Born and raised in LA County County, James grew up in La Mirada. He started playing guitar at age 14, and was taught by several very talented friends and teachers. He started following Jesus Christ in 1977.
He graduated from BIOLA University with a degree in Psychology, and had a short stint playing in an Australian Christian rock band after graduating. His first experience playing in a worship band was in 1984 and has been playing and writing worship music almost uninterrupted since then. James graduated from USC School of Social Work in 1986 and has been licensed as a clinical social worker since 1990,
He has been primarily employed in the Behavioral Health field. He married his amazing wife, Karen, in 1993. His family moved to Santa Cruz County in 2000. They have three adult children: Jeremiah, Kristin and Aly.
James started a nonprofit called Crossover Sound Waves in 2006 that combines his passion for entrepreneurial social action, music and fitness into one organization.