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Mitch James 1,213

@MitchJamesMusic

About Mitch James

Mitch James is a New Zealand singer-songwriter who began his musical journey at 14 years old by teaching himself guitar. The Auckland native would spend his morning tea and lunch breaks at Saint Kentigern College using the school’s music room playing guitar, which he learned from YouTube videos. Music, through the guitar, was his place of refuge, with “every moment spent in the music centre, just playing guitar.”

Fast forward to age 17, Mitch left school and got a job cleaning cars, saving enough up for a one-way ticket to London, where he hoped to build an audience. Arriving in London with a £20 note, zero contacts and no experience performing live, he attended open mic nights, hoping to land a paying performance gig. However, the Ed Sheeran-esque blueprint Mitch was influenced by, of going to London and gigging every night to land a recording contract, didn’t get off to a good start.

I didn’t realise that the tube into London was more than £20 so I had to jump the barrier, got off at Hyde Park, jumped the barrier there, then the hostel I was staying at was £18 a night, so I went and got a bottle of water, slept, woke up and started busking the next day.

After the rude awakening experienced of his first day in London, Mitch took up busking as his everyday work, barely earning enough for dinner and a hostel bed. Many times he would ask at his gigs “has anyone got a couch for me to stay on.”

Eventually he landed a paying gig, but after only a few months, the venue shut down, and Mitch began busking around Europe, before ending his three year tenure in Europe and returning home.

Instead of returning to Auckland, Mitch moved down south to Dunedin, where he posted covers of songs on his YouTube channel. Fellow Kiwi artist MAALA recommended him to Sony, who later signed him. On December 2, 2016, his debut single “No Fixed Abode,” which is a reflection of his time in Europe, was released.

A week later, his second single “Move On” was released, which picked up nation-wide airplay in New Zealand. After both singles received millions of streams on Spotify, Mitch announced that he would release his debut EP in 2017.