel to America in the next few weeks to write and record his first album.
And after the success of his EP ‘Just A Number’ – which shot straight to number six in the iTunes singer-songwriter chart last year – it looks set to be a hit.
The Warwick School student told the Observer: “Receiving interest from record labels is one of the biggest confidence boosters there is, but I am not nervous in the least about going to America. I am really exited to do what I love as a job.
“I’ve decided to take a gap year out from sixth form and pursue my dream. I am just going to see what happens next.
“I’m going between LA and New York to meet lots of songwriters, singers and musicians to help write my album. It’s all really exciting and I can’t wait.”
James’ budding music career is a dream come true for his parents, who love music so much they named him after their favourite blues musician James Taylor.
While he was growing up, James – who credits Ed Sheeran, Bill Withers and John Mayer as his biggest influences – taught himself how to play drums, guitar and piano and even performed in his dad’s band Sub Prime.
But he isn’t letting the prospect of fame go to his head. He plans to return home once he has finished recording the album later this year.
He said: “I have no plans to move to the USA. At the minute I am happy living at home with my parents, brother and sister. They are really supportive of me and very proud. They are all looking forward to coming to visit me while I’m in LA.”
To say goodbye and thank the school for their support, James performed a sell-out farewell show to his fellow students.
The £3,000 raised through tickets was donated to the Warwick School Hall Campaign to create a £1million state-of-the-art hall complete with studios and performance stages.
To commemorate the singer’s time at the school – which he has attended since he was seven – teachers plan to put his name on one of the paving stones around the new hall.
Visit www.jamestw.com for tour dates and more information.