In his final year of high school in Hamilton, Ontario, James Alphonse received a diagnosis for a serious chronic illness that he thought would end his ability to perform. After losing 40 pounds and having a temporary nasal feeding tube installed, he disengaged from a lot of the activities that gave him pleasure until the community from his university and music scene encouraged him to return. Their kindheartedness and efforts to help him return have inspired him to make and perform music to foster those same community values that brought him back to songwriting. For James, community is paramount, which is why he volunteers with programs such as the Rotary Club.
Since then, James Alphonse has worked with a variety of noteworthy mentors, in different musical groups, who have encouraged him to sharpen his abilities through rigorous training, such as songwriting with Canadian icon Duncan Coutts of Our Lady Peace. Mark Daum (creator of the piantar, score writer), Nick Blagona (Deep Purple, the Beegees, the Police, April Wine), Andre Kaden Black (Fefe Dobson, Francesco Yates) and Tal Vaisman (Kadeema, the Ascot Royals, TV songwriter) have all played a strong role in James Alphonse’s development as an artist. With his supportive community, James has managed to attain feats such as sharing the stage with the Trews, the Strumbellas and Teenage Head member Dave Rave. Moreover, in his past musical groups, he has won awards at the Nipissing, Wilfrid Laurier, Waterloo, and Western University Battle of the Bands, been nominated and won best group of the year at the Hamilton Music Awards and, most recently, placed in the finals in the international songwriting competition “Unsigned Only” for his first single release “I’ll Be Your Wall”.
James’ journey to find his sound was complicated by Hamilton’s gritty love of rock, grunge, indie and everything in between. He bonded with the community over this music but soon realized that he has always felt a calling to the pop/r&b scene. Departing from previous projects of rock, folk, and jazz, James immersed himself in sounds more reminiscent of Sam Smith, the Weeknd, James Bay and Shawn Mendes. Although he has walked away from other genres, traces of soul and rock music protrude the seams of his songs. After a 3-year writing hiatus, James Alphonse will release his new song “What Are We Doing Here”, which, through 80s video game synths, punchy chordal progressions and light catchy guitar riffs, exclaims the frustrations of a passive man strung along by the false promise of a relationship.
For Family channel fans, the name James Alphonse may sound familiar from his appearance in songs on “The Next Step”. On this channel, James has appeared on season finale “Hold On To Me”, “Even When We’re Gone” and, more recently, “Tell the Story”. Although this style of music does not reflect his own, he finds pleasure in recording for the show and sharing his experience in studio with young fans of the show.