James has been making music for over 15 years starting. In 2006, Gypsies On The Autobahn formed with brother Daniel Smith (Daniel Luke) and lifelong friends Niall Mooney and Gary Quinn. Signing with Universal records, the group released two critically acclaimed records Born Brief (2016) and Suspended (2019).
The band grew together, making music in their garage at home, learning to write songs and hone in arrangements and work cooperatively. Touring with Irish acts such as Little Green Cars and Bleeding Heart pigeons, supporting acts like Bombay Bicycle Club, Coronas, Villagers and Darwin Deez, the band played in front of huge crowds and sold out many shows on home soil.
Having the chance to work with acclaimed Producers and Engineers Rob Kirwan (Hozier/U2), Ciaran Bradshaw (Muse/Arctic Monkeys) and grammy award winning engineer Ben Rawlins (Rhiannon Giddons), James watched and learned how to produce, record and work in highly esteemed recording studios. Quickly, he began making music with other artists, producing demos and songs with Gypsies on the Autobahn and branching out to make other styles of music with YURN.
YURN released over 15 tracks most notably a 5 track EP with renowned ambient artist Gareth Quinn Redmond and remixes for artists Sodablonde, Zaska and Nnic. YURN is move away from what James knows best, working with acoustic instruments, but it has brought new skills in Production and sound design which is translated most working with Pop and Neo Soul artists.
With the announcement of Gypsies on the Autobahn's break in 2020, James tirelessly continued to make acoustic driven music. In May 2021, he released his critically acclaimed debut ‘(…) And you choose not to laugh’ which saw the singer been named 'as one of the most fearlessly honest and authentic artists in the country.’ [HOTPRESS].
It was an adjustment, not having a band to call upon, but throughout the last few years James has worked with a wealth of talented Irish musicians. His solo venture has meant that he has had to call on musicians to translate his vision into reality. But this has only bolstered his skills in communicating ideas and executing them, whether it was writing brass and string scores or creating groove tracks for rhythm sections or simply getting into a room and facilitating a vibe.
J’s musical style evolved from his indie rock days adopting a more mellow, intimate and vulnerable approach with this art folk album. Boasting a large range from intimate songs sung live with just his guitar, to large ballads with string and brass quartets, '(...) And you chose not to laugh' highlights J's abilities as not only a songwriter but a producer too.
Since it's release he has put out two EPs Three Dots (2022) and Baby Farm (2023) and is currently recording his second album all the while working with a host of different Domestic and International acts.